Saturday, October 25, 2014

Dinner at mine, 16th October

The other night, since D was in town, we invited him round for dinner at ours.

We kicked off with my last bottle of this St Aubin 1er cru Les Frionnes 2007 from Latour-Labille, which I've enjoyed very much. It has given us a lot of pleasure with its fresh, lemony flavours, and went very well with the wild smoked salmon I'd got from the 'Fridges.

Then, much excitement as D provided two reds.

Spot the difference!
They were both 1968 cabernet sauvignons from Inglenook in the Napa Valley, but one was the wine from a specific cask while the other was the blended commercial release. Not often you get to do a horizontal like this. They had been lurking in D's cellar for the best part of 40 years, I believe.

The commercial release

The specific cask

Cask H12, to be precise!
Our comparison was only marred by my disgraceful lack of the appropriate glassware, so we had the cask wine out of Riedel Bordeaux glasses but the commercial release had to make do with Burgundy glasses. (Memo to self: must buy more Bordeaux glasses in near future!)

The two wines were surprisingly different. Cask H12 had held up very well and had recognisable cabernet fruit and good structure, while the commercial release had more signs of age - it had a certain raisiny quality which I associate with older wine, but was very enjoyable and I described it as a guilty pleasure. G came up with a good phrase to encapsulate the difference - imagine two sisters of different moral character - H12 was Prudence while the commercial release was Ruby.

Afterwards we moved on to a bottle of Cockburns 1950. I wasn't familiar with this but G had heard it described as an excellent "lady's port" which sounds objectionably sexist at first sight but what it really means is: relatively light, delicate, with finesse rather than power. It was lovely, in fact.

With the port we had a rather fine cheeseboard which came from Beillevaire in Montpelier Street. It appears that this has now become some sort of joint venture with a wine company, Spirited Wines, and has been rebranded as (if memory serves) "Bistrot des Vins" which practically gave me a heart attack the first time I noticed it, but fortunately all is well and it continues to sell the excellent selection of cheese to which I have become accustomed. I'd visited on the previous Sunday and picked up this lot - some Roquefort, a Chablis, some Beaufort and a Montrachet. The Montrachet is a goats cheese made by just one producer which is described here as "200g of pure happiness".

I was particularly delighted with the way the Chablis, which is very similar to Epoisses, oozed across the cheeseboard during the course of the evening.

Oozy 9 mm

Another great evening and many thanks to D for sharing his rare treasures with us.

In other news, tomorrow I'm off to Burgundy for an action-packed week of tastings and meals out. Am very excited and there will be a lot to write about when I get back. A bientôt!

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