So this was a very exciting evening. Just three of us, hosted at C&B with the wines provided by a very generous customer/friend as a way of introducing these great wines to another friend. A lovely menu, as below, was prepared by Clive Greenhalgh.

Roast John Dory, Clams and Bayonne Ham

Confit of Rabbit, Latkes, Tarragon Veloute

Morel Vol au Vent

We started with Delamotte Blanc de Blancs 2014 which I have had a few times of late as it was not released long ago. It has a certain easiness to it that is a little unusual for vintage Delamotte but saying that all the other elements of Delamotte’s DNA is there to see in spades. Refined, white fruits, floral but in a reserved way, lovely. (If you own the 2008 it is delicious now!)

One of the great things about this evening was the one thing you some times don’t have with great wines – TIME. All four wines to follow – two whites and two reds – were treated in the same way, opened, checked and poured early (before we sat down). In this way we could follow them over the whole meal (with top ups). The menu, not that I ever get too fiddly over wine and food matching, was designed to be white and red wine friendly the whole way though. The wines were all served in the Conterno Sensory glass. Anyway enough detail. The wines:

Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 1998, Domaine Leflaive (checked and re-conditioned with Diam) – this, as with the Chevalier below is a bottle from the labour-intensive and painstaking program the estate have done with their library stocks. The wine on first nose was open and broad, revealing those Batard “shoulders” there was a nice tang of acidity too. As we followed it through the evening it was one of those whites that almost wants to be a red wine. A beautifully moreish texture – complex, fully mature and unctuous. A wine to wallow in.

Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru 1998, Domaine Leflaive (checked and re-conditioned with Diam) – a wonderful contrast here. Super refined, a tiny bit of that reduced “gunpowder” nose. This just got better and better with air, always retaining its focus and drive. At the same time it was generous with its fruit. It really shouldn’t be a competition but I think it is fair to say the Chevalier was a notch up on the Batard. So very classy, everything you could want in white Burgundy. Amazingly resilient to time in glass and to warming up, just superb.

Echezeaux Grand Cru 1999, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Richly fruited with a little blackberry fruit to go with the red. This is still a youthful wine, may be in second gear. The texture is superb, the tannins so focused and “in” the wine. with air it grew in structure. Never heavy but with signs that in time this will be hedonistic. You get an amazing sense of this wine rather than it being overly open.

Echezeaux Grand Cru 1996, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti I have not had many of the Domaine’s wines from 1996 and across Burgundy it was a tricky vintage in many ways. The big question tending to be whether the wines with keep their fruit once the structure and acidity subsides a little. Very different from the 1999 as expected. Spice, herbs and spice again with a focused darker fruit. Some saline and incredibly moreish. Lighter than the 1999 in texture. Herbs and a sort of taut decadence on display. I couldn’t stop smelling it and tasting it. I also couldn’t really compare it to anything. Fascinating and gorgeous at the same time. A real treat and I have to say even at this level it exceeded my expectations.

By any standards this was a rare treat – all wines were Grand Cru (including the Delamotte!) – and all in lovely condition. A very generous line up that we could discuss over and over…until next time.