Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cheers to The Chairman

The Chairman was only visiting a short while, but we always seem to pack plenty in to celebrate his presence.  It’s always an easy and fun time, and we like to ensure the last night is a good one with a nice dinner with some interesting wines.  We arranged to meet up with the Stormy Couple at the film star’s favourite haunt where the food is always bound to please.

The Chairman put up a wine and we partook before we headed off to dinner.  The NV Mumm ‘Mumm de Cramant’ was a perfect one to raise a toast to good cheer.  Is the atmospheric pressure creeping up in the later releases of this rare wine?  It seemed pretty energetic with its effervescence.  Nevertheless, beautifully fine, crisp and sheer elegance.  This bottle clearly spending some time under cork, as it had developed refined toastiness to the brioche autolysis.  Chardonnay in this form is the perfect aperitif.

One at the eatery and with dinner ordered, we were served a pair of burgundian wines, a white and a red, to accompany the Burgundy-themed food courses.  A 2009 Servin Chablis 1er ‘Vaillons’ showed clarity and purity with steely mouthfeel and inspiring soft drive.  The oyster shells were there in a form of abundance, but with sheer delicacy and detail.  The Chairman and SWMBO were enraptured.  However the 2007 Domaine Faiveley Mercurey was a true representation of the vintage and appellation, in a rather disappointing way.  It was a lighter, cooler, less favourable vintage and the wine was a little lean, green and mean.  Not really showing secondary characters, but not really bright like the 2008s can be.  And also, Mercurey, while providing soundness and value, ain’t the top of the class in the character stakes.  Enjoyable if you didn’t expect too much.

We thought we try a pair of New Zealand equivalents to the former pair to see if they could do better.  Price wise, there wasn’t too much in it, so the comparison was a valid one.  A 2010 Elephant Hill Chardonnay, classic Hawke’s Bay citrus fruit with upfront fruit and oak mix.  The acidity quite racy, and a bigger wine by far than the Chablis 1er Cru.  Next a 2009 Mount Edward Central Otago Pinot Noir.  Rich, lush and plush with dark plums and dark cherries, with a lovely integrationg richness and texture.  Drinking wonderfully now, and a hit with the Stormy Couple and SWMBO especially.

We headed back to our lodgings, and there waiting for liberation were two Sauternes, related by ownership at the time of their vintages.  The 2004 Ch. de Fargues Sauternes was another super-elegant and right down the line Sauternes.  Marmalade botrytis, honey and waxy, oaky Semillon and just the right amount of lift.  Not quite Ch. d’Yquem, but a junior version of it for sure.  After all, the owners are the Lur Saluces.  I love the 2004 Sauternes, though surrounding vintages are rated better.  And onto what should have been the piece de resistance, a 1997 Ch. d’Yquem Sauternes.  Much darker, burnished with caramel and toffee.  This has it all over other Sauternes in decadence, weight and presence, and this was so, over the Ch. de Fargues.  However, this particular bottle was a little oxidised, flat and drying out.  The Young One has tried such wines before and he still enjoyed it.  The J-Lady had never tried d’Yquem before and also was impressed.  We still drunk it up in respect for what it was.  And we toasted The Chairman for his good cheer.    

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