Drunk in excellent surroundings at The Langham, in London for a mate’s 50th birthday with an amazing 9 course lunch and some highly accomplished cooking. Well more impressions really…
1979 Bollinger Grand Annee + 1990 Krug
Well Champers to start - surprise me! I’m not a great fan but only to happy to drink others stunning offerings. The Krug was drinking beautifully but certainly oxidative in nature, and I’m not a fan of the style but there is no denying the quality if the wine in the glass… lots of baked bread, minerality, acidity and a long finish - 92pts. The 1979 Bollinger Grand Annee was probably the weaker wine of the pair but overall I preferred it with it’s slightly less complex body, smaller bubbles, lower acidity but more complex fruit on finish - 92pts. I wonder if I will ever ‘get’ Champagne.
2000 Chablis Fevre Bougros (Cote Bouguerots) + 2000 Chablis Fevre Les Preuses
Drunk from two very different glasses. The Preuses was from a Vitis Montrachet glass(??) while the Bougros was in a Bdx Vinum glass. How much difference this made I’m not sure, but they were very different wines. But for me the Preuses was the better balanced wine with green fruit (apples/pears & some refreshing citrus), oyster shell minerality and a great finish - 92pts. The Bougros was flat in comparison but in no way flabby, more weighty and beautifully textured I guess, but not a slouch - 90pts. Fascinating Chards & a treat.
1976 Vina Real GR CVNE + 1979 Vega Sicilia + 1981 Lopez de Heredia Bosconia
Rioja’s eh… OK, not the Vega Sicilia! I know little about this region, but I have to say what fab wines & the complexity was a complete surprise for me… wow! On pouring the nose on the 1981 Lopez de Heredia Bosconia was A++++ just stunning and all earth & tobacco but it faded quickly becoming a good, but not a great wine - 90pts. The 1979 Vega Sicilia was so youthful top look at compared to the other two and built in complexity over time becoming quite Bordeaux like - 93pts. Then the 1976 Vina Real – holy crap this was the wine of the flight, and all sweet tobacco, dried purple fruits, brown spice & vanilla. Sublime, complex & stunning - 95pts.
1979 Grange + 1981 Grange + 1985 Bertani Amarone Recioto
The Amarone has never been a style of wine I’ve appreciated but this is, by a county mile, by far the best bottle I’ve ever drunk. All dried cranberry, raisin, soil, meat & chocolate wrapped in a core of cleansing acidity, very tasty - 91pts. The Grange split the camp. The 81 was still tight, very tannic and in a cloak of dark fruit, smoke, meat & coffee. Sings to you - 94pts. While the 79 reminds me what the 89 will almost certainly become in another 10 years… smelt of Bordeaux on opening and then softened down to plum, vanilla & caramel, finishes well but lacks huge complexity – 91pts. Will these wines ever die?
1959 Reynier (the UK shipper) Chateauneuf du Pape + 1989 Jaboulet Les Cedres Chateauneuf du Pape + 1989 Chave Hermitage
The 1959 to start with… is it really a table wine? A very dark mahogany brown & a nose that is so sweet and full of molasses, Marsala, mushroom & flat Coca-Cola. Not a wine as I know it, but incredibly interesting, so depending on your frame of mind while drinking it could mean anything. £8,000 well spent I think. I rather enjoyed it in a perverse sort of way. Certainly not dead, just very unique secondary characteristics – N/R as I’ve not had anything like it before. The 1989 Jaboulet Les Cedres was a classically made CdP and a pleasure to drink, but again this faded quickly showing game, smoke & earth – 89pts. The 1989 Chave Hermitage as again a stunner and another polarizing bottle. I love its feminine fragrance, animal scent & clarity. Incredibly seamless & elegant overall – 93pts.
1959 Coutet + 1989 Huet Cuvee Constance
The Huet Cuvee Constance is one the most balanced, structured, complex & complete wines I’ve ever had and lucky to have 3 bottles left. All you would want in a sticky & my WOTD – 97pts. The 1959 Coutet isn’t far behind with its apricot, creme brulee and apple nose, still bracing acidity & clean finish. It just lacks the extra excitement. But what a treat to try - 92pts
A lovely port but it had an odd confected nose and a shortness on the finish. Slightly faulty perhaps(?) but as I’ve never had this producers vintage I’m not sure. – N/R
Afterwards elsewhere(!) some Albert Mann Riesling (vintage?) – comparatively dull & washed out compared to the wines above – 83pts.
If I bought all of those wines at current retail I don’t want to know how many thousands they would have cost. The generosity of board members always astound me!