After a few false starts (entirely my fault) I had finally been able to get to one of the “Baz and Chas” lunches at Cassons a few Fridays back. Chas is a good friend and well Baz is a legend. I was delighted to join (a few minutes late) a great gang of fellow winetraders and relax into a decadent but very real feast of terrific wines and food. This was the first time I’d managed to get down to the “Fourwalls” part of Sussex for some time, previous trips to see Baz (and of course Dot) and Chas included this trip to Goodwood.
The food was terrific and worked perfectly with the wines:
Rack of Lamb
Seared Foie Gras
Godminster Cheddar & two hoots Barkham Blue
So, on to the wines!
Krug 2003 kicked us off, a serious Champagne, rich, slightly savoury but stopping short of being too weighty it has a freshness that belies the heat of that vintage. As much a wine as a Champagne and delicious for it. I am not really patient enough for decanting Champagne but if I was this would be a candidate.
We were then on to a trio of Meursaults from 2008. I’ll pin my colours to the mast here and state that I struggle with a lot of 2008 white Burgs. They often seem to have a searing acidity on the one hand but a mature tired fruit (like dried out honey) on the other. These were good but had elements of this.
Meursault 1er Cru Charmes 2008 from Darviot-Perrin was first up, it had an almost Chablis-esque drive and focus. The fruit was good, could have been a shade riper, by which I mean sweeter. Not quiet the richness you associate with Meursault but in good balance.
Meursault 1er Cru Charmes 2008 from Moret-Nomine, this was the pick of the flight for me. A more generous ripeness here, an easier wine to enjoy, the drive is less forceful and the opulence is more reminiscent of the 2009 fruit than 2008. Nice wine from a producer I don’t know.
Meursault Villages 2008 from Coche-Dury it is always a joy to have wines from this great producer. I made a comment, on Instagram I think, that is was may be a shade underwhelming on this showing and a member of the press wondered if I had the same bottling as him, he’d had it the night before and loved it. Either way a good bottle but more 2008-ish that Coche-ish to my mind. It is, one shouldn’t forget, a village wine amongst two top 1er Cru examples.
I am being far more analytical than I planned!
Next up was a duo of Ausones (keep an eye out for a post coming soon on a LOT of Ausone!).
Ausone 1976 – This had a slightly musty nose to start with and there was a slight question as to weather it was corked. The musty character did not get worse and I enjoyed drinking to the bottom of the glass. There was fruit there. Mushrooms too, medium weight and quite delicate. I imagine it was picked quite early in that it was another (like 2003) heatwave vintage.
Ausone 2000 – There is no obvious oakiness to this which is great, it is, however, a big textured and saturated wine that you can just get a hint of the character of. The fruit is dark but in no way black. It did not alter much in glass. I would say wait 5-8 years in bottle and longer in magnum. Quite a treat and I hope I get to try it again further down the road.
As the Foie gras rolled into sight it was time for a pair of Grand Cru red Burgs that I am lucky enough to know quite well.
Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2003 is a wine has real depth, but there is an airyness at the same time. Iodine, tar and a savoury approach make you think that on the nose the wine could be Northern Rhone from a cooler vintage, iron and blood as well a slate. The palate then confirms you are actually in Burgundy. It has a long and textured palate with good finesse after the richness. It is quite a wine.
Echezeaux Grand Cru 2003 from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti is a wine that belies the vintage. It sometimes takes as long as 15 years for this to happen but the great terroirs almost always win through. This has a nice grip on the end but is a more feminine rendition that the Clos de Tart, a little spice but a core of far redder fruit. They were a great pair.
Really settling into our stride we then had a cracking pudding that worked wonderfully with my favourite mature vintage of Yquem, and also my birth year, Yquem 1975. I love the 1975 because it has real zesty freshness but this acidity is “in” the wine not outside it. It tastes appropriately mature for the wine, not too young but not creme brulee-ish.
Then the vinous guessing game began. A bottle of unlabelled Port was served and we all had a guess. It was quite light with a little hint of white pepper behind the red candied fruits. I actually can’t remember what I guessed but I wasn’t correct. It turned out to be Croft 1950! A good bit of fun and a nice drop.
It was a wonderful afternoon of good food, great wine and a lot of laughs all performed in the traditional format…Just what it should be about…Baz and Chas – thank you!!