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Wine group at J. M.'s 20/01/2004 TNB

Off again with six glasses to save the host washing up for an evening where we usually serve small flights blind with food. After a rather dull sparkling Saumur and a decent Cremant de Bourgogne from Jonnier, we were given a flight of four red Burgundies - all very drinkable, pleasant wines that had an air of being from one of the less famous villages. They turned out all to be Santenays which was a bit of a surprise given the village's reputation for tough, earthy wines. The best was probably the Beaurepaire 2000 from Vincent - a controversial young grower using quite a lot of new oak but turning out some good wines.

In a successful departure from vinous orthodoxy we went from reds to whites: our host gave us two glasses of very fine Meursault that nobody spotted the vintage of - they were both from 1982!  The star was the village wine from Coche-Dury that was quite exquisite - roasted hazelnuts, very fine, filigree wine -  it managed for me at least to outshine the more extrovert but also gorgeous Goutte d'Or from Comte Lafon.

I hope you don't imagine the notes at Fine Wine Diary were generated in a controlled scientific environment, more often it's a quick scribble on the Palmtop amid convivial banter, but James told us fairly firmly that we were to concentrate on the flight of three Clarets that followed - so might you if you had just served your guests Pichon Lalande 1986, Haut Brion 1986 and Leoville Las Cases 1975. The Pichon was beautifully scented (I guessed it was a Margaux), refined Claret, more or less ready to drink. I still think of 1986 as a keeping vintage on the whole but this and a couple of other experiences recently suggest some wines are evolving a little quicker than I thought and are starting to drink well. Haut Brion 1986 on the other hand does still need time. It is a large-framed, backward wine with great smoky depths and impressive length. I rated it ****(*) and can't understand why Broadbent seems so suspicious of it. The Las Cases had almost baked fruits, considerable concentration and some of the assertive tannins of the vintage. Very good, but not really singing - maybe it just needs a few more years but I am not sure.

To finish, Rieussec 1990 though good was a bit blowsy for me (as this property so often is). Lustau's Moscatel Las Cruces had an initially engaging burnt treacle nose but the palate was rather short.

added to Fine Wine Diary 20/01/2004   Return to top