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Dinner At Matteo’s 02/04/12

A memorable night for two reasons – some truly amazing wines, and the fact that two people pulled out last minute so there was a lot more wine than we needed. The plus side was there was no real disappointments, the downside was it was hard to decide what not to drink.

We started of course with Champagne and then did a horizontal of German Rieslings from 2007, five Hermitage, an option wine and Port.

Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve NV BCS is always a lovely drink, zesty, mid-weight and with a spicy oystershell note. Clean enough to make you down the first glass before you know what has happened.

Donnhoff, JJ Prum and Dr Burklin Wolf lots to enjoy here.
Three excellent Riesling producers

Donnhoff Tonschiefer Riesling Trocken Nahe 2007 White peach, floral, candied lime, chalky, dense nose and very tropical. The palate is silky, showing mango flesh, tropical fruits, spice and quite zingy acid. Long finishing and unbelieveably enjoyable.

Dr Burklin Wolf Wachenheimer Altenberg Riesling Trocken Pfalz 2007 I would venture that the cork or storage had let this wine down just a little. It was dirty, kerosene, spice and a sulphur like note. It was developed beyond the other two whites.
The palate was full and powerful, chalky and quite balanced but a hint simple. I’ve had quite a few of these producers wines and this is not the norm. Shame.

Joh Jos Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese Mosel 2007 Obviously a different beast because it is quite sweet compared to the two dry wines. It definitely showed too. Floral, vibrant, peaches, grapes and pepper. The vibrancy follows through into the mouth along with the floral notes, citrus and flint. The mouthfeel is lush and silky, it is incredibly long lasting and really well balanced – it does not finish sweet.
This is just a baby and certainly showed the most potential to improve.

Four of the biggest and brightest names of the Northern Rhone.
These were the Fantastic five Hermitage. (Please excuse the dodgy stitch).

Guigal Hermitage 1999 Guigal always offer good drinking and this wine really set the tone for the bracket. Smoke, iodine, limestone, green olives, toast, spice, pepper, meaty, oak.
Sweet red fruits reminiscent of wine gums, olives, liquorice, spices, hint burnt, hint toffee, very long, vibrant, generous.

Jaboulet La Chapelle Hermitage 1999 Darker and more backwards than Guigal, brooding, oxidised dark berries, pepper, hint of brett? and herbal notes.
The palate was floral, blue and black fruited, silky and lush, tangy acid, meaty, chocolate with nice fine elegant tannins, just a hint of portiness. Very, very long.

Delas Feres Hermitage 1997 Grassy almost gruyere like, herbal, red fruits, floral, almost Burgundian and a hint meaty.
Palate is dry, astringent with a floral and tropical fruit sort of finish. Savoury minerals, smoke, spice, tea leaf, mouth filling and great length.

Jaboulet La Chapelle Hermitage 1997 Again, this wine was oxidised or poorly stored. It showed coffee, choco and a strong sherry/port/madeira character. It showed impeccable pedigree though.
Gritty tannins, dry and bitter and a hint rubbery. There was some silk to balance it out and porty and clove notes. I’m positive there are better bottles out there and I suspect they will be brilliant.

JL Chave Hermitage 1997 Smoke, spice, dense, raw oak – sappy, stoney, soot, iodine, brown spice, liquorice. The nose on this wine was amazing. It was a clear step up in quality (which is saying something!).
The palate was savoury, silky, elegant, fresh, fine characters of smoke, chocolate, oak, dry spice, dry earth, tea and a hint tropical/pineapple.
This wine was really, really good.

I was happy to pick this guy. Very good wine too.
Given to us blind, it is one of the few mystery wines I’ve picked 100% correctly – it is harder than it sounds.

Option Wine
Chapoutier Cote Rotie 1997 The worst question in wine options? Burgundy, Bordeaux, or Rhone. You think they would be so easy. But with age, there is a lot of crossover between characters. Thankfully this wine smelt similar enough for me to place it in the Rhone but the tannins were sufficiently different for me to put it out of Hermitage. Stunning wine.
Smokey, sausages, gruyere, red fruis, tea leaf.
Full palate with a spine of tannins, chocolate, smokey and meaty, peaty with a hint of cheese. Quite savoury.

Single Quinta VPs can often be great value and great drinking.
Some of the best VPs I’ve had were Single Quinta rather than the ‘big show’.

Cockburns Quinta Dos Canais Vintage Port 2008 Young port is always a mouthful and can be hard to see the quality. The wine was dense, elegant and balanced with a hint of orange rind and a strong impression that it wants to be left alone for another 10-15 years.