Captain Peter came around for lunch the other day – my did we eat and drink well! The wines ended at a screaming, literally SCREAMING, peak of brilliance, but I’ll start off with a few words about the food.
We started off with the usual sausage and gesier salad. This was lovely with some red Burgundy but hardly prepared us for the mind buggering wonderfulness of what Dani prepared for the main course.
Once again, Woodlands Jersey Beef provided amazing steak, this time ribeyes, which were cut into joyously thick pieces and grilled to utter perfection by Dani. Captain Peter was sceptical that we’d provide better beef than Hawksmoor, but he soon realised we kiddeth not. Woodlands Jersey Beef is quite clearly the second best beef I have ever eaten, and on that day’s performance is vying for top spot.
He served these with roast potatoes. Now, The Editor is usually damned good with roasts, but he is hampered by the fact that I am roasting a piece of animal at the same time in the oven; this time he had the oven to himself. He’d roasted the amazingly tasty Hampshire potatoes we’d got with peerless skill. I do not apologise to any relative, friend or chef in saying Dani makes the best goose fat roast potatoes I have ever tried, these were totally lovely. Helped by the greatness of Hampshire produce, of course, but mainly raised to transcendental brilliance by the skill of The Editor. Hooray!
Now, prepare yourselves, it’s time for cracking drinking!
Riesling Kabinett Graacher Domprobst 2009, Willi Schaefer
I was spot on buying a 12-pack of this, it’s provided hilarious bargain drinking fun over the last couple of years. The nose has lovely round fruit and focussed minerality, but it just seems really accessible and up for pleasuring – no hint of closing down at all. Despite the broad weight of the 2009 vintage the palate has amazing acidity and burns with painful delight. Lively, fun, livid excitement. Totally lovely and anyone who says we drank this too young is a total arse.
Riesling Spatlese Graacher Domprobst 2009, Willi Schaefer
Ha ha ha ha ha! This is even better! Being an enlightened drinker I realise Kabinetts are properly fine wines in themselves, but this just shows layers of extra love. The peachy fruit on the nose screams attractive pleasure and the creamy, rich slate minerality is just utterly beguiling. An awfully large amount of fun and very sophisticated too. The acidity is enough to make me reach for the Gaviscon – isn’t that good in a 2009? I don’t mind such pain really, it’s good for me. The minerality adds to the impression of lithe tautness but there’s plenty of richly fun fruit as well. An absolute cracker, I couldn’t have enjoyed it more!
Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru les Ruchots 2007, Domaine Arlaud
2007s are a delight to drink now and this one has a rather lovely nose – so attractive! Lovely, lovely fresh ripe fruit that explodes from the glass. There is a good soily tang to it as well, but it’s that fruit you’ve got to adore. The palate suggests it is reaching time to drink, it is not quite as fleshy as a year or so ago, but the balance between fruit, acidity and drying tannins is still just fine and makes this a distinctly enjoyable bottle. Yeah, perhaps drink up over the next year or two, but you’ll have quite a lot of fun doing so.
Pommard Premier Cru les PezErOlles 2006, Domaine de Montille
I sniff this and all doubts I had about de Montille 2006 wines evaporate – it’s a beauty! Indeed, it’s a type Cote de Beaune Premier Cru of distinct charm and attractiveness. It has minimalist red berry fruit and pure stony earth on the nose, along with pleasingly low alcohol, and these just make it a dream to sniff. I wonder if a hint of oak is showing just a little, but it is only a suggestion and I’m not terribly bothered by it. The palate is light, elegant and refined, with charming fruit, a pretty structure and enough intricate complexity to keep all your faculties engaged. A real little lovely, drinking very well now and showing all the pure charm one hopes for in this vineyard an producer.
Bandol Cuvee Speciale la Cabassaou 1999, Domaine Tempier
Writing about all the wines above is somewhat ignoring the detonating doomsday device in the room because we finished off with this mind-warping bottle of incredibly insane excellence. It started with TERROR!
I poured this very slightly chilled with no decanting and as I tasted it the incredible protein-denaturing tannins so buggered every enzyme in my body the shock was like having been blasted with a heavy metal shotgun shell. I reeled and through the tears in my eyes I could see the same reaction in Peter and Dani. We thought we’d decant it and come back to it.
But we couldn’t keep away! The aroma infiltrating the room from the decanter was spell-binding. Incredibly boozy, for sure; the 14.5% indicated on the label was just a starting point. But there was so much more! Herbs, grilled meat, delicate, earthy perfumes and charismatically insane brilliance. You just had to keep pouring yourself extra little slugs.
I’m not sure whether it opened up and softened quite quickly or just harangued us into its way of thinking, but it didn’t take long before we were joyously necking every drop we could with no fear of incredible booze burns or terrific tannin severity. It seemed so soft, fragrant, complex and stylish. Incredibly long with layers and layers of sophisticated, joyously delicious flavour it just had you coming back for more and more and enjoying every drop despite the pain. Ultimately, it was very balanced, but that was balance of a ‘large amounts of everything to balance the large amounts of everything else’-type, but it was the extreme beauty and stunning personality of the wine that kept you excited. And I was VERY excited. This was truly the greatest wine I’ve had in a while; I don’t care what flash trophy kit you neck, this was several country light-years ahead of such stuff. I’ve got one bottle left and drinking it will be saved for me best and most enlightened friends who really want to have a grasp of the very best wine can deliver.
The Cabassaou was a truly memorable wine. From initial shock and awe (a “fighting wine”), it beguiled and seduced us. Wow! Thanks for an excellent time. The beef and the potatoes were indeed superb.