Twice a year everyone in our group digs into their own cellar to share something special. Each wine has to be 10 years old and European. They are all served blind and therefore it is up to each of us to guess the wine after being given a series of options. Not surprisingly we call this game “options”.
Due to the generosity in the group
The most recent event was filled to the brim with excellent wine. As always there was some very generously shared wines that made it a special experience. Unfortunately my guessing was thoroughly wrong apart from the odd success. But I only get to drink wines like this at nights like this so I’ll happily get them all wrong for that cause!
The first step of any excellent wine night always involves a magnum of Champagne, Agrapart Mineral Blanc de Blancs 2005 did the trick nicely. From the Grand Cru village of Avize and made in the ‘Extra Brut’ style (meaning it contains almost no residual sugar). Dry and chalky but with a serious weight of fruit and power to it. Like the best Champagne from growers this is an impressive wine that happens to be fizzy. It did get a bit grating towards the end of the second glass but I believe in another 5-10 years this will be just gorgeous.
|Young, dry Champagne. It will grow into a beautiful swan!|
Sadly our first wine was NQR
Raveneau Chablis Premier Cru Montee de Tonnerre 2001. Bummer! I really love Raveneau and I tasted this wine many years ago and it was lovely. Thankfully someone happened to have a bottle of Albert Bichot Domaine Long Depaquit Chablis 2009 that their favourite wine merchant had sourced for them and gallantly volunteered it for tasting. So lean and pure with a long of green apple crunchy underneath the slatey/white stones and floral notes. Young and looking more so due to the age of the rest of the wines but extremely enjoyable for drinking now but would round off in 5 or so years.
I provided the only other white Domaine Baumard Savennieres ‘Trie Speciale’ 2000. Followers of my ramblings will know of my fondness for Chenin Blanc from the Loire and Baumard is one of the best in my opinion. This wine was floral, sweetly herbaceous, clean and vibrant with a hint of botrytis like tropical fruit and marmalade. The palate was nice and clean with a steely mineral streak through the core, good fleshy fruit and nice silk. Yum. Went really well with my Tempura of Bamboo Funghi which I enjoyed immensely despite its vegetarian-ness.
Into the reds next. And what a line-up.
Jean Grivot Vosne Romanee Les Beaux Monts 1er 98 Minty, red/blue fruits, aniseed, hint herbal, vibrant, meaty, limestone and Asian spice. There was a high amount of acid, purple fruits and fine tannins to the dry palate. I thought it was Barbaresco. It was enjoyable but it is looking at its peak now.
Laurent Roumier Clos de Vougeot 2001 Toasty, savoury, undergrowth, mineral/stones, meaty, fungi, a hint of sulphide, seeds and currants. It was dense and curranty with a nice softness. This vineyard is often talked down for various reasons and I can’t help but feel in less impressive company this would have stood up more.
Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche 2001 This is a wine we tasted at Matteo’s on release many, many years ago (we tasted the big three Dujac Grand Cru’s on that night). I remember it was impressive that night and impressive on this tasting too. Smoke/soot, spice, earth, floral, purple fruits, clay almost terracotta like notes. It was silky with tart red fruits, smoke/soot, meaty and a mineral streak. I wrote ‘lovely’ as my last note. It sure was!
Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 2000 This is another wine that has graced our tables numerous times (not always this vintage). Cakey, chocolate, smoke and ironstone, bacon fat and floral. Soft, clean, silky with good finesses. I really enjoyed this wine, not least because I picked it as Hermitage before the options were given!
Reds do tend to dominate your Bring a bottle night
Faiveley Mazis Chambertin 1996 At this time Faiveley was making unashamedly muscular and tannic wines for long-term storage. I tasted the 1995 at one of my Burgundy on Boxing Day rituals. Sadly that did not help me. Mineral, herbal, stoney, hint sappy and crushed ants like. The palate was rich, silky, dense with plums and a herbal note. I love the Faiveley wines, this was one of the best I’ve tasted.
|Hermitage at its best.|
Delas Hermitage 1983 This came from one of the most impressive wine cellars in Australia. Although I’ve never been it sounds like an Aladdin’s cave of wine goodies. Floral, herbal, manure, soot, stones, earth, slate, a hint of B.O. and floral notes. Dense, curranty, smoke, boney, lean and tight despite its age. Yum!
Chateau d’Issan Margaux 2000 Dry, spice, meat, game, baked earth. Very Bordeaux like (which is great when you trying to guess what it is!!!), red currants and floral notes. Dry spicy, spiney, light floral. This wine actually was very reminiscent of Margaux.
Chateau Smith-Haut-Laffite Pessac Leognan 1996 Dry, coffee, tea leaf, undergrowth and wet leaves. The palate was ripe, red and silky maybe even erring towards overripe? Plums and prunes evident too. There was a lean acid spine to balance the ripeness, plenty of oak tannins and it was really long. Looking really good for its age and ready to be drunk.
Chateau Leoville Barton St Julien 1996 A lot of my best Bordeaux experiences have been wines with Barton on the label. This was seriously impressive. Pure, pristine, currants, spice, delicate and chocolate. Fleshy, silky, meaty, firm and driven. This tasted young, extremely young and still had plenty of mid-palate fat. Wow!
|Behold! The line up in all it’s glory…. and Dave’s arm…|
To finish off
Barbeito 20 year old Malvasia was an inspired Port substitute. Full of delicious nutty, coffee, caramel notes. Madeira is a great drink and one every wine lover should get to know.
There was also a glass of Bindi Composition Pinot 2010 which showed beautifully aromatic and fragrant much to my relief as my last tasting experiences it was awfully disappointing. And a glass of Craiglee Shiraz Viognier 2000 while the rest of the crew tucked into a glass of Whiskey.
I’m not sure if you can have too much good wine in one night, but we are certainly pushing the limits to find out!