1928 Lafite Cork

Another great tasting put on by Greg and Shannon from Rare Wine Dinners earlier in 2013. The undoubted highlight of the night for me was the chance of a second encounter with the 1964 Cheval Blanc, a legendary wine that floored me the first time I tasted it, as well as a 1928 Chateau Lafite (cork pictured above). Tasting notes for the wines are followed by a few quick photos of the food from Restaurant Arras.

  • 2009 Schloss Vaux Steinberg Riesling Brut – Germany, Rheingau
    Powerful nose of lemon, pineapple, white floral notes and slight nutty elements. The palate has a dash of fruit sweetness to it and while there is good acidity to counter, a tiny bit more acid would have lifted this even higher. I thought this was very good regardless and would happily drink it any time. 89/100
  • 1985 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Rosé Rare – France, Champagne
    Another late disgorged bottle. Mocha and earth with some apricot, apple and honey. The palate doesn’t quite have the same brightness as the last bottle which really gave it such great spark but there is good depth and length and this is still very good. 91/100
  • 1988 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Vintage Rare – France, Champagne
    Lemon pith, browned butter, sea spray and pear aromas. Bright acidity that is integrated brilliantly into the rich, rounded fruit. Great length, this lovely Champagne is right near its peak and drinking amazingly well. 93/100
  • 1978 M. Chapoutier Hermitage Blanc Chante-Alouette – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    Amazing lifted orange peel and apricot over the top of butterscotch, some oxidative nutty notes and quince. The palate is a highlight, it is tangy and has some grip to it while having terrific texture. Complex and fully mature, this is great stuff. 93/100
  • 1978 Cantine Conte Zandotti Frascati Superiore – Italy, Latium, Frascati
    Wood, caramel, nutty and marzipan notes – with some time it took on a more sherried character that seemed like it would dominate given sufficient air. The palate has that same aged wooden note, though it was interesting that it had some freshness to it even though all the other characteristics were so aged. Medium length but trailed off very quickly afterwards. An interesting wine that would probably have been better quite some years ago but was worth trying. 87/100
  • 1987 Dr. F. Weins-Prüm Erdener Prälat Riesling Spätlese – Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
    Lemon barley nose with some florals and grapefruit in the background. A touch of bitterness distracts but the sweetness is there to almost cover it up and draw attention elsewhere. With medium length, it isn’t overly complex and I think it should be consumed now based on this bottle. 88/100
  • 1945 Schloss Johannisberg Riesling Rosalack Auslese – Germany, Rheingau
    Wonderfully complex nose – honey and ginger with some toffee, various earthy spices and mandarin. The palate shows off excellent structure and balance still, with impressive powerful fruit and uninterrupted flow. The sweetness is present and gives the wine a delicious quality that had me drinking it much too quickly, the last sip of this was the best with the balance still extremely impressive. 93/100
  • 1964 Schloss Eltz Rauenthaler Rothenberg Riesling Auslese – Germany, Rheingau
    Wheat, apple and graphite with a light touch of spice to it. The palate is balanced though it is perhaps a touch shallow overall and either more intensity or depth would be appreciated. Holding up fairly well, but a 1971 of the same wine earlier this year was probably just a bit better quality wise. 88/100
  • 1947 Hospices de Beaune Beaune Cuvée Estienne – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Beaune
    Smoky barbecue sauce with some undergrowth and a smidge of vegemite. The palate is similar and for me was just a bit too far past its best, though others at the table found much more pleasure and preferred this to the Leroy. (NR/flawed)
  • 1969 Hospices de Beaune Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru Les Duresses Cuvée Boillot Leroy – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru
    Very appealing aromas of strawberry, rose, cherry, tea leaves and a dash of rhubarb. Initially the fruit on the palate is bright and lovely, though it started to drop away with time and the tannin that was hidden became more evident. A pure and pretty wine that was eminently enjoyable. 91/100
  • 1957 Lionel J. Bruck Côte de Beaune Reserve du Jubile – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune
    Black cherry, smoked meat and a whiff of tobacco. The palate has just a light touch of fruit with decent acid that extends the wine into a medium length finish. A pleasant wine with some interest to it. 88/100
  • 1964 M. Chapoutier Hermitage – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    A pretty and perfumed nose of violet, raspberry and cinnamon plus a bit of briar, smoke and intense licorice. The palate is both complex and enticing, it is helped along by nearly resolved tannins that give the wine much needed structure and balance for the amazingly pure red fruit flavor. Held well in the glass for half an hour then seemed to start fading. 93/100
  • 1979 M. Chapoutier Côtes du Rhône Belleruche – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
    The nose has some appeal with earth, cherry and smoke. The palate however was short, with tannin and acid dominating over faint traces of fruit. Others liked this more but I couldn’t see it. (NR/flawed)
  • 1928 Château Lafite Rothschild – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Promising scents of graphite, undergrowth, cassis and earth. More youthful that could be anticipated on the palate, this wine has beautiful finesse and it is incredibly precise with a framework of fine tannin providing impressive structure for the age. The palate actually started to fill out a little with time in the glass, though it never quite got to the level of impact that one might expect from a typical Lafite. The length is very good and while it is not as complex as one might hope for (a result of the pasteurisation?), it was still a privilege to try. 93/100
  • 1964 Château Cheval Blanc – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    This is a wine that I have overly fond memories of, in 2007 I gave it 100 points after I was left completely mesmerised. It was with some trepidation that I approached this, given the expectations and potential to not live up to that incredible last bottle.

    The initial impressions were promising, the beguiling aromas brought back strong memories of the last bottle – cherry, cedar, licorice, raspberry and after some swirling and patience it took on more earthy and truffle characters. If the nose wasn’t enough to convince me the palate certainly was, with exceptional class on display. The balance is stunning with plush, powerful and remarkably youthful fruit, in harmony with superb structure through impeccably fine tannin and acidity. This is a legendary wine and to have tried it twice is humbling. My clear favourite on the night, a great distance out in front of some other special and rare wines. 98/100

  • 1959 Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux Le Haut-Lieu – France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray
    Heady intoxicating notes of beeswax, pear, ginger, apricot, pineapple and marzipan. The palate has plenty of rich honeyed fruit up front with the fine acidity providing a perfect foil. Has very impressive length and carry, with good complexity there already but still the potential to develop further. Awesome. 94/100
  • 1969 Schlossgut Diel Dorsheimer Goldloch Riesling Edelbeerenauslese Cabinet – Germany, Nahe
    Marmalade, pineapple, pear and some slate. Really quite lovely balance with pure sweet fruit and plenty of restraint rather than outright power. Great length and a very tasty wine, though it feels a tad superficial. Some more time in the bottle wouldn’t hurt and perhaps the complexity will continue to develop. 93/100

Mackerel, oatmeal and strawberry dressing

Red Pepper Cannelloni “Paella Style”

“The Raw and The Cooked”

Roast Scallops, artichokes, rosemary and nettles

Salmon, Lime and Tonka bean

Roast Skate, Parsnip, Vadouvan and Raisin

Duck, Apples and Cabbages

Lancashire Hotpot by a Yorkshireman

Venison, Pine Smoked Octopus, Lentils and Cocoa Nib

“Still Raw and Still Cooked”

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