Christmas starts earlier this year. My last daughter tells my wife : we would like to have a dinner by you before Christmas. We say OK. This time the menu will not be made after my choice of the wine. I will have to adapt myself to the menu of my wife.
We begin the aperitif with toasts of foie gras with a Chateau Haut-Brion white 1979. The colour has already begun to become ambered. The nose is distinguished. In mouth, the acidity is strong. It’s mainly citrus fruits and lemon. The wine is obviously of a great race, but I feel unsatisfied. The cork was perfect, the level in the bottle was perfect, so it is hard to understand why such a young wine can have an age which is higher than its millesime. I find a similarity between the citrus fruits of this wine and the citrus fruits of the Yquem 2002 drunk some days before. We go in the dining room and we have some scallops with creamy mashed leeks and some roots of chervil. And this helped to let the wine exist. The wine vibrates, and finds a length that it had not before. It is a rather dry and discrete Haut-Brion which will not print much in my memory.
It is not so important as what comes now is of an immense magnitude. On pastas al dente, with instantly cooked foie gras, the Côte Rôtie La Landonne Guigal 1986 is an imperial wine. It is “the” perfect wine. It has everything. The colour is intense and deep, the smell is friendly, and in mouth, it is a pure smile. It is exquisitely velvety, and the foie gras, with its sweetness is a trampoline for the wine. Such a simplicity is a little insulting. How a wine can be so simple and so great? I could drink this wine days and night with no stop. It is incredible that I do not ask myself any question. It is there, to enjoy, to adore, with a length which is impressive.
I had opened the wine only two hours before the dinner and I had decanted it half an hour before going to table. We enjoyed the first drops, and then, I noticed that the wine shut down for a few sips. And then, it climbed at inaccessible heights. On a paper, one would never suggest foie gras with Landonne. But it worked magnificently, as the velvet of the wine and the sweetness of the foie gras combined marvellously.
We had then a creamy blue cheese, and I poured Yquem 1954. The colour is extremely dark, as a strong tea or like burnt sugar. The nose has an expression of pineapple, mango, and grapefruit. In mouth the wine is a little caramelised. The citrus fruits come only when the wine expands. I find the wine a little closed and muddy. The length is not so great. But as Yquem is Yquem, the wine is expressive.
The transformation comes when my wife brings slices of pineapple just fryed, with a mandarine juice. The Yquem gets a length that it had not, and every piece of the wine gets assembled in the most proper way. We sipped it with pleasure in the warm atmosphere of pure familial felicity.
Old wines are younger than what is generally considered