85 Mesnil, 74 Lafite, 00 Brane, 49 Leroy Moose, 64 Vigneau and more

A bottle of 1874 Lafite purchased by our Monday Table group several years ago was the centrepiece of a wonderful dinner in Melbourne last night. Michael was in charge of organising for members to bring an appropriate wine from their cellar and put on a stunning array of gems from his own cellar. Scott Pickett was brought in to man the stoves and he proved once again to be one of the very best cooks in Australia at the moment. Sarah Ward handled wine service with usual grace and skill. Big G made us laugh with his many inappropriate, politically incorrect stories.

Squid cracker, Chickpea panisse, Potato chip and tarama

1985 Krug ‘Clos du Mesnil’: A touch of nutty aldehyde to the aroma along with plenty of citrus and some white flowers. It is full in the mouth with terrific intensity and a real chalky base. It is piercing, beautifully detailed and razor sharp with outstanding persistence. Quite close to Champagne perfection for mine and with plenty left in the tank.

1985 Bollinger ‘Vieux Vignes Francais’: Looked quite advanced at first but got quite a bit better after spending some time in the glass. There’s some caramel development and roasted nut action. It is soft and pillowy in the mouth but gains intensity and there are plenty of mushroom and earth notes. It is quite meaty on the finish with a soy-like umami flavour.

1st Course
Marron, cauliflower and broad beans

1978 Maison Leroy Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru: Autumnal and smoky with rich, nutty aromas and flavours. Full in the mouth, quite tertiary but still lively and fresh.

1978 Maison Leroy Meursault ‘Genevraires’ 1er Cru: On the nose you get fresh figs and almond butter. It is rich and heady in the mouth with a whip of minerally acidity shivering down the wine’s spine. It has a most pleasant thread of spice through the flavor profile and length of flavor is excellent.

1978 Maison Leroy Chassagne-Montrachet ‘Les Chenevottes’ 1er Cru: Rich and nutty with some dried fruit and rind aromas and flavours. Has a fruit-sweet heart and plenty of savoury nuance at the extremities. It is a lovely, plump old Burgundy that is gracefully starting to fade.

2nd Course
White truffle risotto

1973 Leo Buring Show Reserve Rhine Riesling DWC17 (Eden Valley): On the nose there’s toast, mushroom and lemon curd. It is fresh and detailed in the mouth with some smoky development and citrus fruit flavours. It is full, rich and dry and is an absolute Aussie classic.

1977 Leo Buring Show Reserve Rhine Riesling DWG41 (Watervale): Whereas the 73 looked bone dry, this feels like it has just a touch of residual sugar (perhaps it is just the intense fruit sweetness). It is full and round with lime brulee notes. It has some green apple crispness and is quite a delicious drink although does not have quite the same detail as the 73.

3rd Course
Pigeon, onion and cherries

1943 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti ‘La Tache’: Quite big stemsy, smoky lift to the aroma. There were also the telltale La Tache Hoisin and soy things going on. The palate was only mid-weight, fine and lacy with plenty of sweet earth and a salty iodine flavor. It was a good but not great bottle of ’43 DRC as a ’43 GE we had last year was quite majestic.

1945 Clerget Clos Vougeot: Can’t recall ever having a bad ’45, still haven’t after this superb bottle. It was spicy, full and rich with plenty of smoked meat aromas and flavours and a little peaty development. It is still quite powerful with excellent density and a plush, velvety texture.

1949 Maison Leroy Musigny: This was a bottle that Anthony had brought back from Burgundy recently that leaked in transit. After consultation with a winemaker friend Anthony topped the wine up with about 8mls of 1997 Jadot Musigny, gave it a dose of SO2 and re-corked under diam. The wine looked good last night, although we could feel the elevage hand of Mr Hall in the wine and I’m quite sure Christophe Roumier will not be inviting him to consult on his practices regarding elevage and bottling practices on his Musigny any time soon. It had some volatility that didn’t bother me but did bother a few at the table. There were aromas of mirepoix, beef stock, leather and dried flowers. It was very much red fruited, gentle and ethereal in the mouth. There was a suggestion of freshly grated ginger through the palate and the volatility gave a tart balsamic whip to the finish.

4th Course
Sher wagyu eye fillet. Shitake and burnt carrot

1961 Chateau Haut-Brion: This was a bottle procured recently ex Chateau by Mark and was supremely youthful and outrageously good. It had a core of dense cassis fruit. There were all sorts of leather, tar and gravel savoury nuance. It had a rigid graphite spine, great flesh, detail and awesome length.

1961 Chateau Mouton Rothschild: A lot more open-knit than the Haut Brion with an expressive nose of sulphured plum, capsicum, cassis, mint and black olive. The palate was fruit sweet and countered nicely by some cooler minty things. It had some lead pencil action and finished with sweet, round tannins.

1874 Chateau Lafite Rothschild: Some funky, cheesy, nutty things happening the nose. The palate is better than the nose and actually sweetens up in the glass. It has some florals that build and the aroma develops a passionfruit vine smell that is quite pleasant. It is still a wine of vitality and a really interesting thing to taste.

