A lot of unexpected things happened at the end of 2017 all of which were pretty damned good, and one of them was becoming friends with J who lives across the pond. She was in London at the end of December and we were able to meet up a couple of times. We have a shared interest in wine so this was a great opportunity to do a Clash of the Titans (Titans Will Clash) contest between old world and new...
With Get The Party Started playing on my ipod, I lurked around outside the Hawksmoor admiring the Christmas lights on Regent St. Then J showed up and it was game on.
First things first, a negroni to get us in the mood. I've been drinking far too many of these lately, but I'm too lazy to do the thing with the orange, so it was nice to have one made properly by someone else for a change.
We handed our bottles over to the sommelier who seemed impressed even though I say so myself, although there was much checking throughout the evening as to whether these two "ladies" were going to drink both bottles all by themselves... positively shocking!
The sommelier did know his stuff though, as he advised us to begin with my contribution, the Latour 1983. J had never had Chateau Latour so I felt it necessary to introduce her to the civilised world and had spent a couple of months frantically looking at auction lists to find something suitable.
I went through my Latour phase a couple of years ago but that was mainly wines from the 1960s so I was excited about trying the 1983, although G had warned me that it might be relatively light, which it was. But I won't go so far as to describe it as luncheon claret. It had those classic cedar and cigar box things going on, and we also detected cocoa and maybe even leather. I've subsequently been informed that this wine can be found on a Las Vegas wine list for, wait for it, $16,000. Still rolling about laughing about that.
Then it was on to the bottle J had brought over with her, this Insignia 2004 from Joseph Phelps in the Napa Valley. What can I say? This was quite a contrast! It was big, approachable, fruity and generally crowd-pleasing. The terms blowsy and hedonistic sprang to mind, or perhaps opulent is a better way of putting it.
There was no clear winner as this was like comparing apples and pears, but it was fascinating to compare the different styles and both bottles were very enjoyable, as was the company. Thanks J for a fantastic evening!