DINNER FOR WAYNE AND HANNAH ('96 AND '02 BURGS, '82 LAGUNE ETC)
Wayne and Hannah were down from Auckland so Con and Marie organised a lovely dinner at their place.
Nick and I decided to pair and compare a couple of 1996 and 2002 reds Burgs we each had. The Burgundies and the Rioja Blanco were decanted about three hours before serving, which was about right. Con brought out a 1982 Bordeaux, the vintage that started him and Wayne on their fine wine journey all of those years ago …
All wines served non-blind.
2002 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Cuvée Nicolas-François Billecart - France, Champagne
The Champagnes were served in Riesling-type glasses. Pale colour. Small bead. An attractive citric and mineral bouquet with a touch of spice. Not much autolysis evident. In the mouth, precise and pure. Lemons, peaches and pears with some minerals. ‘Tight and restrained’ said Con. Excellent acidity. Still young with only a slight oxidative edge on the finish. Drinking very well but it’d be good to revisit in another 2-4 years.
2002 Pol Roger Champagne Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill - France, Champagne
Darker colour. A spicier, more exhuberent nose. Citrus and orchard fruit but almond brioche and a little toffee apple. Richer and fuller than the Billecart but with supporting minerality and acidity. Con noted the ‘zingy acidity’ here. A Champagne for the long haul. Showing well on the night, the best so far I’ve seen this vintage of Winston show, I think. I thought it edged the Billecart-Salmon on the comparison, due to greater flavour complexity.
2011 Louis Jadot Corton-Charlemagne Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru
Pale gold. Some reduction on serving, that took about an hour to blow off. Minerals, chalk, lime juice, meadow flowers and greengage plums. On palate, a hit of refreshing 2011 acids on entry and across the mid palate. Lemons, chalk, pears and green apples. Underneath the piercing acidity, particularly with time in the glass, the wine is fat, ripe, rich and powerful. Nice salinity on the long finish. Enjoyable now, the acidity is not overwhelming, but ideally a wine to cellar 5+ more years.
1996 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja
A blend of 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia. I was keen to try this Gran Reserva Blanco and I, with everyone at the dinner, was really impressed by this wine. Amber colour, showing some development at the rim. A gorgeous nose of mixed nuts, grapefruit, honey and butterscotch with hints of tropical fruit. On palate, surprisingly young and fresh. Not at all oxidative. Lovely tactile mouthfeel. Flavourful with lots of detail. Caramel, lemon toffee, vanilla, citrus and exotic fruits. Real breadth across the palate. Great volume. Quite long. Returning to it at the end of the night, very good with the cheeses.
1996 Hubert Lignier Clos de la Roche - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru
Paired with the 2002, the Ligniers were a classic 1996 v 2002 red Burgundy comparison … The slightly lighter colour of the two wines. On bouquet, breezy and fresh, you sensed the minerality and acidity of the 1996. Lovely aromatics. Dried herbs, fresh and dried flowers, brushwood, red berries and earth. Drinking it, the leaner, racier wine of the two. More stoney minerality on palate, with raspberry, red cherry and a touch of cranberry. Also, earthy, savoury nuances. Good structure and density. Oak present but well aligned. In its drinking window now. Very good but, to me, a little behind the 2002 in terms of quality.
2002 Hubert Lignier Clos de la Roche Cuvée Auguste - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru
Not quite the bouquet of the 1996 but richer, more opulent perfumes with dark spices, barbequed game meats and dark fruit. On palate, real richness, matière and structure. Quite primary and more dark fruited than the 1996. Very well balanced though with good acidity to provide freshness and focus. Nick noted the ‘solar’ nature of the wine but said he preferred the 'fatness of the fruit of the '02 over the leanness of the ‘96’. ‘More flesh on the bones’, agreed Con. Ideally, I’d still give this wine about 3-4 more years but it’s already outstanding, in my view.
1996 Domaine Anne Gros Richebourg - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Richebourg Grand Cru
Again, paired with the 2002. The Ligniers were excellent but the Anne Gros pair, to me anyway, represented a step up in quality. It’s hard to compete with that Richebourg terroir … The 1996 threw major sediment. A little lighter colour than the 2002. The best bouquet of the four Burgs. Kaleidoscopic layers of florals, herbs, minerals and more developed, savoury notes. On palate, clean and pure but dense and powerful. 1996 acidity present but now seamlessly integrated. Refined and elegant. Beautifully balanced and proportioned. Serious tannic structure but not showing too much new oak. Just beginning to hint at secondary development. Again, it’ll be better in five years. On the night, my and Nick’s WOTN.
2002 Domaine Anne Gros Richebourg - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Richebourg Grand Cru
No sediment on decanting. Dark colour. Fairly mute nose. Black cherries, blackberries and other dark fruit, some dark spices and iron. Also black fruited on palate but tannic and tight. Silky and sleek but, for me, still too young and primary. Dense, voluminous and powerful. Serious tannic and acid structure. Wayne and Con’s WOTN. I thought it was, objectively, the best wine of the table, just that it needs more time, perhaps 5-8 more years. It was opened up a bit by the beef course.
1982 Château La Lagune - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc
High neck fill. The cork came out pretty cleanly. Opened about two hours before serving. A very sound bottle. Good bright garnet colour. A bouquet of red plums, spices, cedar and cassis. Deep and fairly primary, for a 36 year old wine. On palate, relatively young-drinking, tight and quite closed. Dense with a serious volume of fully ripe fruit. Pure and clean. Plums, cedar, new leather and cherries. Tannins relatively resolved and smooth. With the beef dish, the 1982 seemed more open and accessible. Drinking well now but no hurry needed to open a bottle like this.
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