1900 Chateau Brane Cantenac: Starts off quite floral with a perfume of roses and geranium. It is a little skinny but puts on pud in the glass. There are notes of tart cherry, sweet cedar, earth, ginger and sweat. It actually ended up being quite a tasty drink.

1921 Chateau Palmer: I thought that this was perhaps the classiest of all of the Bordeaux wines we had. It had an engaging perfume of curry leaf, violets, leather, spice and cedar. In the mouth it was lively with crunchy acidity, good detail and still possessed abundant tannins.

1928 Chateau Gazin: Big G announced that Gazin sold a slice of their vineyard to Petrus in 1973. Big D thought it was good of them to allow Petrus to have a crack at their new parcel for the disastrous 74 vintage. This particular bottle of ’28 was good but just had a slight hint of chocolate/coffee oxidation. It was very earthy with good density and plenty of minerally acidity.

1947 Chateau Vieux Chateau Certain: This had a riot of fruit, was flashy, showy and downright slutty. It possessed a palate where dense, creamy waves of cherry and cassis lapped around the gums. There were some floral notes and despite all the flesh it had a juicy quality to it. This was a grand bottle without any hint of oxidation. A most enjoyable drink.

Confit apple and malted milk

1864 Chateau Vigneau (Vicomte de Pontac) Sauternes: Last year I purchased some wines from a private cellar in Burgundy. On offer were two bottles of 19th century Chateau Vigneau, one without a label, one with an illegible label. The cellar notes of the owner of the wines indicated they were the 1861 and 1864. We sent photos of the bottles to Chateau Rayne-Vigneau and they came back indicating that the bottles were indeed consistent with what was used prior to 1880 and the pewter capsule that sealed the neck of the bottles was used up until the 1930’s. The wine poured out a deep dark khaki colour but it still looked alive and alive it indeed was. It had a wonderfully complex aroma with suggestions of vanilla, licorice, grated coconut, tinned peaches, dried fruits, antique furniture and flora. It was still quite sweet and dense in the mouth with an unctuous texture and tasted almost like a PX Sherry without the spirit. It kept building and held up beautifully in the glass over the course of an hour or so. It was such an intriguing wine and a joy to drink. f*ck it, I’m quite sure I haven’t been aging my Sauternes long enough.

1955 Chateeu d’Yquem Sauternes: Sadly marred by tca, looked to be a hell of a wine there otherwise.

1893 Barret Cognac: I’m not much of a spirits man and this tasted sprity and Cognacy to me. Norman, who is more of a Cognac man said it was very good, made at a time when Cognac had real character.


Was another great night, a truly memorable dinner with some fantastic old wines, and great food.

The Krug was monumental, as was the Haut Brion, both need more time!

The old Saurternes was a rare treat, shame about the '55 Yquem, and the sexy looking bottle of '45 Yquem we eventually (wrongly) decided not to open…

The food really was first class, Scott would have to be in the best two or three chefs in the country!

nothing of value for me to add except, “wow.” Great report!

Isn’t “74 Lafite” a little deceptive? Wrong century, biatch!

Amazing tasting! Thanks for posting.

Mind = Blown!

You guys are drinking legends!

Excellent notes, y’all are killin it over there. Thanks for sharing Jeremy!

Thanks for the write up.

Did Halliday’s group had a 1974 double magnum too?

Sanjay, IIRC they had 1865.

BTW Jeremy…simply amazing dinner overflowing with old treasures. Can’t say I will ever have the opportunity to taste the majority of these, but can say that I have had the privelege of tasting that 73 Buring Riesling, which as I recalll was one of Vickery’s very finest.
Keep up the good work, but why a Monday? This should be a Saturday table function, so you can really appreciate the coggies.

Not too shabby boys! Everything served open or were you tempted to throw in any options?

Is liver a paired organ in Australia?

85 Krug Mesnil is still the best Champagne I have ever had.
Great write up Jeremy!

I haven’t had those recently but but I did buy them 20 years ago for a song. Great experience that.

Thanks guys.

Kent, those old Leo Buring Rieslings are indeed National treasures.

Matthew, the Champagnes and whites were served blind, the rest of the wines were not.

Best Regards

Great read, as usual Jeremy!

It sounds like Anthony needs to have a consultation with an expert. Anybody have Rudy’s number?

Some funky, cheesy, nutty things happening the nose. The palate is better than the nose and actually sweetens up in the glass. It has some florals that build and the aroma develops a passionfruit vine smell that is quite pleasant. It is still a wine of vitality and a really interesting thing to taste.

Looking at some notes on cellartracker, a 1974 maybe wouldn’t be too much different.

Anthony will have to watch himself, if Don catches him he’ll end up in a ‘state pinotentiary’ like Rudy!

The '73 Buring was my white of the night, simply superb!

Have a few pics I will upload when I get a chance…

Great wines and notes! Thanks!