Yesterday Dani and I travelled into London to meet James, Katie and Peter for a spot of delicious lunch and a bit of incredibly fine Burgundy. Every wine delivered all we could ask of it.
Peter was particularly pleased that after the two red wines I asked James if he might have a bottle of Auslese we could have to prepare us for the journey home. What he opened was amazing. I hope when Peter visits next Sunday I can manage kit of that quality with our Woodlands Jersey Beef steaks.
Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons 2002, Raveneau
Not exactly fresh and fruity, more damp and slightly rotten. But this is Raveneau so it’s what you expect. There was a tiny hint of oxidation, which was a little bothersome. Like a lot of Raveneau wines I’ve had this reminded me more than a little of Savennieres, both in being a bit damp and also being heavy and dense. Great acidity, though, and it was almost lively at ten years old. It was quite good, but like a lot of Raveneau just a little odd; I wasn’t amazingly compelled. Henry, James and Katie’s two year old pictured modelling the bottle, seemed rather taken with it – stick to Fevre, Henry!
Corton ‘Le Charlemagne’ Grand Cru 2002, Chandon de Briailles
Hell’s bells, what a nose! So much going on here but really tightly wound and intense. This is a decade old and yet it smells remarkably youthful – it’s a burning star of intense life. The palate is stunning, livid and lively with extraordinary elegance and incredible refinement. There is a lot of lemony/apple fruit, but it is really the powerful minerality and acidity of this wine that grabs you. It’s alive, I tell you! This is one of those very rare white Burgundies that is made to age and improve for well over a decade, I loved it. When we came back to it at the end of the meal it had a nose very reminiscent of flat Champagne – possibly flat Blanc de Noirs Champagne at that. An incredible wine – no rush to drink.
Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2000, Ramonet
If the Corton was still maturing on the nose this is showing off full maturity gloriously attractively. It’s big, nutty and powerful, but not over-whelming in terms of booze (or anything else for that matter). Wonderfully stony and complex, this throbs with dimension and commands that you have a good time when you drink it. I’d better drink some, then. Hooray, it’s brilliant! Serious weight and density here but thanks to fine acidity and great minerality it remains a lively, refreshing drink. In the grand scheme of Batards this is a relatively elegant little number; it’s quite ‘Ramonet’ in aspect. Incredibly complex and throbbing with style it’s utterly delicious. Brillo bunny Batard, up for drinking.
Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru les Saint-Georges 1995, Gouges
Yummy, yummy, I love this nose! It’s charged with fresh, ripe fruit and really sophisticated earthiness. Quite polished and round. When I sniffed this I guessed it was an Arlaud 1er Cru from 2002, which perhaps shows it is not developing amazingly quickly. The palate has a really good tannic structure that is pretty serious and really nice acidity too, considering it obviously is quite ripe. Good earthy sophistication to it and the flavours persist for quite a long time. Gouges is a lot more accessible these days and doesn’t need so long; at seventeen years old this one is drinking excellently now but will easily improve for a long time.
Grands-Echezeaux Grand Cru 1998, Rene Engel
I’ve sniffed some amazing, beautiful wines in my time but none so wondrous in a period of time. Utterly beguiling, totally seductive it has lovely, lovely complex and ripe fruit with silky mineral aromas and charged with incredible poise and harmony. A delight to sniff but I want to get necking. Yeah, that’s the stuff! Ripe fruit, complex earth, silky tannins and fine acidity all in perfect balance and all singing a song of total love and enjoyment. This is really incredibly fine. I guessed this blind as Clos des Lambrays 1998, which wasn’t so bad, but the wine was so amazing. Drinking with supreme pleasure now – especially from a magnum!
Riesling Auslese Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2001, JJ Prum
I think the picture of Katie modelling the bottle says it all.
And how much fun did I have? This much fun:
Dani was less wild, but also had a great time. Thank you James and Katie for hosting us for a lovely lunch and fine wines.