TN: Another lunch... mainly 89+90 Beau VV, Coudoulet & rouge

Holy cr@p, what a wonderful lunch! The food was other worldly & H U G E thank you to The Ledbury team for the stunning professional job they did. Sadly I had to pull myself away to catch my train as a very kind neighbour said she would take & collect me from the station & deal with the kids after school. Anyway…

amuse bouche - 100pts
2003 by Bollinger
I don’t appreciate the stuff but I am more than happy to try but not buy! I found this wonderful as it wasn’t uber complex… just a delicious easy drinking fizz much lower in acidity & tiny beads. Oyster, apple & reasonably dry. 88pts

Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes 2003
I was ready to hate this but boy I was wrong, as this was just it just fabulous. Bags of waxy compelling fruit and a wine that behaves more line a new world stunner. Fabulous concentration and superb ripeness with honeysuckle, waxed lemon peel, some cream & mineral. Enormous length & richness while being surprisingly elegant. 93pts

Roast Scallops with Pumpkin and Mandarin Puree, Pumpkin Gnocchi and Ginger - 100pts
Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes 1990 and Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes 1989
With the 89 & 90 I was expecting a revelation or an oxidised disaster! I got neither but what a treat, both being superbly made. Both needed a bit of time for the bottle stink to blow off and once that happened the resulting liquid was rather good but not profound and showing fleshy tropical fruit, a nutty texture, low acidity and a good finish. Certainly not the massive wines I was expecting. A treat! 90 points each and without a preference for either.

Raviolo of Lamb with Summer Savory, Thyme and Jeruaslem Artichoke - 100pts
Bosquet des Papes Chante Le Merle Vieilles Vignes 2000
The odd one out here being so young, even though fabulous! Raspberry cherry liqueur, tar, garrigue, smoke & mineral. Very nice concentration & texture. 92+

Chateau de Beaucastel CdP 1999
I finished my case of this 4 yeas ago & loved it young. Roll on the years and… medicinal iodine notes mixing with the ripe purple fruit, can this be right? Earth, caramel & forest floor follow with some acidity & tannin. A bit one dimensional for me. Faulty? N/R

Coudoulet de Beaucastel CdR 1989 & Coudoulet de Beaucastel CdR 1990
I bought these and was very worried about them as I had double decanted these 5 hours previously because of the very fine sediment issue that wouldn’t settle. But why worry as both had put on weight & looked darker than my last bottles. The 89 again, was a beautiful wine & if I see more of these I’d happily buy them again. The 1990 was shabby in comparison, so 89pts for the 1990 & 92pts for the 1989. On their own these would be wonderful wines, but when the big guns came out they were put into their place but certainly not disgraced, especially at 1/10 of the price. Who was it who said Coudoulet cant age?

Loin of Roe Deer Baked in Hay with Smoked Celeriac and Pear - 100pts
Chateau de Beaucastel CdP 1981 + Chateau de Beaucastel CdP 1989 + Chateau de Beaucastel CdP 1990
Well… the '81 & '89 did not show the ‘amazingness’ of bottles I’ve had previously, but the 1990 eclipsed my predictions! The 81 was a very fine well aged bottle but lacked the depth & complexity I was used to (93pts), the 1989 was brown compared to the ruby Coudoulet but with some time in the glass it blossomed into a rather alluring sample (93pts), but the 1990 for the first time was my pick from these three fanolous vintages with its rich velvety fruit, fine acidity & mature secondary charactics (95pts)

Opera Gateau with Honeycomb, Chicory and Black Pepper Ice Cream - 100pts
Huet Clos du Bourg Moelleux 1989
This was one of the most wonderful palate cleansers with its high acid fruit, stunning balance & long finish. Excellent & I just love anything Heut has made in 1989. 93pts

I"m quite surprised the Coudoulet lasted as long as they did! I was under the assumption that they were short-term drinkers…good to know, thanks.

Possibly more medium term than short as there is 30-35% Mouverdre in the Coudoulet; but I think the several bottles I purchased recently (at only GBP£10ib each) were very well cellered. If I’d bought then on release I would have drunk them a few years ago. I bought them as a curiosity!

Great tasting. Thanks for the post Phil.

Mr T - Coudoulet definitely ages better than most CdRs. WHile I haven’t had any at 19-20 yrs, I did have the '95 last year and it was outstanding. Fonsalette is arguably the longest lived CdR I’m aware of, capable of many years. A few years ago we had the '83 Cuvee Syrah that was stunning. I found a '00 Coudoulet I’d like to try.

I amazed the Beaucastel 1989 & 1990 Roussanne Vieilles Vignes did not generate any discussion. Did America not discover Chateauneuf before the 1998 vintage?

Back from London this afternoon and wanted to say that our meal at Ledbury was better than our experience at Per Se in all aspects except for the bread basket.