Slight apology to start – I’ve not mastered (or anywhere near it) the photo layout on the latest upgrade of wordpress so the order of pics etc is probably all a bit random but I am sure you can work it out.

This is the latest – seventh – in an annual “Twenty Years On” Series… which is very much the brain child of our organiser-in-chief Mr Laing and so it was again this year. With great help and brilliant service from the team at Medlar with particular mention to Melania Battiston.

Little were we to know that there was also a very sad side to this dinner as the following morning we learnt of the death of Simon Staples. A man I had met but, regrettably, did not know well. The opposite was the case for many of those around this table who had worked alongside him in various roles. He was a real legend of the trade, a great friend and mentor to many many people in the trade and beyond. He will be sorely missed.

May be the wine gods realised the above but all the wines and the food on this evening really shone. Down the different renditions of this dinner it has always been hard to predict what people will bring as the dinner is done blind. This was probably one of the most balanced dinners we have done. Certainly more so than some of the dinners with a more universally good vintage attached. 2002 is a mixed bag reputationally. Wet and disappointing in the Rhone and Piedmont and arguably a little dull in Bordeaux.

Anyway, on with the wines:

Pol Roger 2002, En Magnum – fresh and juicy, refined and drinking very well to my mind. I really enjoyed this.

Vilmart & Co Grand Cellier D’Or 2002 – a house I have really a rather pathetic experience of. Technically a 1er Cru not that this means anything these days with the innovation going on in Champagne but it was probably a bit of a statement back then. I found this richer and more serious than the Pol but possibly this is bottle vs magnum.

Meursault 1er Cru Charmes 2002, Domaine de Comtes Lafon what a joy, as all three of the white Burgs were. In a vote we had this probably came out top but that was all rather pointless as they were all gems. This Lafon was all you want from mature Meursault – as much about texture as taste.

Pouilly-Fuisse Clos des Petit-Croux 2002, Domaine Guffens-Heynen – my only notes here, which I don’t entirely understand say “savage – ripe ripe”. I just remember loving it.

Macon-Pierreclos “Tri de Chavigne” 2002, Domaine Guffens-Heynen – There was a sweeter feel here, another gorgeous wine, extrovert and yet not OTT in any way. Both these DG-H’s really show a master at work.

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Saint Georges 2002, Thibault Liger-Belair – we were always likely to have a couple of red Burgs as well. This has a really good; stalky, a crunch to it, a full fruitedness as well. Still very much going strong.

Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras 2002, En Magnum, Ghislaine Barthod – This was a reassuringly proper red Burg, spice and good fruit, nice structure, that magnum fullness. Great label too – gold trim for magnums. Very enjoyable.

Dominus 2002 – good grip here, nicely structured feel, a slight chocolate suaveness to the finish. A balanced and refined wine with good ripeness that stops just short of extrovert.

Palmer 2002, En Magnum – This was a real star for me. Like a cravat and smoking jacket in wine form, confident, suave and polished in a positive sense. Enormously enjoyable and moreish. (great that it was a magnum!)

Pontet Canet 2002 – This was fascinating, I was in the new world (good quality) with a little coconut, mint and some eucalyptus as well as good amount of serious, quite dark, fruit. I am not quite sure what the future will look like for this as it seems not to have developed that much. Good wine and impressive for 2002 Bordeaux.

Monfortino 2002, Giacomo Conterno – Bias here as this was my bottle. A real oddity in Piedmont for 2002 as many top wines weren’t released or bottled as such. Francia (the vineyard Monfortino comes from) is at the very south east corner of Barolo and is also steep so may be that helped. The wine was exactly as I had hoped. Resolved and complete with good length and a proper but not overbearing structure. Long too.

Dom Perignon 2002 – Back to champagne and good old DP. I have often said I prefer the original bottles of the top releases over the later disgorged versions and may be DP is the definition of that for me. This is in a lovely place.

Schloßböckelheim Felsenberg Riesling Spatlese 2002, Donnhoff – I was so pleased there was a couple of Rieslings and from two producers I so admire and enjoy. The Donnhoff is, as you expect from the pradikat level, a little less opulent but the balance was superb and especially great with cheese.

Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 2002, JJ Prum – 20 year old Prum is a thing of decadence and this, from their greatest site was a joy, lanolin, mint and almost exotic fruit.

And with that we were done. A splendid and important evening amongst the best of people – looking forward to the “2003 edition” already…