An amazing dinner at Tetsuya’s last weekend to celebrate a friend’s birthday, I’ll let the tasting notes and the pictures of the wine then food tell the story.
This is a wine that I have always wanted to try (being my birth year) and I was very lucky to get the chance on this night. Golden coloured, with a lazy, meandering bead. Powerful ginger, spice, earth, toffee, creme brulee and cedar aromas on the nose. Incredibly deep flavour and complexity, with fresh acidity sweeping over the palate into a long and memorable finish. Kept improving the longer I left it.
A year and a half ago I had this wine from the same source and it looked a touch awkward (while still being excellent), but tonight it was much improved. Light gold colour with straw highlights, an insanely fine bead – probably the finest I’ve ever seen. Aromas of almond, coffee, black truffles, vanilla and ginger came to the fore as the wine warmed up in the glass. The palate is vibrant, with great acidity laid over complex flavours. Still developing, another 5 years and I think it will be close to maturity.
1990 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Hengst Gewürztraminer Vendange Tardive
Golden coloured, this wine possessed an ever shifting, evolving nose of spices, honey, lychee, pineapple and rose petals. The palate possesses an astonishing balance between weight and refreshment. Rich, complex, deep and softly sweet, but with superb acidity, focus and purity of fruit. None of the oily or warm alcohol characters I often get from this grape and region. Close to the best Alsatian wine I’ve ever had.
1965 Lindemans Bin 3110 Hunter River “Burgundy” (classic release)
This is one of the legends of Hunter Valley and Australian wine. Still deeply purple coloured, fading slightly to red at the rim. The nose is intoxicating and layered with notes of earth, tobacco, liquorice, leather, blackberries and five spice. The palate is so composed and well balanced. Harmony reigns among the various elements right up to the long finish. Very different in style to some other great old Australian wines I’ve tried, but superb in its own right and very representative of the Hunter Valley.
1953 Domaine J. Faiveley Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Saint-Georges
Very lightly coloured. The nose on this wine was one of the most unique I have ever seen, along with cherry, earth and spices there was a beguiling character that I followed for some time, in the end only being able to describe it as akin to tropical fruit! The palate has superb definition and the structure that has allowed it to live to this age is still clearly evident. If there is one shortcoming, it is that the fruit is a touch thin, but otherwise the balance is very good – it seems that those famous Faiveley tannins do eventually integrate (it just takes 55 years! ).
1990 Domaine Leroy Clos de Vougeot
This wine is a strong argument in favour of the excellent reputation of this fine estate. A bold, brooding nose of cherry, strawberry, liquorice, black tea, game and forest floor. There is a richness to the palate, but it is finely textured and exists alongside the structural elegance of the wine rather than pushing the palate around and dominating. Drank well tonight, but will continue to improve over the next 10 years.
1966 Château Palmer (Margaux)
Youthful in colour. A nose that has both primary and secondary characters wound together with raspberry, cedar, tobacco, cinnamon, violets and graphite. The palate is velvet smooth, this is an absolute pleasure to drink. The elements of the palate are resolved in full and work together in harmony. Classic top-shelf Bordeaux.
1975 Château Lafleur (Pomerol)
Corked A few were brave enough to taste this and proclaimed that underneath the taint it was exceptional, but I was not willing to try.
1990 Gaja Barbaresco Sori Tilden (Piedmont)
Deeply coloured. One of the most complex, haunting and evocative noses I have ever had the privilege to experience – there were aromas of blackberry, rose petals, anise, pine, smoke, plum and layers more – with every sniff there was something new uncovered. There is a wonderful intensity to the palate, it is as though all the elements have been magnified but somehow remain in balance with a wave of pure fruit, striking acidity and the finest of tannin. On a night of legendary wines, this wine somehow rose above and was my favourite wine of the evening. I don’t give out 100 point scores often (4 wines so far) … and I’m not going to for this, but I really feel like I could, it is so very tempting.
1982 Penfolds Grange
A nose of blackberry, cedar, liquorice, vanilla, red and black currant. Youthful and very fresh with bold and bursting with flavour, but maintains its balance across the long length of the palate. Drinking beautifully well now. Consistent with the previous bottle I tasted a year prior, one of my favourite Granges.
1990 Lindemans Sesquicentenary Release Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon (magnum)
91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Shiraz. An aroma of tomato leaf dominates the nose, behind it are some notes of raspberry, blackberry and a touch of briar. The texture of the palate is good with elegant primary fruit characters and good balance. Drinking well now but will develop and improve over the next 10 years. Was not shamed among some of the great wines from around the world.
1928 Marc Brédif Vouvray
A dazzling light straw-golden in colour. The aromas were surprisingly fresh – lots of pear, apple, honey, blueberry, ginger, oats and cloves. Amazing acidity and depth still present on the palate. It actually got better after an hour in the glass, taking on extra weight of flavour. This wasn’t showing any signs of falling apart, maybe good bottles will live forever!
1981 Jakob Gerhardt Niersteiner Frauenkirchner Bouvier and Traminer TBA (Austria)
Deeply coloured, almost like a tokay, but with strands of gold. Deep scents of apricot, marmalade, honey and apples. Great depth on the palate, with strong sweetness and a viscous mouth-feel balanced by very good acidity. Great persistence. Drink now.
1968 d’Oliveira Reserva Boal Madeira (Portugal)
Nutty, burnt toast, caramel, banana and a very familiar medicinal aroma from my childhood (possibly amoxicillin). There is a bitterness to the palate and the alcohol stands out. It is very long and intense, but I couldn’t really get into this.
Chestnut Mushroom Soup with Truffle Salt
Italian White Roll and Truffle Butter
Smoked Ocean Trout and Avruga Caviar with Scallop Mousse and Quail Egg
Leek and Crab Custard
Grilled Scampi Wrapped in Pancetta
Scampi in Sea Water and Lemon Scented Olive Oil
Marinated Scampi with White Miso and Passionfruit
Confit of Petuna Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Konbu, Apple, Fennel and Witlof
Antarctic Black Cod with Globe Artichoke and Yuzu Vinaigrette
Roasted Breast of Quail with Soft Polenta and Shiitake Mushrooms
Slow Roasted De-Boned Rack of Lamb with Blue Cheese and White Miso
Grass Fed Angus Beef Fillet with Blewitt and Chestnut Mushrooms
Apple Sorbet with Apple Jelly
Apple Tarte Tartin with Calvados Cream Ice Cream
Chocolate Terrine with Mascarpone and Cognac Anglaise