Well, as we all know this year has been a bit different to say the least – I’ve been meaning to get blogging but frankly working from home I’ve not fancied sitting down and writing at the same desk. But fortunately that is changing and this annual event needs, deserves actually it demands a report!

MEDLAR was again our venue and thank you to them for embracing a slightly fiddly format at a time when restaurants have rather a, lot to worry about – chapeau! Many thanks to our very own “Papa Smurf” (it’s the beard Mike, and someone asked for nicknames!) for doing his always impressive job of getting it organised and producing a menu that makes it much more than a “normal” bring a bottle dinner. We were two tables of four within good earshot (not always a good thing). We were two light in attendance with the “Caveman” and “Senior” both not managing to make it with good reason – our very best to both.

The previous renditions of this dinner can be found here: 1996 1997 1998 & 1999

We started with the only wine not from 2000 – Henriot Brut NV = we all commented on how good it was, felt a bit more like a Blanc de Blancs to me which is a good sign I think – two bottles disappeared rather quickly. I can’t promise to remember exactly who brought what but it was may be a relief to see that nobody had fallen for a “Millenium Champagne”.

As we sat down the “Prisoner” got straight into his cell and “Henry (VIII)” started to berate him for his deafness. Everyone else prepared themselves for spotting “Josh Vinolents” Roc de Cambes 2000 – it must be here somewhere!

First up a pair of whites – colour encouraging, noses good, plates tight if anything – relief was collectively sighed. Pouilly-Fuisse “Les Haut de Vignes” 2000, Domaine Guffens-Heynen was a gem brought by our very own “Eddy Merckx” – such a deliciously enjoyable wine, a little coffee bean and Lanolin with lots of freshness too. Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru “Les Caillerets” 2000 from Domaine Ramonet was the partner in crime, supplied by “Junior” and a serious one it was too, oyster shell and menthol two of the notes I had but the balance was excellent. That was it for whites, they were never going to play a big part in the 200 vintage, next year may be different.

From white Burgundy we went to a corked bottle of Nuits-Saint-Geroges 1er Cru “Clos des Forets st George“ 2000 from Domaine de L’Arlot – what a shame – you could get a sense of the wine beyond the cork and it was promising. From that frustration we moved to Bordeaux and the opposite emotion – pleasure. Pichon Lalande 2000 and Pichon Baron 2000 was the first pair and with everyone having sent their bottles direct without consultation it was a very happy bit of accidental co-ordination. Both were delicious, balanced, elegant but with backbone and certainly not suffering from being too overly savoury or serious (which can be a fear). We decided to vote on which people would have if we were only allowed one and I think it was 5-3 to Baron (I was a Lalande vote) – either way both were very very smart wines.

The reputaion of Bordeaux 2000 only got better with Leoville Barton 2000 and Chateau Margaux 2000 – following on, the former being really quite lush with succulent fruit weight, the latter was all class, a little more red fruit but good substance and exactly the sort of seamlessness you want at this level.

We now moved to what I think is best called “Rhone & Associates” Magill Estate Shiraz 2000 from Penfolds and Chateau Musar 2000, Gaston Hochar being the first pair – density in the former was as expected but not without grace and certainly “rather” better than the Killibinbin of last year! The Musar was a bit of a surprise as it was not volatile nor too leathery, pleasantly calming.

The same could not be said of the next wine – “young Will’s” Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2000 from Domaine de la Vieille Julien was more monstrous than calming!! A rich, full, alcoholic style that saw this score points rather than deliver pleasure. Domaine de Trevallon 2000 was a whole different package, moreish and complex, mid weight. One of the many estates I have always meant to know better!

The final wine was Taylors 2000 served with the last pair having been double decanted earlier in the day. It was impressive and bold but in honesty it seems to have hardly “budged” since it was born. I love Port but it is almost like they are making wines that are too good and too impenetrable. If you have Taylors 2000 be pleased but be (very) patient. With that we had to go – 10pm curfew chasing us out the door.

Thanks again to everyone for their bottles and so their time and here’s to the 2001 rendition! Stay well all!


Food – well my choices – it all looked and tasted delicious.

Crab Raviolo with Samphire, brown shrimps, fondue of leeks and bisque sauce

Taleggio Aranicini with confit quail legs, autumn truffle, sauteed king oyster mushroom and cauliflower

Rump of Belted Galloway with café de Paris snails, stuffed portobello, shallot puree and bearnaise


Pudding – I passed but it was Tarte Tatin or Crème Brulee