Being Bastille Day, it was appropriate to open something French, and The Chairman’s gift of a Duty Free purchased NV Moet & Chandon ‘Reserve Imperial’ Champagne was the perfect opening. It sports a black label and is no doubt the same as the ‘Brut Imperial’. We were all impressed with how Moet has performed lately. Its fruitiness and gently full, sweet fruit showing the prominence of the Pinot varieties. Sure, there’s not huge autolysis, but there’s enough to keep us all happy.
We moved onto a 2009 Schoffit Alsace Gewurztraminer ‘Lieu-Dit Harth’ ‘Cuvee Caroline’. This has always been a favourite label of mine, being rich and lush, always punching above its price point. SWMBO and I were told this 2009 vintage was a little drier than previous vintages. But not really. What did stand out was its cleanliness and purity of honey-rose water aromas and flavours. Very new-worldly, rather than ‘traditional’. Smooth, lush and wonderfully balance, not a trace of reduction, phenolics or anything extraneous. The Chairman hadn’t tasted many Schoffit wines has he was quite taken by it. As an extra, this went surprisingly well with a ‘Cypriot Shepherd’s Pie’ topped with masses of sweet carrot and parsnip.
Then the big red – moving onto Italy, just to keep things interesting. A 2007 Felsina ‘Berardenga’ ‘Rancia’ Chianti Classico Riserva. A shame to open this one at such a youthful stage. Dark coloured and tight and concentrated as could be. But perfectly ripened Sangiovese fruit with black and dark red bitter cherry and berry fruits with the hint of sweetness filling in any gaps or roughness. The perfect oaking, and extremely fine-grained tannins, which showed its class, a feature The Chairman pointed out is rare with this variety. And indeed it was a touch of class, very much like The Chairman. Like The Chairman, this should live a long time, and another two decades would do it justice.