I am keen to write more and use this as a way of documenting some exciting, important and/or memorable meals. This will require a bit more discipline but I’m game. This post is looking back a few months to two very exciting meals from January this year. As it happened they were on consecutive days – quite something.
The venue for the first, a lunch for three, was my favourite – Noize – A brilliant restaurant in which to serve and enjoy wine alongside superb food.
As you can see above there were “just” three wines…
Salon 1997 (disgorged in 2017) – this was superb – I have always loved the 1997 – it is very much a Chardonnay year (as the 2007 is – only mentioned as the theme was “7”) it is open and has never really tightened up too much or gone to sleep. This later disgorgement has added a little of that mocha and cocoa weight but the purity of the Chardonnay remains. Delicious.
We were then on to the focus of the meal – a Magnum of Petrus 1967 – this magnum had just been authenticated. So, our very kind host thought well “now lets drink it!” a sentiment I can only endorse and admire. From opening, with an immediate decant, the wine sang loudly. A simply brilliant and beautiful wine with a balance of sweetness, soft tannin and savouriness that you so rarely find. So often older wines are to be admired for “still being in one piece” well this is far more than that. I would say it is at its absolute peak. Breathtakingly moreish – staggering. A magnum between three was perfect – a bottle would have almost been cruel, it was that good.
Without undue haste – as it is tricky to go back to red after sweet – we moved to our final “7” and Yquem 1967 – this was also bang on form – intense and at that changing point from sweet-sweet to tangy-sweet. Much as I increasingly favour younger Sauternes this was superb.
And one of the best things? We covered some much more conversational ground than just the wines – there was due deference of course but also a delight at just drinking these gems! What a meal – thank you!
With that delicious lunch over the following evening I had been invited to another great meal, this time at Saint Jacques Restaurant in St.James.
Everyone contributing a bottle (or magnum) at the top level of the Burgundy tree with some Champagne to start:
Gosset Celebris Extra Brut Millesime 2002 (En Magnum) – Gosset’s top wine cuvee (always aged 10 years before release) from a lauded vintage. Good depth of colour, light gold with a fine bead. Some tropical fruits on the nose and that wonderful, aged “toasty” note appearing. Terrific start.
Dom Perignon 2012 – Added last minute. How this wine is consistently of the quality it is given the (undisclosed volume produced) is staggering but long may it continue. Lots more to come too. Brioche and savoury honey in the picture. Try now if you have it but sit tight on most bottles and certainly magnums.
Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2014, Domaine Leflaive – this was my contribution. The last vintage Anne-Claude made and in many ways here favourite site. Double decanted two hours prior to dinner. A lovely soft yellow gold colour. A little, retiring reduction and much old vine intensity to the nose. A lovely wine of stealth and confidence that just kept improving and developing.
Richebourg Grand Cru 1993, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – Cork was difficult to get out and a little over-moist. A rather adolescent performance here and not a true showing. Mute on the nose to start with, did develop but didn’t freshen. Not much by way of black fruit, more figgy, similarly on the palate. Puzzling.
Echezeaux Grand Cru 2000, Henri Jayer – Recently acquired from the cellars at Kings College, Cambridge where it had sat since purchase on release. This was an utter joy. The cork came out easily and was fresh and clean. A lovely dark colour as it was poured into the glass – an amazing nose, intense dark fruits that continued in the glass for over an hour. Degraded sweetness – one tried to sip but it was so inviting – “The stuff of legends” as our host-in-chief remarked.
Richebourg Grand Cru 1989, Domaine Leroy – A good firm colour and amazing texture but alas, cork taint that you couldn’t ignore. One of those incredibly frustrating scenarios when you could tell that in every other way the wine was stunning.
La Tache 1990 Grand Cru, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – How does one recover from a corked Leroy well here’s a good answer! The cork was perfect. Ripe fruits with that tell-tale (tell-tale when you know what it is!) Asian spice of great intensity. Complex, ripe and succulent on the palate with layer upon layer rolling over the tongue. Special.
Richebourg 1999 Grand Cru, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – One of the most lauded of The Domaine’s vintages and that’s saying something. A clean, fresh cork and a deep dark colour when poured. A wonderful nose of black cherries, grey/black spice, violets and warm earth. I always think Richebourg has more that a nod to the Northern Rhone about it and so it did here, robust and powerful yet silken with masculine finesse and epic length. A special bottle that will out-live those at the dinner.
La Romanee Grand Cru 2016, Comte Liger-Belair– A monopole of the Liger Belair family and only in the early 2000’s taken back in hand by the family Louis Michel. Situated just above Romanée Conti and at the side of La Grande Rue. The cork was perfect and the colour a deep, dark purple. Very expressive yet compressed on the nose, raspberry with hints of violets. Red and black fruit on the palate with great balance. An infant in this company but one of great promise.
La Grande Rue Grand Cru 2007, Domaine Lamarche – Only given grand cru status in 1992, a monopole of the Lamarche family, next to La Tache and Romanée Conti. Not in the same class as the La Tache 1990 but that is hardly fair on vintage alone. Softer fruits on the nose, a good aroma with elegance and an easy balance. Good texture and expressive.
Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru 2014, Albert Bichot Domaine du Clos Frantin – Dark, dense almost arterial colour, a youthful wine. Good dark fruits and some smokiness, almost brooding. Needs much more time to develop, but has balance.
Cigars were taken!
A return to vinous reality hit rather hard the following day! Thanks to both restaurants, hosts and generous bottle providers!