Hottest ticket in’t’country

Exhibit A, 24 July 2021, from Gareth’s ‘best of Bordeaux‘ dinner last summer

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Exhibit B

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Exhibit C

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Exhibit D, Joel’s pristine Ferrari F40


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Exhibit E, my last bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1985 with back up and dessert wine

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It finally started to fall into place. We set a date. Friday 20th May, 2022. Joel invited Nick and Graham too. The idea was that I would get down to Joel’s country gaff in Cowden, deep in rural Kent, near the Sussex border, early to go for a spin and the others would come later, in time for lunch.

The weather has been pretty good lately but the forecast for Friday was looking dodgy. Thursday was bright and sunny as today, Saturday, promises to be. But on Friday morning it didn’t just rain, it poured, which put the kibosh on it. It was not a sensible nor safe proposition to take the F40 out, a car from an era before traction control and airbags.

But at least I got to peel the potatoes … contributing Joel’s tour de force in cooking.


With gougeres

2011 Champagne Larmandier-Bernie’s Vieilles Vignes du Levant Grand Cru Extra Brut

A creamy lively, lovely vivacious, effusive BdB

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With crab, bread and butter

2018 Meusault 1er Cru Poruzots Pierre-Yves Colin Morey

Already accessible but still quite reductive, intense with white peach and orchard fruits and minerality; very classy, superb potential

1985 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Chaumees Colin Deleger

Vibrant, rich, buttery, toasty, brioche, light golden hue, complex with hints of aniseed, beautiful wine, holding up ever so well with years left


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With shoulder, rump and rack of Penhurst lamb, pommes purée

1969 Corton Bonneau du Martray

Wonderful secondary and tertiary floral, herbal expression with tea notes, good acidity holding it together with only a slight drying in the finish - a veritable treat

1985 Mouton Rothschild

Similar to previous bottles this has a racy ethereal quality. It is so light on its feet, with bright red fruits, spice box, truffles and tobacco with a thrilling grippyness and tension. This bottle was ever so slightly drying on the finish. Still thrilling - like riding in an F40?

2004 Barolo Mascarello Monprivato

I still have a few of these stuck in America, and was looking forward to reacquainting myself with this wine. But it tasted pretty flat in comparison to its older livelier flight mates. It did not appear to be flawed it just kind of didn’t show up.

Leoville Barton 1961

Tertiary notes of leather, with iron and blood - that is all I can remember of this bottle that Joel pulled out at the last minute.

The lamb, which Joel sourced locally, was beautifully succulent, and triumphant, the culinary highlight in an impressive repertoire.


Anna’s orange and almond cake

Anna is Joel’s wife, who unfortunately could not join us, but generously made this delicious cake for our dessert.

Chateau d’Yquem 1990

Almost de rigeur now, layered and complex including hints of saffron

Selection of cheeses, then

Hine Rare VSOP and a puff of one of Joel’s Montecristos (I am not allowed to smoke cigars these days)

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By the afternoon it was sunny and dry again. Sod’s law.

Thank you Joel for inviting us and your Hurculean efforts in the kitchen, and to Nick and Graham for their contributions.
 
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It was a really memorable afternoon spent somewhere near Hever Castle at a location where even armed with a postcode and an address is still not enough to stop a taxi driver heading down a dirt track on the road to nowhere - this did happen - which reminds me to wire Nick the 25 quid I owe him! Upon arrival it was apparent that Joel had been making every effort to provide cuisine that would do justice to quite a star studded vinous line up. I know that Champagne is too often drunk as an apertif and not taken that seriously, however I thought that L-B was a compelling wine and something that one could easily enjoy through a sashimi platter or other cuisine. After thirst was quenched and high octane fumes were ingested in the presence of the mighty F40 (living art and perhaps one of the most admirable ways to invest funds, particularly for a petrolhead - and upon start up the sound of the 2.9 litre V8 upon start up in a garage cannot fail to bring a smile to one's face) we sat down to begin lunch. My wine notes are below and regarding the cuisine, I have to say thought that all of the courses worked very well. I particularly enjoyed the lamb which was cooked perfectly with a heavenly pommes puree, however Anna's orange and almond cake almost stole the show. Overall it was a joyous occasion which was more about fun in each others company in a relaxed setting, rather than obsessively analysing the wines before us.

