As has become a rather wonderful tradition the C&B team were very kindly invited for dinner in St.Emilion by Mr Magnum and Ian, during the tastings of Bordeaux 2018. The wine “Shelfie” one gets to experience here is always a joy. So with a few other lucky guests we convened on the Sunday evening and got cracking.


Jacques Selosse Millesime was the starting point. Interestingly one of the corks was so hard to get out that I had to go outside for fear of doing myself or someone else an injury. All three bottles drank well. A tang of the oxidative orange-peel note and a rich yeasty character. A food and wine lovers Champagne rather than a sip all day long scenario.

As we sat down to feast on a brilliant starter of Foie Gras and toast we were poured two whites – everything is always served “briefly blind” – these were two of the great dry Rieslings of Germany (this years WINE TRIP is to Germany). They were:

Hermannshohle Riesling GG 2011 from Donnhoff En magnum and then Kirchenstuck Riesling GG 2011 from Dr Burklin-Wolf. I have to say I loved both. The Donnhoff was slightly more in my comfort zone and appealed the most initially but on balance they both have brilliance about them, a moreishness too! Perfect with the food.

Just brilliant…

Then on to the reds where Magnum always steps up the difficulty, if not necessarily the trickery – it’s a fair but fun fight. The pair here were a joy in so far as both performed well, different people preferred each and they both developed in glass well. Arguably the vintage had a bigger “stamp” than the variety or “bank” here.

Pichon-Lalande 1990 – Extrovert and very lifted, an open and relaxed classic.

Latour a Pomerol 1990 – It may be my bias but this just edged it for me, having a dash more focus but choosing is pointless when you have such great quality!

I would say both wines are in their prime and probably have been for 5-8years. How and when you choose to drink them from here is totally personal, I’d tuck a couple of bottles away to see what they are like at 35years of age but otherwise just enjoy, as was the case here, with good food and company!

Bordeaux remained half a theme in the next pair. I had, whilst helping pour, glanced the rather unique foil of a Sassicaia bottle so had to declare myself “out” for blind tasting purposes.

Sassicaia 2003 – Just cracking now. Bold, yes and savoury but with ripeness to stop it becoming bell-pepper which “Sass” sometimes can have. A wine with broad shoulders, “jacket and no tie” may be the way to describe it. Great.

Mouton 2003 – So to continue the clothing analogy…this is wearing a suit and scarf but again no tie. A relaxed First growth. It’s a wine that doesn’t hint at extremes. It has a nice Pauillac feel, deep fruit and a latent power too. I like it a great deal and whilst it is still in possibly third gear it is a treat even now. There wasn’t a clear winner with this pairing, not that there needed to be, more just an appreciation of two terrific estates strutting their stuff!

With a thirsty crowd a magnum was grabbed from the cellar and given a quick decant. It was Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Clos des Corvees 2002 from Prieure-Roch, En Magnum. It showed that delicious whole-bunch character that you often get from “THE” Domaine. It opened out more and more and was a lovely counterbalance to what had gone before. Wine exactly as intended.

In this sort of company the name of the sweet wine producer was not going to be a tricky one. The vintage was the question. The wine was Yquem 1986. A gorgeous stage of maturity to me, depth and richness but not the heavy rancio character that comes through eventually. A great choice as the (superbly wine friendly) cheese course turned to exquisite pudding.

From here it was seriously refined Grappa (from a 3 litre bottle) with a Cigar. A hedonistic feast was then over – the early call the following morning for a 9am tasting (an hour away) in town was not necessarily what the doctor ordered but then sympathy…

Magnum, Ian – you did it again – thank you!!