It was planned to be a quiet dinner party but with the Pretty Pair, it never turns out that way. He loves opening wines and she loves to cook. The matching of the wine and the food is carefully thought out, so that they work very well. The Fine Fin people joined us too, o with six of us, it was easy to polish off each bottle of wine.
As a starter wine, the Pretty Man opened the 1998 Veuve Clicquot Champagne ‘Reserve Rich’. I haven’t seen this in a while. In fact I don’t think it’s made now, though there is a non-vintaged ‘Rich’ bottling. This was deemed a lot more serious in its day, being a ‘Reserve’ and vintage. It carried a higher dosage which gave it some more sweetness, and definitely more body and a rich reserve in the palate and mouthfeel. Some saw it as designed for the latter part of the evening with maybe sweeter food, possibly a dessert. But others saw it as a foil for savoury food, which is where the Pretty Pair saw it. The wine could possibly handle bottle age?
On this showing and with this bottle, it seemed a little more than passed its best. The bruised apple and nutty oxidative aromas and flavours told us so, and prevailed. But kindness saw the richness underneath, and some bready, yeasty autolysis, with savoury bottle development. The mouthfeel remained poised with good acidity balancing the sweetness. The rest of the wine was still fine. We drunk our glasses and finished the bottle without effort or pain. It would be good to see another bottle.