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The Wine Group's New Year bash 28/12/2005 (TNB)

We had as ususal some nice stuff at the Xmas dinner, and there were some interesting wines. It was impossible not to compare the Bollinger 1982 drunk as an aperetif with the Veuve Cliquot 1976 which we ended with. The former very meaty, with amazing mushroom aromas but quite heavy, as Bollinger can be and quite evolved. The latter graceful, yeasty, amazingly young-seeming. A fantastic wine in a vintage with a reputation for heaviness. I preferred the Bolly I think for that mushroom character, others preferred the more classical elegance of the Widow.

The other great high was a pair of La Mission Haut Brions. The 1979 an amazing wine in what for most properties is a fading vintage - all minerals and tobacco: classic Claret at its very best. The 1989 is a monster, sleeping as yet but still showing bags of class. It will probably eclipse the 79 in tine and what a drink that will be. I'm beginning to develop an interest in Claret again, enthused by things like recent bottles of Haut Bailly, the Montrose dinner and these two wines.

Our Port was Taylors 1963, which was in a bizarre brown bottle sealed with a plastic cap - the height of technical innovation at the time, perhaps. It may have bees said in jest initially, but I suspect it's the truth: this was a British bottling by one of the breweries and they ran out of wine bottles and put it in left-over beer containers. Whatever, it was excellent, as UK-bottled wines so often are.

In between all this we had: a splendid 2001 Chapelot from Raveneau; a very good St Jacques 87 and a disappointingly cloying 85 Ruchottes from Rousseau and a good Gevry Combottes 2001 from a grower I had not heard of before - Odoul-Coquard.

Dinner added to Fine Wine Diary 05/02/2006   Return to top