- 2002 Huët Vouvray Pétillant Brut - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray Pétillant
Rather delicate and understated with fresh citrus, pear and quince fruit accented by mineral and yeasty notes with a gentle but persistent bead. There's just a faint hint of sweetness here, bright acids that keep it quite fresh and it's very nice, though still very youthful and rather undeveloped.
Smoked Marcona Almonds and Olives
- NV Rey Fernando de Castilla Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Fino "Antique" - Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry
A little dark in colour for a fino (apparently this is quite aged, though not to the point of an Amontillado) with savoury, smoky, briny and roasted almond notes framing the fresh lemony fruit. Very nice.
- NV Valdespino Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Fino "Inocente" Macharnudo - Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry
Not the most complex wine, but very pure and elegant with fresh citrus fruit up front that turns very saline and briny on the back end. Despite its alcohol, it feels very light on its feet with wonderful balance and textural finesse.
Winter Citrus, Hearts of Palm, Maché
- 2007 Franz Hirtzberger Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Rotes Tor - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
Beautiful aromatics that keep developing with air; peach and citrus fruits, white pepper and riper floral notes coming together into a lovely fragrance, and superb balance and finesse on the palate. Wish I had more of this.
- 2002 Nikolaihof Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Im Weingebirge - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau
Leaner and a little more austere than the Hirtzberger with remarkably stony/minerally aromatics, leaner fruit on the palate accented by a little GV pepperiness, though not showing the depth and finesse I'd normally expect from Nikolaihof.
Dates, Almonds, Orange, Brioche
- 2004 Carl Schmitt-Wagner Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg Riesling Auslese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Absolutely stunning Riesling. This has it all; layers of youthful, fresh Mosel fruit, slatey minerality, maturing smokiness and petrol notes and higher toned floral and herbal elements that come together seamlessly on the nose and palate. This is classical, traditional Auslese with less sweetness than some modern Kabinett, and there's a sense of sheer lightness and drinkability that makes each glass disappear all too quickly.
- 2002 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Drinking nicely now with the fruit still fresh and youthful but framed by some developing creaminess and savoury elements, but it's hard to really focus on this alongside the Schmitt-Wagner, which was absolutely stunning.
Hedgehog mushrooms, black garlic
- 2007 Philippe Pacalet Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
Yuck. Awkward, slightly vegetal, sour and funky. Gil says it tastes like a bad natural wine experiment - that pretty much nails it. To the dump bucket!
- 2002 Larmandier-Bernier Coteaux Champenois Vertus Rouge Premier Cru - France, Champagne, Ambonnay, Coteaux Champenois
High toned, herbal, slightly stemmy and earthy flavours dominate with rather lean, tart red fruits beneath. It's well balanced but more interesting than actually pleasurable.
Pork Ragu, Riccota, Rosemary
- 2007 Bernard Levet Côte-Rôtie La Chavaroche - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
Fantastic, classic Cote-Rotie aromatics - meaty, peppery, earthy and gamey flavours around a core of incredibly pure red fruits and black olives. There's a remarkable sense of purity to the flavours and a very light, finessed palate presence, though showing plenty of fine grained tannin on the back end. I can't even imagine how good this will be when mature.
- 2009 Edmunds St. John Syrah Wylie - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, El Dorado County
Comes across incredibly youthful, full of primary red and dark fruited flavours accented by some savoury earth and peppery spice. It's still quite tannic and structured, and really needs a lot more time as right now it's really all about potential.
Beef Cheek, Veal Tongue, Chicken Thigh, Cotechino
- 1989 Château Meyney - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
Drinking wonderfully now with the tannins fully resolved, and ripe mature Bordeaux fruit, cedar, graphite, tobacco and a faint hint of Cordier funk coming together on the nose and palate. Great stuff - I liked this a bit more than the Montrose.
- 1988 Château Montrose - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
Not quite as richly fruited or leathery as the Meyney; this comes across a little leaner and more earthy on the palate, but it's also drinking very well with the tannins resolved and seems at peak.
- 1983 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Another stunner of a Riesling. Perfectly mature, so elegant, seamless and polished with the fruit still very fresh and vibrant, and framed by layers of mature smoky, creamy, herbal and minerally elements. There's an amazing sense of lightness here, yet remarkable presence and persistence to the flavours. Absolutely fantastic, and my favourite wine of the night.
- 1983 Von Schubert Maximin Grünhauser Abtsberg Riesling Auslese #190 - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Oxidized. A real shame.
Pecan caramel, cream cheese ice cream
- 1998 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg Sélection de Grains Nobles - France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru AOC
A little too heavy and botrytised for my tastes; dominated by honey, apricot and spicy elements and seems a touch cloying without the acidity I'd like to balance the immense sweetness. Good, but rather disappointing given my expectations.
- 2007 Weingut Karlsmühle Lorenzhöfer Riesling Eiswein - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Fantastic. Lemon candy, nectarines and ripe tropical fruit tinged with honey and high toned spicy notes, with a blazing acid spine beneath that keeps it amazingly vibrant and energetic. A great way to end the night.