FERRARI F40 IN THE RAIN! - Kent countryside, UK (5/20/2022)

A supercar inspired this lunch owing to an agreement between the host and one of the attendees to trade a ride in an F40 for the guest to bring Mouton 1985. Sadly the F40 ride never materialised as it would have been too dangerous to drive around country lanes in very wet conditions. Still lunch must go on!
Gougeres
Very welcome start to proceedings!
  • 2011 Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Grand Cru Vieille Vigne du Levant Extra Brut - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
    Light golden yellow. Nose evokes transportation into an artisan pâtisserie as delicious pastry creams, brioche, egg custard etc. There's plenty of energy and drive on the mid-palate with lively acids and interplay between yellow citrus and pastry notes. Very well balanced and enjoyable with a lasting finish. (94 pts.)
Dressed crab, bread and butter
Worked well with the Chardonnay flight
  • 2018 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Meursault 1er Cru Les Poruzots - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru
    Very light yellow in colour as one would expect given the youth and the producer's serious approach to long term ageing as evidence by the seal and long corks. Opened in the interests of science given extreme youth yet from other notes some pleasure was still expected. Nose was slightly reductive and possible more than a whiff of oak yet still butter and almonds as one might from the appellation. Lovely texture and persistence whilst remaining very savoury and obviously full of class. Difficult to discern a great deal more at this stage in its evolution and think this needs another 15 years+. Score based on enjoyment today but should be plenty of upside potential where the terroir will begin to show. 92+++ (92 pts.)
  • 1985 Michel Colin-Deléger et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumes - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet
    Delightfully straw yellow in colour :) The nose seemed quite muted to me although another suggested oyster shells. There was a lovely mouthfeel with textural slightly buttery richness and with a harmonious citric sweetness (think yellow fruits) but without seeming confected or overly done. I thought it did not seem to be falling over any time soon and made me think that well stored could easily perform at a similar level in another decade. A real treat. (93 pts.)
Shoulder, rump and rack of Penshurst lamb, pommes puree
Paired very well with the French wines
  • 1985 Château Mouton Rothschild - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Stellar bottle with fill level in the next and upon pouring the colour seemed as it should without any bricking. Nosing this took me into an old library and reminded me of book cases and on the palate there was bright core of cassis as well as spices evoking Turkish bazaar and tobacco notes. Seemed to show plenty of mid-palate interest and regal complexity and probably unlikely to improve any further and a perfect time to drink a last bottle from a case. My favourite wine of the flight / lunch. (94 pts.)
  • 1969 Bonneau du Martray Corton - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton Grand Cru
    Translucent garnet in colour. Nose showed bright red cherries and same on the palate with the spine of acidity boldly holding this together almost nonchalantly as it remained fresh as a daisy. It reminded me of some of the modern biodynamic acid driven PNs from higher altitude appellations (e.g. Boris Champy etc.). It was really enjoyable and had great balance and one would expect any remaining bottles could be aged for another 20 years+ but not likely to improve. (92 pts.)
  • 2004 Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello Barolo Monprivato - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Colour seemed correct and bottle was bought from a reputable merchant. The nose seemed hard to fathom and for me reminded me of a wood staining agent (ronseal?) and was not a joy to behold. Upon the palate this was certainly red fruited, seemed quite evolved compared with what i was expecting, and it made me think of aniseed whilst remaining quite savoury. The finish was slightly clipped. Given the high acclaim for this producer particularly in this time period, I wonder if it was an off bottle, or whether something was not quite right.
Anna's orange and almond cake
Astonishingly good!
  • 1990 Château d'Yquem - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
    A real treat to try from a half bottle at the end of an extravagant lunch. Nose seemed inexpansive but could detect marmalade, cantaloupe lemon and vanilla. On the palate this has good density and drive with power and tangy acidity and lovely fruit core. Served in "Grandma glassware" crystal goblets :) (93 pts.)
Cheese board (Montgomery's cheddar, Pevensey blue, Gubbean and Berskwell)
Too good to ignore despite being very full!
  • 1961 Château Léoville Barton - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Colour was translucent crimson so looked quite aged. Nose seemed to evoke being sat in an old leather seat in the National Liberal Club and not a great deal else. Red fruits on the palate and quite searing acidity and definitely on its descent. Still a real privilege to try and an experience. (91 pts.)

A big thank you to the host for the invite and generosity in a relaxed atmosphere and nice to have clean country air blowing in through the open patio doors.
 
