I don’t think I will ever meet as generous a group of people as those that I have met through my brief love of wine. This was the third and last of these dinners (first, second) for 2006 where each person brings something special to the best of their ability. Some amazing wines were brought to Claude’s restaurant in Woollahra and it was a wonderful night among friends.
Rillettes of hare and sterling caviar
Smoked salmon consommé
1992 Moet et Chandon Cuvee Dom Perignon Rose
Was pale pink salmon in colour with a nose that gives off complex aromas of mushroom, earth, game and fresh strawberry and cherry. Had an elegant, delicate palate with a touch of fruit sweetness broadening out the mouthfeel and leading into a lingering finish. This was a most promising start to proceedings.
1980 Krug Clos du Mesnil Brut Blanc de Blancs
A brilliant sun gold in colour. Deep and rich notes of apricot, floral scents, mango, marzipan and a touch of almond draw you into the aged yet still fresh nose. If the nose somehow did not do it, then the very first taste leaves no doubt that this is something special. The palate exhibits flawless balance, striking purity and depth of flavour. Beautiful focus and carry into a wondrously long, clean, breathtaking finish. A truly exceptional, wonderful experience that has left an indelible impression on me.
Chicken galantine with foie gras
1967 Chateau d’Yquem
A deep caramel colour. A bursting nose that really grabs hold of you with its intensity and layers of aroma – caramel, molasses, marmalade, cedar, marzipan, acetone and roasted nuts. The power and depth of the unctuous palate is truly astounding, with waves and waves of complex flavours. Nigh on perfect balance with a clean, lingering finish that left me looking forward to each and every sip. Superb.
1975 Chateau d’Yquem
Glowing amber-gold colour. Initially the nose is subdued and then suddenly it begins to unfold and reveal the most captivating, amazing aromas of apple, pear, musky perfume, peach, apricot, honey, pineapple, citrus peel and rose petals – it seemed as though every with every sniff another entrancing layer of aroma was revealed. I take a sip and I’m glad that I’m sitting down as I am almost overwhelmed by its brilliance. The palate is scintillating – for a wine to display such power and elegance simultaneously seems almost impossible. Utterly flawless balance. Twinkles across the palate into an endless finish.
Completely memorising and moving. Three weeks after tasting it, I am still rendered speechless and almost breathless every time I think about it. Perfect.
1988 Domaine Ramonet Batard-Montrachet
A slightly lighter colour than the 1998. Opens with a nose of intense sesame prawn toast and rubber. With time, the rubber dissipated somewhat although the sesame remained along with gunflint, smoke and grapefruit. A toasty palate with good structure initially thanks to a strong core of acid that carries a bit too strongly into the slightly short finish.
1998 Domaine Ramonet Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet
The nose is cheesy and reminiscent of lightly buttered toast, there were also some pear, lemon and apple undertones coming through. Very delicately flavoured on the palate with the high acid providing backbone. Needs to be given some time to develop the depth that is lacking at the moment.
2002 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Corton-Charlemagne
A delightfully restrained but layered nose of lemon, sea spray, oyster shells, grapefruit and nougat. Outstanding concentration of flavour, with the power focused into a tightly coiled, acid driven, balanced line across the palate and into an excellent length finish. I loved it and I think it is sure to get better with time.
Aylesbury duck with sauce from the press
1985 Domain Georges Mugneret Nuits-St.-Georges Les Chaignots
1985 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache
A deeply perfumed, musky aroma of violets and roses that became even more pronounced while being left to sit in the glass, as well as fallen leaves (that enjoyable scent of autumn decay), earth, mushroom and subtle spice. The palate is long and delicate, lacking only enough fruit to entirely balance the acid profile.
1988 Domaine Jean Grivot Richebourg
Strong aromas of freshly ground coffee beans with some rhubarb, delicate spices and underlying sweet red fruits – after 20 minutes some complex earth and smoked meat aromas emerge. A long, balanced palate with a lovely, defining texture to it. There is tannin present, contributing to the structure but not getting in the way of balance or the focus across the line of the wine. Very good, although near to its peak and lacking the complexity to be brilliant.
Spring lamb, asparagus with madeira jus
1975 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild
Dominant cedar on the nose with some background aromas of coffee, blackberry and cinnamon. Well balanced on the softly elegant palate, including the tannins which serve to enhance the structure and mouthfeel. Lacks complexity and depth, but enjoyable to drink none the less.
1975 Domaine Cheval Blanc
The nose is comprised of black cherry kirsch, cedar, earth and olive tapenade. The palate is austere, dominated by oak and tannins and there is no depth of fruit or flavour. This bottle has crossed its zenith and was headed downward.
1981 Chateau Margaux
A swirling, perfumed, floral nose of cedar, tobacco, cherry, plums and raspberry. The medium-bodied palate is highly skilled in the art of seduction and all the components seem well integrated and balanced. With good length and nice depth, this is extremely enjoyable drinking at the peak of this wines life.
There may be some hope for me in my search for great wines from 1981 yet!
1982 Chateau Cos d’Estournel
Nose of dense, wet earth as well as spice, tobacco and undertones of complex dried meats. An intense and youthful palate with fine tannins standing out currently. The length of the palate is excellent as well as having impressive structural quality. The slightly aggressive palate means that this isn’t drinking as well now as the Margaux right now but its superior structure will allow it to develop layers of complexity and to be better with 5-8 years of additional age, if this bottle is anything to go by.
1985 Chateau Leoville Las-Cases
Graphite and cedar lead the nose but some rather green capsicum and stalky characters are hard to get past. The palate is soft and simple, lacking depth and interest. Prominent acid on the back palate leaves the finish short and ultimately unsatisfying. Much better bottles have been had by others attending the dinner in the past.
Fillet of grass-fed Wagyu beef with green vegetables
1987 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Mouline
Intense smoky meat on the nose along with freshly brewed coffee and pepper. On the palate the fruit has faded and it is drying out . This bottle was looking quite tired and certainly tasting as though it had seen much better days.
1994 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Mouline
Incredible, intense floral and violet aromatics are the centrepiece of a brilliant, layered nose that also shows five spice, white pepper, cherry and bacon fat. Completely seductive and elegant on the palate – lush and velvet-textured with incredible depth and complexity of flavour, while maintaining excellent structure, balance and stunning length. Brilliant, glorious and certainly my favourite red wine tonight.
1992 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon
Some confronting aromas of dried and smoked meat, leather, barnyard, mushrooms and bramble. Savoury and softly bodied with alright balance and length, but seems to lack depth and much of interest on the palate. I didn’t find the bretty aromas on the nose especially offensive, but if such things are not to your liking then I don’t think this would be the wine for you.
Avocado blancmange with coconut
Vanilla & strawberry soufflé
1977 Taylors Vintage Port