The Christmas do, with Monika’s delicious canapés and nine mature, dinner party wines.
2002 Dom Ruinart to start with, a brace of fine 1er Cru Chassagnes to follow; four splendid 1990 reds, two ‘left of field’, two classics, all, approaching their quarter century, at their early peak of perfection; and two gratifying 1977 Ports to finish up with.
Whites: 2002 Dom Ruinart is qualitatively right up there with the very best of this great vintage – Roederer Cristal and Dom Perignon - it is a wonderful Blanc de Blancs. The 2008 Chassagne Chenevottes (Philippe Colin) has all the fruit and vitality of the best of this first rate white burgundy vintage, and the 2005 Chassagne Maltroye of Caroline Gagnard is a delight, form another fine white Burgundy year, a (relatively) mature wine without a trace of premature oxidation!
Reds: The 1990 Montus Cuvée Prestige (Madiran), pure tannat and new oak aged, has for two decades been a touchstone for what can be achieved in Madiran and it remains a remarkable wine to taste; likewise, Domaine Tempier’s 1990 Cuvèe Cabassaou (Bandol) is a most distinctive, rare bird: old vines, low yield, almost pure Mourvèdre, very little made and here too the 1990 is a great exemplar. The 1990 Pape Clément and 1990 Pichon Baron both show the impressively rapid results of ambitious new owners taking over underachieving top terroirs, Bernard Magrez in the case of the Pessac-Léognan, Axa and Christian Seely in the case of the Pauillac. Both superb mature clarets.
Ports: 1977 was initially considered to be in the same league as 1963, exceptional that is, but the bulk of the wines have not fulfilled their initial promise and most critics now regard 1970, 1966 and 1963 as distinctly superior. But there is a small handful of wines that live up to that early reputation, amongst which are 1977 Fonseca and 1977 Gould Campbell; the Fonseca no surprise perhaps, but the Gould Campbell, as a ‘second rank’ port, is. Along with 1977 Smith Woodhouse it has regularly outpaced most of its ‘seniors’ in this vintage. And we shall have it from magnum.
2002 Dom Ruinart, Blanc de Blancs
2008 Chass.-Montrachet 1er Cru Chenevottes (Colin)
2005 Chass.-Montr. 1er Cru Maltroye (JN Gagnard)
1990 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige (Madiran)
1990 Domaine Tempier Cuvée Cabassaou (Bandol)
1990 Ch. Pape Clément; Classed Growth Pessac-Léognan
1990 Ch. Pichon Baron; 2nd Growth Pauillac
1977 Gould Campbell (Magnum)
9 wines and Canapés ...... £159