Saturday, May 18, 2013

Quiet Monday night in

On Monday night, D came round for dinner and brought a splendid selection of wines with him. I think this may be the most decadent Monday evening I've ever experienced. Sensitive readers may wish to look away now.

We started with a bottle of Chablis 1er cru Montee de Tonnere 2004 from Raveneau. We shared a bottle of this with ACC a few months ago and I promptly bought the rest. As G hadn't yet turned up, I had to do the honours and chip off the wax seal, while D admired my "sabre" technique. Possible sarcasm there, I think.

I'd put a spare bottle in the fridge in case of any problems but had forgotten that the wax seal is reckoned to have protective properties and all was well. The chablis was on excellent form, crisp and drinking perfectly now. We had it with some organic smoked salmon from Northern Ireland by way of Selfridges food hall, and rye bread from the Nordic Bakery, which was very successful.

Next up, a half bottle of 1983 Chateau d'Yquem provided by D. This was only the second time I've had d'Yquem and it was absolutely stunning with intense Seville orange marmalade characteristics. As with all the best Sauternes, it wasn't too sweet and had good acidity, creating perfect balance. Above all, it was very elegant. I adored the slightly bitter edge on the finish and had fantasies of making some kind of breakfast martini with it (which would be sacrilege, of course). We had it with some duck pate which was an inspired choice on D's part.

Next was this bottle of Latour 1975. How on earth did D know about our sneaky Latour habit? G and I hadn't had this vintage before so it was great to try it. As usual, it looked wonderful, dark and glossy. It was quite dry, savoury and downright delicious, still all there. Apparently 1975 was a light vintage that faded - that was emphatically not the case here, and it was still going strong after 90 minutes. The label claimed that it was 11.5% alcohol - it might say that, I couldn't possibly comment.

Alongside the Latour, we had this 1973 cabernet sauvignon from Martha's Vineyard, which I have to confess I was not familiar with until this evening. As the Bordeaux glasses had been used for the Latour, it had to go in the Burgundy glasses, which failed to disguise the extraordinary cabernet sauvignon characteristics of the wine. I've never come across anything like it. D mentioned eucalyptus and there was also prominent mint and blackcurrant leaf. It would be just the job if you were suffering from a cold. Again, this wine did not seem in the least bit old (of course 40 isn't at all old really) and the finish was sensational.

I took a couple of close-ups of the label since it is such a joy - banging on about Heitz Wine Cellar with the Martha's Vineyard bit hidden away in a corner. It claims to be 13% alcohol, which is probably accurate.

Note that this was bottled in 1977 and had been in D's cellar pretty much ever since. G and I are painfully aware that 1973 was a terrible vintage in Europe so it was a real pleasure to drink something from our year that was so delicious. Enormous thanks to D for sharing all of these with us.

As we'd polished off the d'Yquem already, we had nothing to go with pudding. Disaster! But as luck would have it, I recently acquired some Rieussec 1976 which had just arrived and was in G's flat, so I dashed downstairs to get a bottle. It was the most amazing colour.

We took the rest of the bottle to the SPNS dinner on Tuesday. To be continued...

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