Respect your elders
Before I get going, I should just say that the title of this article has nothing to do with the age of my fabulous hosts for the weekend… Honestly Richard & Max!
I think we’re so lucky these days in terms of the wine options available to us UK consumers. Whether its from the independent wine merchants, specialist booze retailers or supermarkets, we’ve never had it so good… But I do have one gripe. Age.
Of all of the wine available to us today, how much of it is at its best for drinking? I get frustrated when I look on supermarket shelves and I’m faced with a wall of Chateuneuf du Pape… From the 2011 vintage. All wine retailers should be helping the consumer drink wine at its best.
And then there’s wine investment. Wine is not a precious metal or a sparkling jewel; it is made to be drunk. So much of the wine that is ready to drink today is sitting in someone’s cellar gathering dust. I was talking to a retailer in Beaune last year who said that all that he was able to buy was 3 years old maximum. And it made him sad. It also makes me sad. We’re missing out!
Anyway, rant over. After reading my Richebourg experience at a Roberson tasting pre-Xmas, Richard decided to buy a couple of bottles. Like me he’s a wine freak so we went to Nickolls & Perks in Stourbridge to fish out a couple of other interesting and older bottles. Their cellar is treasure trove for any Bordeaux or Burgundy lover and I can’t believe I didn’t get a photo of me clutching a bottle of 1983 La Tache! Obviously that was slightly out of my league but we did pool our resources and walked away with three more bottles of older vintage to enjoy throughout the afternoon and with the superb dinner, lovingly and brilliantly cooked by Maxine.
Domaine Thomas Moillard Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru 1993 (Nickolls & Perks £52.00)
Gentle soft fruits, wild strawberries and sweet red cherry, earth and mineral, with a touch of meaty anise. Still lots of grip and lots of structure from the fine tannins. The fruit took a while come through then after 20 mins or so really opened up. Great length with lots of fruit, followed by pebbly stones and a bit of meaty/anise goodness. A very pretty wine. 92 points
Domaine Blain Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Caillerets 1990 (Nickolls & Perks £120.00)
Richard has never been a white wine fan… Until now. Golden, honeyed colour… I couldn’t wait to smell and taste it. The smell is the essence of hot buttered toast. It’s nutty, its brioche, its amazing. ‘Where’s the fruit?’ I hear you ask: well, the peach and even a bit of baked apple hits your palate. But it’s the honey, nuts and toast that takes your breath away. And it just goes on and on and on. It’s amazingly fresh and the acid backbone is beautifully balanced. This wines makes you close your eyes and say thank you. 95 points
AF Gros Richebourg Grand Cru 1995 (Roberson £190.00)
This was the main event, which me and Max thought was fabulous… But Richard didn’t enjoy it at all! Elegant, beautiful, balanced and just plain gorgeous. Red fruit – raspberry, strawberry, cherry with earthy and mushrooms/truffle, then leather… and this is just the aromas. Amazingly fresh and lively acid, this is racy, sexy and seductive – everything I want from Pinot. The layers of flavours here are remarkable and seem to change with every mouthful. And each mouthful lasts for ever. Simply stunning. 96 points
E Guigal Hermitage 1985 (Nickolls & Perks £52.60)
These grapes may well have been picked on my 10th birthday! This was my first real experience of an old Rhone red and it was very interesting indeed. We decanted the bottle about 3 hours before drinking and kept going back to check the nose. What a brazen hussy! So much sweet red fruit and just a hint if white pepper and leather. What struck me most about this wine was how mellow it had become. If I’d drunk this blind I would definitely have placed it in the Cotes de Nuits. Still lots of red fruit and freshness but also hints of pepper, violets and thyme. Maybe past its absolute peak but she’s kept on to her looks! 90 points