14 December @ 6:45 pm - 8:45 pm£149
2002 Bollinger La Grande Année Disgorged April 2012 in Magnum
2002 Bollinger RD Disgorged June 2016
2014 St Aubin 1er Cru Chatenière (Olivier Leflaive) in Magnum
2005 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets (Jean-Noël Gagnard) in Magnum
2012 Mercurey 1er Cru Clos des Montaigu (Patrick Guillot)
2002 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru La Combe d’Orveaux (Bruno Clavelier)
2014 Turkey Flat Barossa Shiraz; South Australia
1998 Esk Valley Terraces; Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
1966 Taylor’s Very Old Single Harvest Port, bottled 2016
9 Wines with canapés………. £149.00
The Christmas do, with Monika’s delicious canapés. And an exceptional range of dinner party wines this year, including several real rarities. To start with an opportunity to compare two different expressions of Bollinger’s superb 2002 Champagne, and to finish a quite magnificent port, one of the finest I have had for a long time. In between are three toothsome pairs: youthful and fully mature (a rarity these days) 1er Cru white Burgundy, followed by a similar quality-comparison pair of 1er Cru red Burgundies; then a very rewarding New World red pair – one of the most impressive Barossa Shiraz I have tasted recently, delicious even at a bare four years of age, and a great, fully mature New Zealand icon, approaching its twentieth birthday.
2002 Bollinger 2002 is a first rate Champagne year, and the 2002 Bollinger is a great Champagne in its own right. Many of you will know it. The RD (Recently Disgorged) was an idea of Madame Lily Bollinger’s which she introduced first in 1961, with the 1952 vintage. Extra ageing on the yeast lees (over four years more in the case of this comparison) makes for a Champagne of a slightly different character, in particular an extra overall freshness, greater subtlety of both bouquet and texture, and often a slightly drier impression from a lower sugar dosage. This is the case especially if it is drunk within a year or two of its release. Opinions vary as to whether it is ‘best’ earlier on (the initial idea), or after many more years of bottle age, with the extra tertiary characteristics that confers. A nice choice to have, should you have the stock!
White Burgundy With the rising cost of much fine white Burgundy, many of its less famous names are becoming an increasingly attractive hunting ground. St Aubin is a good case in point. Olivier Leflaive has been making an ever finer range of white Burgundy of late, 2014 is a first rate vintage, and his 1er Cru Chatenière is just delicious. As many of you will know, Caroline Gagnard’s wines are a long standing favourite of mine. The 2005 Chassagne 1er Cru Caillerets has always been splendid in maturity, especially from magnum, and we have never had a premoxed bottle. Fingers crossed, then!
Red Burgundy lovers are also seeking value beyond the well known communes, and there is a great deal of pinot pleasure to be had from good Mercurey, the best of the Côte Chalonnaise reds. Guillot’s 2012 1er Cru Clos des Montaigu, one of the top red vineyards, is a lovely, satisfying example. 1er Cru, of course, has different meanings in different locations, and Bruno Clavelier’s Chambolle 1er Cru La Combe d’Orveaux is in quite another league. Just above Clos Vougeot, and abutting Grand Cru Les Petits Musigny, it is top 1er Cru quality, Bruno himself feeling it could have / should have qualified as a Grand Cru! When last tasted this was gorgeous.
Australia and New Zealand. Turkey Flat is relatively young as a winery (1990), but some of its Shiraz vines are amongst the oldest in Australia (1847). The 2014 Turkey Flat Shiraz has all the richness you expect from Barossa, but it is a beautifully balanced wine of remarkable length, elegance and grace. If you haven’t tried it yet, it is well worth getting to know. Esk Valley’s The Terraces fully deserves its reputation as a New Zealand icon. A bare 300 cases, made only in fine vintages. It was first made by Gordon Russell in 1991, and its best years perform at a similar level to a top 2nd Growth claret. 1998 was a great vintage in Hawkes Bay, and this Malbec / Merlot / Cabernet Franc wine, in full early maturity, is something very special indeed.
Taylor’s 1966 Single Harvest Port If I were ever to shortlist my ‘Wines of the Year’ (I don’t) this would certainly be high up on the 2017 nameboard. Single harvest tawnies (colheitas) are wines from a single year, typically aged for decades in cask, and this is the third fifty year old released by Taylor’s (1964 being the first). it is a silky textured wine of great aromatic complexity, an exquisite combination of sweetness, subtlety, delicacy and intensity, and with magnificent length. Simply put – a quite wonderful wine.
Retail prices range from around £30 to £180 a bottle.