I have a fair few blogs to post. I hope to get many done in the coming days, it’s Easter and it wet and horrible outside. I’ve decided to do this first for an entirely practical reason. This is that it is the only post for which I have no notes! So here we go.
Last Friday I made a first visit to Brunswick House with “Mr H” (not me), “Ditch”, “Pete the Vine” and “Joe the swim”. We were also joined for a large chunk of the evening by Onwer/Chef Jackson Boxer. The food (couple of pics at the bottom) was delicious, all about the ingredients and well executed – unfussy, high quality. This evening though was about the wines. All served blind (briefly) so we could have a stab at them.
The interesting part of this is always whether you “play the man” or “play the wine” and there were a few good examples of each here.
Dom Perignon 2004 was our launch point. As the picture suggests this was a bottle that has seen an ice bucket before but not been opened. In delicious form. Pete did a good job of saying “Delamotte or DP” which is both playing the man and the wine as it was one of the bottles Ditch and I had taken. I can see where the thought of Blanc de Blancs (Delamotte vintage) comes from, there is focus here. I really like the balance and think it’ll age well, and gracefully, over the next two decades…a good start.
As food started to arrive we had a decanted bottle of Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 2003 from Prum to follow the DP. I drink a lot of Prum and know this particular wine very well indeed having shared most of the rest of the case! The guesses were good, nailing Mosel pretty quickly but I think the combination of ripeness level and vintage is a bit of a “chicken n egg” scenario as one has a real affect on the other. Joe’s stab at a 10-12 year old Spatlese made perfect sense. The wine is not sweet per se but is ripe, quite rounded and to me has a definite edge of fresh mint. Arguably one of the most flexible of all wines – perfect alone, with spicy food, white meats, cheese and at a range of temperatures too.
Pete’s Bourgueil Vieilles Vignes 1996 from Domaine de la Chevalerie was a cracking bottle of properly mature, but not tired, Cabernet Franc, alive and fruited but with cool stones and a good dollop of drying blood. I really liked it and must try to drink more of these wines as well as tucking a few bottles away. There is a sort of humble brilliance about the wine, I can’t remember where we were with our guesses – close(ish) but no cigar I imagine…
Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos de Vorvees Pagets 2012 from Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux was the next up as we moved from the many starters to the main courses. This is a producer I have just started working with (usual bias warning) and there is a post to come on the 2016s. This divided the crowd between being Burgundy (rich/warmer vintage) or Oregon. I can see both arguments and the reveal went down well. It is still primary and has a classy feel, none of the rusticity you can get from N-S-G. A good bottle.
Cornas 2003 from Thierry Allemand (Sans Soufre) was a very generous pour from the Duracell powered Jackson. On the initial nose I was in a cloud of saline inspired Barolo guessing, then with air I thought of southern Italy and finally saw some sense when Ditch wisely suggested it was of course Northern Rhone. It is a brilliant wine, decadent and savoury in equal measure refined but earthy and wild. Very good and very generous. It’ll age forever but to my taste I think it is spot on now.
Montebello 1997 from Ridge was Mr H’s selection and I hate the fact that I can’t remember what I guessed but I do remember thinking that Joe’s shout of top Aussie Cab was a good call, wrong, but good. I love the Montebello style and of course once one knows what it is then the logic all slides into place – the full fruit but lack of overt alcohol. A very classy wine. Like the Cornas it will age but why would you?
Duhart-Milon 1988 was the biggest curve ball of the evening. Joe not being known for his love of conventional choices. He landed the double bluff very well. This is a wine that probably cost £10 to whoever bought it back in 1990. More than a bit has changed in Bordeaux in the interim. The wine was good, mature, savoury with good gentle structure and degraded fruit, some cedar and nice length.
Jackson then delved into his stash again for a bottle of Bourgogne Aligote 2013 from Domaine Roulot, now if there is one grape that could taste a little astringent at this stage of proceedings then Aligote is it. But this was a good palate cleanser and a nicely lifted wine with good white fruits and a mellow feel.
A good Negroni rounded off a splendid evening of wine and food – the company was excellent as ever and I will be going back for sure.