Sometimes, you are in a mood which allows you to find everything fantastic.
I love my youngest daughter and with her future husband, they form a wonderful couple.
They arrived in our house in the South of France, and immediately it was time for champagne Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle. This champagne is very comfortable. You notice immediately that it is formatted to be a very pleasant and understandable champagne.
I opened just after it a Dom Pérignon 1998, and this one is completely different. One notices immediately that the melting of the wines was made with an extremely severe selection : every component is great. This is not designed to be a champagne, but to be remembered for ever, as unique and enigmatic. I found flower rose in this champagne of an extreme elegance. Of course, the 1998 will develop with age, but I find it extremely pleasant for the moment, and corresponding to my taste.
The day after, I invited wife and children by Hotel de Roches in Le Lavandou. This hotel, directly on the sea in a wonderful landscape, having in face of it the islands of Port Cros and of Le Levant, is a smaller copy of the famous Palace Eden Roc. The rooms are directly above the water, and every possible water sport is offered, with some luxury. The customers who stay there have two obligatory accessories : the credit card made in gold or platinum, and the ultra tanned beauty wearing a robe sufficiently sophisticated to show clearly that her sun tan is integral.
Being with my wife and my children, I was concentrated on my family and on the magnificent dinner, but from time to time I could not prevent to let my jaw fall on the table (like some wolf in a cartoon) when one of these incredible super tanned, and super luxurious women crossed the dining room with the apparent pretext of powdering again their lovely nose.
Before ordering anything I ask for a Champagne Dom Pérignon 1996, just to enjoy, and to compare with the 1998 that we had yesterday. I have always adored this Dom, and being once member of a jury analysing all the 1996 champagnes, I had given the first place to Dom 1996. So, I love it.
But my first sip made me sad. This was a serious champagne when the 1998 was a garden of roses. My family saw my face. But I had to wait. When the Dom opened in the glass, it became great. I must say that today I prefer the 1998, but I know that it will change with age for the two of them as they will change but not at the same pace.
While sipping the champagne, I have a look at the wine list.
The team of Matthias Dandine is the team that we know already as they were in the magnificent village “Bormes les Mimosas”. And they have kept their open smiles and gentle welcome. I hope they will keep this attitude as such places are normally taken in charge by condescending people, which I hate, as such places tend to consider that someone having money must be snob. Matthias and I we congratulated each other as we had both the honour of the press. And Matthias knowing that we would come had planned to prepare a meal with a special way of cooking lobster. But my wife said that she does not like lobster. So they had to change their plans. And as my wife does not drink wine, except Yquem, I ordered the lighter Yquem of the list and asked : what could you prepare for Yquem? And they proposed “cigale” (is it cicada of sea ?). This is like a small lobster, but with much more taste. When they said that, we applauded. I suggested some other dishes, and ordered the wines. I was approved by the whole table.
And now, a dinner will begin that I have lived as a fairy tale. The emotion of the event touched everyone. Our table of course, but all the team of the place was under the charm, the sommelier seeing how we enjoyed the wines, and the staff seeing how we appreciated the combinations. This was a pure dream.
The first course will reveal the Dom Pérignon. The marbled foie gras with boletus, with its small raw artichokes and truffles of summer (the translation of my tool is probably comic as they translated raw artichokes first in believed artichokes as in French, “cru” has the two meanings) gave an opportunity to the Dom to be extraordinary. My children liked it with the artichokes as it required the wisdom of the champagne. I loved it with the foie gras, which gave a dimension to the Dom which is extremely rare, a pure warrior. We enjoyed.
What was interesting was that the perfection of the champagne and of the combination went crescendo, our palate understanding more and more the beauty of the different aspects.
Meanwhile, a nearly full moon lighted the sea with silver confetti as in a parade.
The first nose of the Bâtard-Montrachet Domaine Leflaive 2002 kills me. It is an absolute perfection. And in mouth it is of the same calibre. This wine is glorious. I cannot imagine at this moment how a wine, white or red, could give as much pleasure and as much complexity as this one. As everything in the atmosphere brought us to the greatest pleasure, it is obvious that this wine would represent an ultimate form of achievement. We had a dish composed in two parts. And we will try to see how the Batard behaves in both cases. We had a Carpaccio of milk veal. On that the Batard explodes in every aromatic direction. But for me, the optimum for the Batard was the langoustine which fits completely with its white meat to the contained power of the Batard.
Sebastien, the very sympathetic sommelier, seeing two great combinations, was anxious : would the third one be as appreciated as the two first? It was even greater.
The meat of the “cigale de mer”, perfectly cooked with a highly sophisticated preparation designed to match the Sauternes was transcendental. There is a risotto with coconut milk and pineapple fruit, which talks to Yquem 1987 in an incredible way. But the meat, swimming in a juice made of coriander, acid ginger, green spices vegetables and an addition of old cooked liquors is to die for with the Yquem.
At this very moment, nobody could say what is the true value of Yquem 1987 as it is impossible to judge it with impartiality. The Yquem is a player in a theatre play with many actors, and has the main role, as it changes the taste in an incredible way. I have rarely seen a wine playing Fregoli like that, changing its aspect in such a rapid way. The combination was like the recreation garden of Tivoli, where you want to go from an attraction to the other. I was on a little cloud, and even my wife who does not like to drink was under the charm of this ever changing wine.
I have never drunk a Yquem pushed so much above its limits which performed so well. This is the magic of gastronomy.
At the end of the meal, we were exactly like after a match that we would have won. You know that you have made a great performance. You don’t know why, but you are happy.
Old wines are younger than what is generally considered