What was going to be a post purely about opening a very big bottle and how to serve it was made significantly more poignant by the fact that, so very sadly, the man – Andrea Franchetti – who made the wine and encapsulated everything that it was about has died in the time between then and now.

Andrea was a true one-off. A man I had the pleasure of meeting, travelling and interacting with several times over many years. Unique and a total maverick (both overused words) he was a force of natural but often almost silent at the same time – utterly unperturbed by what others thought – I was (and am) envious of that. You get a sense of the man from this Jancis Robinson – Farewell Andrew Franchetti – 1949-2021.

The world needs more Andreas not less. He will be sorely missed…

And so to the evening in question – Long time Franchetti fan – DM – hosted a charity night to raise money for a local church out in Oxfordshire. He had many a decanter at the ready – we would need them all. This Melchior of Cupole 2005 was 24 bottles in one. I loved the fact that he had an imperial as back up just in case!

First things first – the cork – it came out like a dream as the picture would suggest. There is always a certain amount of pressure (of expectation) on such a closure.

The Pouring – this we did by pouring slowly and somewhat nervously. A troop of decanters being offered up. We did roughly half the bottle in one session, coming back later for more. Fortunately, as shown below, the neck could be gripped but also there was a decent punt on/in the bottles base. Fatigue did set in towards the end…the next day the right bicep and the middle fingers on the right hand were a little sensitive! (The ultimate wine merchant injury!)

The taste – so the wine, it was in great condition, vibrant and juicy with a lovely opulent sweetness, very Franchetti. There was a little leather creeping in but only after almost primary fruit, this was exactly how it should be. The single bottle comparator was a little weary if still drinking.

What fun – I am always available for Melchior openings…thank you DM and thank you Andrea…