Now very few, if any, people appear on this blog more than Halifax (aka Nobster / Nobby) – many of the various occasions can be found HERE. This particular lunch was organised by his goodself in York at Arras Restaurant. The team – Halifax, Ronaldinho, Irish, Sidewinder & I – assembled via different transport routes.
We got off to quite the start with Salon 1996 – drinking very nicely, still youth full, lemon toast and a little brine, opened up nicely in glass, the fruit is maturing but the acidity is still high and works to focus things well. Nicely done.
Food then started! A great menu put together by Chef/Patron Adam Humphrey (pics at the bottom).
Canapes – Rigatoni al Forno – Camembert & Cranberry – Marinated and grilled Mackerel, Potato Bechamel
Crab Bread & Butter Pudding – Tomato and Chilli Relish
Roast Halibut – Shellfish Ragout, Pickled Sea Vegetables, Nori Butter Sauce
Roast Quail – Mushron Barley and Candied Garlic
Lamb Rump – Pot Roast celeriac, Hispi Cabbage, Grilled Tongue & Hazelnut
“The Gourds” Candied Pumpkin cake, Carrot Mousse, Caramelised Puree, Mandarin Sorbet
Now to the first white, via Ronaldinho, Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 1992, En Magnum by Etienne Sauzet – bright yellow gold with a delicious opulence. There is an apricot fruit coming out. Fully mature but in no way tired. There are a few spicy elements too, pleasing to have a magnum as it was both intriguing and moreish.
We then had a pair of Pinots, both served blind. I had taken the first one which was Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Duvault Blochet 2009 by Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. It is primary as you would expect the fruit is red over black and the structure is nicely “in” the wine. Layers to come for sure. The pair was completed with a bottle from Sidewinder – Swan Terrace Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains 2009 by Rhys, this is not a wine I know well. It showed exceptionally well; herbal, spiced but mellow at the same time. A future ahead of it too. To a man we assumed/thought it was Morey-Saint-Denis. Impressed.
Ronaldinho then served a bottle of Corton-Bressandes Grand Cru 1976 from Tollot-Beaut – had it not been served my this man (he doesn’t “do” Italy) I could have thought this was an older Nebbiolo. There were oxidized elements but the wine was still together, plush even. A good showing from a hot and dry vintage.
A brace of Latours now followed. The main event so to speak, even amongst this great array. Latour 1964 was supple, an iron character worked well without over shadowing. Vibrant, deep colour, very complete and with a lovely texture. Resolved. Loved this.
Latour 1955 – iron like, with a dried blood element, at the same time managing to be fresh (the 1955s are startlingly consistent in this). There is a robustness here as well, a mighty wine. Both Latours did what they should do.
Irish then produced a pair, the first of these, Haut Brion 1989, obviously continued the Bordeaux theme. It is one of those wines that never disappoints and seems to be destined to be youthful almost forever. It has a trademark nose and combines weight of fruit with a refusal to be heavy, a deft wine of balance.
As cheese appeared I managed to nearly “nail” the next wine – Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru 1999, Domaine Leflaive – I said it was the Batard 1999. The 1999s at Leflaive are a gem. This had weight of ripe fruit as well as that edge of reduction that is the trademark of these wines. The slight salty element working very well with the cheese. Such a beautifully adaptable wine.
Now there was never going to be an omission of Germans here and these two were both fascinating. The vivaciousness of the Saarburger Rausch Riesling Beerenauslese 2005 in half by, Zilliken was electrically zesty and delicious. The Ockfener Bockftein Beerenauslese 1959 had a drier resolve as you’d expect, good though. A menthol lift was welcome. 60 years old and going strong! On which topic I am already looking forward to the 60th rendition of this gathering!
Great effort Nobster!!