Five years ago our group had the opportunity to buy a bottle of 1993 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux with excellent provenance from a local source, we split the bottle 8 ways and have been waiting for an appropriate time to open it since. Earlier this year we decided that 20 years from vintage was as good a time as any and a dinner was planned with plenty of advance notice at Tetsuya’s in Sydney.
I’ve never actually seen another bottle of Jayer Cros Parantoux in real life, let alone had the chance to drink one – so all week leading up to this dinner my nerves and anticipation were rapidly building. I couldn’t see ever having another chance to drink one of these so if this bottle wasn’t up to scratch it would be heartbreaking.
Everyone in attendance brought along another bottle and as usual the generosity was beyond belief. This is a great group of friends and I’m really lucky to know them.
A quick note on Tetsuya’s before the wines, this was the first time in a couple of years that I had been back. I’ve always had good experiences there and expected it to be good but there were a number of people in the group that weren’t especially keen on going (either because of a less than thrilling experience or because of reports they had heard), but I believe even the sceptics came away surprised and very happy – one said that it was the best food he’d had there across numerous visits in the last 8 years. I too thought it was brilliant and would happily return again. Only slight issue for some was that the corkage is hitting record levels, but I’d much rather the option than them saying no – plus we were very well looked after personally by the wine director with no problems during the night, so I think it was worth it. Food photos follow the tasting notes.
- 1982 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne – France, Champagne
Deep gold in colour. The nose is very much in that heavily aged champagne style and personally I loved it – lots of apple cider, orange rind and chestnuts.. The palate is so much brighter, with acidity and real drive to it – it’s really surprising after the nose but its a great contrast and works well. Consistent with another bottle 4 years ago. 93/100
- 1999 Pol Roger Champagne Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill Brut – France, Champagne
Very bright nose – green apple, pear, sea spray and light brioche. Beautifully fresh palate, it has superior balance and great length. It’s still very primary and it will benefit quite a bit from some time in the bottle but it is still tasty now. 92/100
- 2004 François Raveneau Chablis Grand Cru Valmur – France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru
Lemon, white florals and flint on the nose. Wonderfully intense palate, with flavor that just builds and builds but there is a saline minerality that persists along the length of the wine and provides drive and verve. Very youthful still, but excellent nonetheless. 93/100
- 2006 Remoissenet Père et Fils Montrachet – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru
This is probably the best wine I’ve had from this estate. Tight initially, it unwound slightly to show lemon, straw and light mint along with a noticeable but not overly intrusive oak component. Powerfully rich fruit on the palate, there is some tense acidity that keeps things in balance. This defies the general vintage reputation as it is powerful and mouth filling but has precision to it as well. Coming back to the wine many hours later toward the end of the night, it had barely budged, so I think giving it some time to mature would be a viable and good idea. 94/100
- 1993 Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Cros Parantoux – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
The cork was pulled at the start of the dinner (and while it wasn’t in perfect condition, it did look appropriately aged and marked) but was only decanted just before pouring it into the glasses, a number of hours later.
My first impression from the aromas was outright relief, that it was not corked or in poor condition! The nose was amazingly complex and burst out of the glass with Vosne five spice, black cherry, smoke and lots of meat/game character. The palate was stunningly textured with very fine tannin providing the structure. It was both powerful and poised, with unbelievable length and impressive depth to the fruit. Complex and harmonious, this lived up to, and probably even exceeded my expectations for it. I had this in the glass for a number of hours and it became more and more earthy, then finally started to retreat aromatically after about 4 hours when I took my last sip. At 20 years of age it was in a good spot where it still had primary elements but they were phasing into more complex aged characters. A magnificent wine and I’m glad that I got to drink it with such good friends. 96/100
- 2007 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Chambertin-Clos de Bèze – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru
Spice, black cherry, rhubarb and graphite aromas – with time it starts to lift and shows extremely pleasant florals. The palate is on the restrained side of medium-bodied but it has purpose and good flow to it. Kept getting better with time and I think this will be a great medium term prospect. On almost any other night this would have been the star but it had two unbelievable wines either side of it. 93/100
- 2006 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Echezeaux – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Echezeaux Grand Cru
Served blind. Incredibly perfumed and pretty floral notes then spice, musk, cherry and a just a smidge of earth. On the palate it is so relaxed, composed and classy, especially next to the very tense/taut 2009. Very long, with considerable depth to it. I was surprised when this was revealed, but maybe I shouldn’t have been as I think it might be impossible to go wrong with DRC in 2006. 94/100
- 2009 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Echezeaux – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Echezeaux Grand Cru
Also served blind. There is less intensity to the florals compared to the 2006 next to it, but they are still there as well as tobacco, black cherry and some strong stemmy elements. Very tense and taut on the palate, it isn’t as immediately appealing but it has clear class and very good structure through the oak and excellent acidity. Above all, I think this needs some serious time to unwind and show what it is capable of. 93/100
- 1989 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
Smoky and meaty aromas with black cherry and dark florals. The palate is right up my alley, it is wonderfully savoury with an overlay of powerful and expressive fruit with super texture. Right in the slot for drinking, but obviously still plenty of time left. Fantastic. 94/100
- 1995 Château Haut-Brion – France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
This wine caused quite a silence around the room when it was poured, I think many people, including me, were slightly entranced by just how good it was. Kirsch and graphite with plenty of spice and earth. The palate is a study in how a wine of this power can still feel refined, especially with balance this close to perfect. The depth is stunning. For me, it is now at a point where it is ready to drink, but it will be a fair few more years until it peaks. 95/100
- 1996 Harlan Estate – USA, California, Napa Valley
Graphite and tobacco with lots of blackberry and cassis. The palate is opulent and powerful but there is an impressive mineral streak to it that provides freshness and a sense of balance. Dense and layered, this is very very persistent length-wise. 95/100
- 2003 Chris Ringland Shiraz – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Range
Dark chocolate, cinnamon, tobacco and blackberry aromas. Huge power on the palate from the fruit, but there is more to this wine than just intensity, spend some time with it and you find layers and I think it has a certain class to it. For me this is a touch behind the 1999 and the unreal 1990, but it is still a great wine in it’s own right that will benefit from more time in bottle. 93/100
- 2005 Schloss Lieser Niederberg Helden Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel – Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
From 750ml. Apple, pineapple, ginger, spice and honey aromas – quite intoxicating! It has fairly intense sweetness but the balance overall is excellent with a wave of acid coursing across the palate. A little bit in-between youthful exuberance and the complexities that come with more age, but still delicious. 92/100
- 2007 Château Climens – France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac
From 750ml. Intense botrytis driven nose of pineapple, pear, honey and vanilla. The outright minerality of the palate is quite brilliant, both taming and extending the intense sweetness through its precision. Extremely appealing and with some more age it should be a real delight. 93/100
Pacific Oysters With Ginger & Rice Wine Vinegar
Salad Of The Sea
Marinated Scampi With Walnut Oil & Egg
Confit Of Petuna Ocean Trout With Apple & Endive
Unpasteurised Ocean Trout Caviar
Snapper With Soy Butter & Nameko Mushrooms
Roast Breast Of Duck With Eggplant & Corn
Tea Smoked Quail Breast With Parsnip & Calamari
Slow Braised Beef Short Rib With Pickled Mushrooms
Apple Granita With Mint Ice Cream & Basil Jelly
Chocolate & Hazelnut Marquise With Cognac Ice Cream
Sounds like a fantastic evening. A great article – not only are the photographs excellent but your tasting notes are spot on. What I wouldn’t give to drink such a selection! Fortunately your notes took me a long way to imagining doing just that. Thank you.