Saturday, August 10, 2013

Recent drinking round-up

Summer has been flying past and it's beginning to feel slightly autumnal outside, so time for an update. The last entry I wrote on here was just after my birthday, but the celebrations didn't end there! The following Thursday I went up to the top of the Shard with a couple of friends. This was great fun, as was the barbeque pulled-pork bun from Borough Market which we had for lunch afterwards.

View of Borough Market from the Shard
Tower Bridge with Canary Wharf in the background

The next day I took my gang of beancounters from work to the Hawksmoor Seven Dials for dinner. This is a wonderful steak restaurant - they get their steak from the Ginger Pig - with several outposts around London. For some time they've had a £5 corkage offer on Monday evenings, but I recently found out that they do corkage for £25 the rest of the week and an email enquiry revealed that it's the same price for a magnum as for a bottle. It seemed like a good opportunity to drink one of my magnums of Moulin-a-Vent Cuvee Exception 2009 from Benoit Trichard.

It fit perfectly into the magnum-size quilted bottle bag my mother made for me some time ago. In fact, half the office admired the bag more than the wine. But then half the office is teetotal, weirdos.

I wasn't expecting anything from the team in return so was quite taken aback when they proudly produced a wooden box containing a 1973 armagnac from Baron de Lustrac! They proceeded to tell me all about how it had been secretly procured from a certain wine merchant in the SW2 area with much detective work and cloak-and-dagger operations. Obviously we had to crack it there and then so we could all enjoy a glass, and a very classy drop it was too. The problem of how to get the wooden case home was also solved as it too fit perfectly into the magnum bag. That bag is seriously useful!

G and I have been trying to ration ourselves on the armagnac since then, so there's a slight possibility there might be some left to be shared with the aforementioned wine merchant in the near future.

Fortunately, marc de bourgogne stocks are high as G procured two old marcs from a source which I am sworn to secrecy not to reveal. This bottle may appear empty but that's only because the cork fell in so we had to decant the marc into another bottle. They were relatively cheap and cheerful as marc goes, but very enjoyable in the rustic style.

A couple of other bottles of note - this Chablis 1er cru Montmains 2008 from La Maison Romane a.k.a. Oronce de Beler and his horse, Prosper. This came from the Burgundy Portfolio. Magnificent, perfect Chablis. It was a lovely mid-gold colour, with lemon and honey on the nose and quite unctuous on the palate. We thought it was drinking very well now, no need to wait, but that it was better with food. It was rich, stylish and well-balanced, and the finish went on for minutes. It was hard to imagine a better Chablis, and I'm very happy that I have two more bottles.

And this curious find which came from an auction. It's is a Vosne-Romanee 2003 from Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg, a domaine with which I was not familiar but which received quite a good write-up in Coates. I put a cheeky low bid on it and got the case. The first bottle we tried was distinctly on the baked side and very '03. Not unpleasant as such, but not what I had been hoping for. But with the July heatwave we've taken to chilling our reds and G chilled the second bottle. When we drank it, the baked characteristics had vanished to reveal a wine that was tres Vosne. Wonderful!

Finally, a very yellow photo of some cheese. This is my camera playing up, not some deliberate special effect. I made a belated trip to Beillevaire in Montpelier Street last Saturday as I had become addicted (again) to Trou du Crus from Waitrose and wanted some proper, well-kept Epoisses. Sadly, they had sold out - tragedy! - but the lovely assistant pointed me to something called a Soumaintrain which as far as I can tell is basically a giant Epoisses. Who knew this existed? It did the job, lasted all week and I shall be looking out for it next time certain cheese-eating friends come round for lunch.

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