Monday, 21 February 2011
Dunell’s Iconic Wine Night 10.02.11 - Report by Tim Wildman MW
The first wine of the evening, the 1992 Clos de Goisses, bore testament to that ageability. Incredibly pale and bright for the age, it looked more like a five year old champagne rather than almost twenty years old. The nose was remarkably fresh and perfumed, and again, with no signs of age. One of the guests commented on the limey, almost riesling-like acidty and fruit on the palate. The flavours were very pure and precise, with a gentle honeyed richness coming in on the finish, the only real indication of its age.
The wine showed a rich golden colour, powerful nose of brioche, toast, lemon and red fruits, with a savoury white truffle characteristic that many say is a feature of Clos de Goisses.
HUDELOT NOELLAT RICHBOURG GRAND CRU 2001 @ £269.95 per bottle
The first of the reds was a rare and delicious Burgundy, from the famous Richbourg Grand Cru vineyard, that lies within the appellation of Vosne Romanee in the northern part of Burgundy’s Cote d’Or, the Cotes de Nuits. Domaine Hudelot Noellat own 0.28 hectares in Richbourg, making them one of the smallest holders in this legendary Grand Cru which comprises 8.03 hectares in total. They are recognised for producing a house style of wines that are both fine and fragrant. The 2001 showed a delicate nose, very fine, gossamer like tannins, sappy, floral, red fruit, with some herbal complexity, with a very long finish.
CHATEAU MARGAUX 2001 @ £449.95 per bottle
The first of two Bordeaux First Growths, and a perfect example of the A list level we were tasting at this evening.
2001 was a good year in Bordeaux, characterised by a balance and restraint in the wines that make them perfect for early to mid term drinking, and to many palates (mine included) are representitive more of their terroir and a classic ‘claret” style than the riper, more powerhouse styles that are becoming more the norm in warmer years. This Chateau Margaux was highly aromatic, with a bouquet that filled the room, showing floral notes alongside dried tea and fine herbs. On the palate there was dried red fruit with more of the floral, rose petal perfume, the tannins already resolving (softening), and with a fresh, digestible acid.
CHATEAU LAFITE-ROTHSCHILD 2006 @ £595.00 per bottle
Until quite recently Chateau Lafite Rothschild was considered the least collectable of the five Bordeaux First Growths (the others being Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Haut Brion and Margaux). How things have changed. The huge demand for Lafite in the Chinese market has driven prices well above those of its peer group, fuellled by its image in the Chinese market as the “ultimate” gift. The 2008 which was released at £1950 a case is now worth over £11,000, a rise that was further fuelled by the Chateau announcing that each bottle will be etched with the Chinese symbol for eight (a lucky number).
The 2006 showed a semi transparent core, not as deep as I’d have expected; rich red and blue fruit, some coffee and mocha, spice, all elements in balance, dry, very fine granular tannins, tight finish, very long.
PENFOLDS GRANGE 2005 @ £199.95 per bottle
For many this was the most memorable wine of the evening, it was certainly the biggest and most powerful. Deep purple black, very rich nose, opulent, dark fruits, some raisin, black plum, mocha, espresso - complex full and very powerful. Broad structure, full but pliable tannins, saturated with ripe fruit and toasted new oak.
As an introduction to the wine, I related the story of how Grange was first created by winemaker Max Schubert. Inspired by a tour of Europe, and particiularly Bordeaux, in 1951 Max Schubert made the first vintage of Grange, producing five hogsheads (1800 bottles) on an experimental basis. By 1957, as a result of poor sales and negative reviews, Schubert was instructed to cease production of Grange, but continued undeterred for three years in secret, using old barrels and recycling bottles and hiding the maturing wine behind a false wall in the cellar. In 1960, as the early vintages began to age and their true value appreciated, the family members on the board instructed Schubert to re-start production, little knowing that he had not missed a vintage.
OPUS ONE 2007 @ £169.95 per bottle
I made the comment that there is often a gap between the perception of Opus One (often by those who have not drunk it!) and the reality of the wine itself. This is a far cry from the over-ripe “super-Cabs” that the Napa Valley is reknowned for producing. Robert Parker (the US critic) describes the 2007 as having a “skyscraper-like mouthfeel”. I have no idea what he means by this, but feel that he misses the point. This is a wine that is all about elegance, not power; texture, not ripeness.
On the nose it shows sweet blackcurrant and cream, not over ripe, very attractive. The palate is mid to full bodied, with silken tannins, full but supple. There is an intense core of damson fruit, sloe and more of that rich, creamy oak. Balanced acid, open perfumed almost floral finish. Delicious, drinkable, and not a skyscraper in sight!
WARRES 1977 @ £79.95 per bottle
We finished the evening on a gentle note - a fully mature vintage port from the house of Warres. Less rich than either of the two previous red wines, it nontheless provided a delicious and memorable finish to the evenings tasting. A herbal, sweet nose, showing dried figs and strawberry pips. Spirity, quite light body, aromatic palate with fine, lacy tannins, and a suggestion of cherry pie crust fruit on the gentle finish.
Once again the team at Dunell’s had put together an outstanding selection of some of the worlds greatest wines. I made the comment to some of the tasters at the end of the evening that these Iconic Wine Nights could be seen as a sort of “wine club” whereby everyone is chipping in towards the price of bottles that we rarely get to experience in our regular drinking lives. It was a real pleasure to host the evening, when the wines are this good its a privilage, albeit a very enjoyable one!"
Huge thanks to Tim Wildman MW, Vianney Gravereaux from Champagne Philipponnat and to Nathan, Richard and the rest of the very professional team from Grand Jersey. The evening was a huge success!