What a great day this was. The sun was out and some splendid folk were gathered, many of whom have the misfortune to deal with me on a regular basis. Our host was very generous and the team at Midsummer House did us proud – Cambridge in the sun is beautiful.

We started on the balcony, suncream the order of the day, with Salon 1990. I think we had a few different bottles and there was a little variability. The wine is fully mature now. No need to panic but certainly worth drinking unless you like very mature Champagne. Yeasty and nutty but with a saline acid core balancing things.

Midsummer House

From here it was on to the white as the splendid food started to arrive. Meursault 1er Cr Charmes from Lafon to be specific. The nose had a lovely mineral focus and driven freshness, clearly classy young white Burgundy. The palate showed more of the village and vineyard character with a more generous and more opulent character. This was really lovely and proper too. An exciting wine. Decanting it was a good idea, lovely.

The Menu!

Now the reds and leading the way was a wine, and producer, I know well. It was Barolo Brunate-Le Coste 2004 from Guiseppe Rinaldi. There is a lovely texture this wine, it had been decanted 4 hours earlier. The red and back fruits wrestle with the saline and tannin in an intriguing way. A wine with a very fine future to it appreciable as it is now. The wine grew in the glass becoming a little more savoury and darker.

Now we were on to the first of two fascinating pairs. First up was Chambertin 1996 from Rousseau alongside La Tache 1996 from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. The Chambertin had a bright nose with that classical Rousseau tang to it, really elegant, succulent and enticing. The palate also had that freshness and was, it has to be said, a shade underweight, almost too elegant. A lovely bottle. When up against the La Tache is seemed more simple than it might otherwise have appeared. The La Tache had a deeper, multi-layered nose and then a profound texture. Moreish and fresh at the same time. There was a little more body and spice but all within a framework of classical Pinot Noir. A very great pair of wines. Neither seemed to be closed as many 1996s seem to be.

En Magnum

Then Bordeaux! A great pairing of 1982s from the neighbouring estates of Pichon-Lalande and Latour! The Lalande was from magnum and the Latour from bottle. The Lalande has always been a terrific wine, vibrant and vivacious, especially for a Pauillac, with overt fruit lift. One of our number suggested it was tiring in bottle format now but this was delicious from magnum. The Latour varied a little from bottle to bottle but the true ones were superb, serious and more iron like, a depth and savoury richness that made it archetypal Pauillac. A terrific duo with both having their fans. We’ll call it “honours even” but with a little more life ahead of the Latour.


There was “just” one more wine on the menu, we’ll get to that in a moment, but an interim cheese course saw one more added. It was Loibner Steinertal Wachau Gruner Veltliner Smaragd 2013 from FX Pichler.  The fruits here went brilliantly with the cheeses, there is a ripeness of yellow fruits and a waxiness but without being weighty. That’s a tricky act to pull off. I will try to find some – I really loved it.

The last wine referred to above was none other than Yquem 1988. Absolutely on the money for mature Yquem as far as I am concerned. I love the development but before you get to the, for me anyway, OTT development of real age (1975 being a notable exception). This was unctuous and sweet but with some secondary fruits still there, a little creme brûlée topping but still enough energy…delicious.

What a day it was, all the things wine should be about…thank you!

The obligatory “layout” pic…