Last night’s general drinking with the rugby

A couple of friends came around last night to drink some wine and watch the rugby. I was really amazed we managed to over-come the evil French. Not that it was a terribly convincing performance…

2003 by Bollinger

A very ripe, fruity nose with plenty of density and Bollinger cold cocoa. The nose does smell really rather ripe and more than a little heroic. The palate had great depth of flavour, weight, plenty of fruit and real style. This was a big, corpulent Champagne, but not lacking class. It was suggested this would be a good Champagne to have with food.

Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg “Cuvee St. Catherine” 2004, Domaine Weinbach

A lovely, charming nose of ripe citrus fruit, baked apples, minerality and, let us be honest, quite high alcohol levels. Even though it was reasonably boozy it seemed quite complex and stylish. The palate had good fruit, reasonable acid, plenty of minerality and a nice, long finish. It was terribly young, but bursting with life and energy.

Richebourg Grand Cru 1972, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti

The nose had plenty of soft, mature fruit, earth and a slightly savoury character which was vaguely reminiscent of celery salt. Incredibly complex, stylish and simply oozing class from every pore. The palate had soft tannins, a good earthy character and plenty of fruit. It also displayed the celery salt savoury character, but this was quite pleasing in this wine. It was very long and very complex. A really lovely bottle of properly mature Burgundy, top bunny!

Pommard Premier Cru les Rugiens 2003, Domaine de Courcel

A huge nose of luxuriant, sun-ripened fruit and earth with the merest seasoning of oak. There is booze there, too. A fighting wine, to be sure, but not lacking in class or style. The palate is a monster, with loads of fruit, big tannins and a very long, if slightly warm, finish, but it is really sexy, svelte and smooth. Great earthy complexity is also present. This is a bottle of undoubtedly heroic, but really classy Burgundy.

Cornas 1999, Noel Verset

Lovely fruit on the nose, a hint of stemminess too. This smells really complex and refined. I was served it blind and I thought it was Chave Hermitage. The palate was very silky and refined, with good tannins and nice, ripe fruit. Very long, with only hints of rusticity. This was a proper bottle of Cornas, alright.

Cornas 1999, Clape

Ripe and bold on the nose, with nice, refined fruit. Very classy, very complex. The palate had good tannins, worthy of Cornas but very ripe and silky. Plenty of fruit there, too. Very long, with a great earthy complexity on the finish. This was a really great bottle of Cornas, which I preferred to the Verset, but everyone else preferred that. Top kit, worthy of many more years in the cellar, even though it provided a lot of pleasure now.

  • Jeremy


    It was wonderful to see you and thank you for opening those exciting wines. However, I was surprised by your part of the lineup: 2 x 2003 and a pretty heroic 2004 Riesling (Daniel’s contribution). While the latter still fell in the broad category of elegance, the Bollinger could have wrestled cattle, and the Pommard gone boar-hunting with only it’s alcoholic fists as weapons. I differ from you in my appreciation of those two wines. I apologise for this subjective take on your objective reality.

    The two 1999 Cornas’ were wonderfully delicious. I love the appelation and those two old school producers performed superlatively. Wow!

    Keep well and look forward to future drinking!

  • David Strange

    Lovely to see you too, Jeremy. And James was audible! Life must be suiting him.

    The Bollinger is certainly good, what else could they have done with the grapes that year and isn’t it an accurate reflection of those vintage conditions? A very well-made reflection, I feel, sold at an age for maximum hedonistic enjoyment.

    I think that Pommard will be a truly marvellous drink in ten years’ (or more) time. It flashes with specks of that greatness even when this young. It was a fascinating tasting we attended; Christopher the NZ winemaker was there after the debacle of Pousse d’Or he was utterly bowled over by the quality, style and class of Yves Confuron’s wines. I am sure Yves, if you had the balls to say that you were not impressed by his wines in his company, would happily quote Jean-Michel Deiss’ line to Rovani “You are simply incapable of understanding the greatness of my wines”. I didn’t really go for his 04s, to be honest (so I too am incapable), but 99, 00, 01, 02, 03 and now 05s are the cats rude bits. Aren’t they rude?

    Noel and Pierre-Marie can deliver the goods, alright. I was wrong to question your trust in Clape, Jeremy, but they are frighteningly expensive. I’m bringing a 98 Clape and a 98 Rochepertuis out of my cellar in Oxford in a couple of weeks; I shall try them together and think carefully as I taste.

    I’m also bringing out some mags for my birthday this year. What do you think about: mag 1997 Barolo Nei Cannubi from Einaudi (the neighbours’ contribution), mag 2001 Abtsberg Auslese von Schubert, mag Gratien 1996 and a mag of Lambrays 1999?

  • Jeremy

    Hhmmm, we can agree that the Pommard Rugiens 2003 was definitely a wine for laying down. What is subsequently doen with it will be up to other people than me as i am happy to let it get old. Very very old. I am indeed incapable of understanding its genius, and I mean COMPLETELY incapable, just in the same way that I am COMPLETELY incapable of pouring gasoline all over my body and immolating myself; But to each his own.

    The wine lineup for your birthday looks quite a lot more to my taste. Perhaps I will come after all. I, like you, find nice things nicer than nasty things. That Pommard Rugiens is not nice, it tastes like an old alcoholic cat’s rude bits.