To go in my cellar to choose the wines for Christmas is one of my pleasures. So many bottles try to seduce me to free them. I try to take into consideration bottles which need to be drunk. I did not imagine that I would encounter such a perfection.
On toasts with foie gras, and on pata negra ham, we begin by Chateau Lavile Haut-Brion 1948. The bottle has no label. The capsule indicates clearly the name of the castle, and the cork is clearly of Laville and the figures are hard to read. The 1 and the 9 are clear. The 4 is understandable, and the last figure could be 3 or 8. I choose 8, so 1948. The fill is very high, the colour is of gold, but with the greenness of youth. The smell is of a unique elegance. In mouth, the acidity is controlled, the grape fruit taste is clear. But it is the precision of the wine which is spectacular combined with a great length.
We go to the table as the wine is to be associated with potatoes with a cream of truffle, and slices of an entire truffle. This dish evokes the products of the earth, and the wine makes a great contrast. I have the impression that I am facing the combination of the year, as the match of the potato with the Laville is of an ultimate excitement. A great wine with a great match.
My wife has realised the perfect cook as I ask all the great chefs to do. The hind’s filet has been cooked with nothing except its blood, and the turnip has not been influenced by any other taste. So, it is the global purity. And the Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1943 finds with these pure tastes an occasion to shine at an unapproachable level. I had taken this bottle because of its wonderful label, and also because it was mid-shoulder. When I opened it, a bad taste on vinegar appeared on the cork, but behind, I could see that the wine would perfectly recover. And it was the case. With the hind, the Mouton became a hind. With the turnip, it expressed a lovely salty taste. What struck me is that we had the same precise definition of the wine in all its purity. The length was great too. I did not expect that the wine could be so perfect. And the combination was to die for.
The wine which came then is probably one of the most eccentric of my cellar. There is in Bordeaux a négociant whose name is Lafite & Cie. He is installed in Bordeaux, but he has a subsidiary in Brussels. And in Brussels, he has bottled a wine named “Chateau Yquem”, and not “Chateau d’Yquem”, and the title is “grand vin”, which is strange for Yquem. The capsule is printed with the name Lafite and not Yquem, and the year is hand written : “cru 1921”. Such a naïve presentation indicates me that it is a genuine Yquem 1921, but I will check it by the taste. What is the greatest concern is the level in the bottle, as the cork, completely contracted, did not play its role any more.
My wife has prepared in two separate plates slices of mango, just fried, and slices of grapefruit, just fried too. The wine has a perfect colour. The smell is of citrus fruits and grapefruit, with a clear purity. And in mouth, I am struck by the fact that it is Yquem, truly Yquem, and truly Yquem 1921. It has less caramel aspects, as the dessert completely clear, develops the grapefruit of the Yquem and gives it a length that has no comparison.
It is impossible to rank these three wines as all of them are perfect in their field. What has struck me is the precision of every wine, and that every combination was exactly what was necessary to enlarge the wines.
I have helped these three wines to perform as they would probably never do. The smiles on all our faces indicated that we lived a dinner with three perfect wines.
Old wines are younger than what is generally considered