I’ll chime in with a few thoughts…

There is no pressure like cooking for forumites - tales of Gareth’s amazing endeavours in the hottest ticket in town thread came just in time to add to it!

On the wines: The Champagne was utterly beguiling in that young, exuberant Blancs de Blancs style: pure patisserie on the nose and full of zip and energy. No need to wait. Easy ****

The PYCM Meursault was a tightly wound spring. We gave it a splashy decant which helped. Will be fascinating to see how this develops over time, and a real privilege to be able to compare with a study in thrillingly mature, perfect condition Chassagne from another Morey. The ‘85 Chaumées went through a couple of modes in the glass, now oyster shells and wet stone, now waxed furniture with a hint of hazelnuts. Simple dressed crab with best quality brown bread and butter was the ideal foil (for which all credit goes to Veasey’s fishmongers rather than me). I have to think really hard to imagine when I have enjoyed a flight of white wine and food combination more than this. Sometimes less is more.

The ‘85 Mouton and the ‘69 Corton are perfectly described above. I’d rate the Mouton ***** and the Corton ****. I’m not sure what happened with the 2004 Monprivato, I think we caught it at an awkward stage and if I had some I would be leaving for a good long while before opening another. This is of course part of the nature of the Barolo beast - you don’t get the linear progression to a long plateau that Bordeaux so consistently offers. The 1961 Leoville Barton is well onto the downslope now, I’d love to have tasted it 20 years ago; still providing a lot of enjoyment *** but pull the corks if you have some unless it’s come straight from the chateau or is in a large format.

I was pleased with how the lamb came out having been inspired by the sauce Bordelaise at La Trompette recently, and also tried to copy some of the techniques shown by a very young Marco Pierre White in an old TV series I found on YouTube.

1990 d’Yquem was a real treat - really seamless texture here and mind-boggling length. I took a perverse pleasure in serving in non-wine geek glasses :)

Final thought: a table for 4 was a bit of an experiment. The list of wines seemed too short, when we are used to gathering in 6s or 8s and everyone bringing one or two bottles. What worked really well was the opportunity to really study and enjoy the wines feel you had got to know them, in a way that sometimes gets lost in lunches and dinners with vast lists of wines. This was the perfect number of wines for my concentration levels anyway!

An afternoon which will live long in the memory. Thanks to everyone’s generosity in sharing some amazing bottles.
 
I’ll chime in with a few thoughts…

There is no pressure like cooking for forumites - tales of Gareth’s amazing endeavours in the hottest ticket in town thread came just in time to add to it!

On the wines: The Champagne was utterly beguiling in that young, exuberant Blancs de Blancs style: pure patisserie on the nose and full of zip and energy. No need to wait. Easy ****

The PYCM Meursault was a tightly wound spring. We gave it a splashy decant which helped. Will be fascinating to see how this develops over time, and a real privilege to be able to compare with a study in thrillingly mature, perfect condition Chassagne from another Morey. The ‘85 Chaumées went through a couple of modes in the glass, now oyster shells and wet stone, now waxed furniture with a hint of hazelnuts. Simple dressed crab with best quality brown bread and butter was the ideal foil (for which all credit goes to Veasey’s fishmongers rather than me). I have to think really hard to imagine when I have enjoyed a flight of white wine and food combination more than this. Sometimes less is more.

The ‘85 Mouton and the ‘69 Corton are perfectly described above. I’d rate the Mouton ***** and the Corton ****. I’m not sure what happened with the 2004 Monprivato, I think we caught it at an awkward stage and if I had some I would be leaving for a good long while before opening another. This is of course part of the nature of the Barolo beast - you don’t get the linear progression to a long plateau that Bordeaux so consistently offers. The 1961 Leoville Barton is well onto the downslope now, I’d love to have tasted it 20 years ago; still providing a lot of enjoyment *** but pull the corks if you have some unless it’s come straight from the chateau or is in a large format.

I was pleased with how the lamb came out having been inspired by the sauce Bordelaise at La Trompette recently, and also tried to copy some of the techniques shown by a very young Marco Pierre White in an old TV series I found on YouTube.

1990 d’Yquem was a real treat - really seamless texture here and mind-boggling length. I took a perverse pleasure in serving in non-wine geek glasses :)

Final thought: a table for 4 was a bit of an experiment. The list of wines seemed too short, when we are used to gathering in 6s or 8s and everyone bringing one or two bottles. What worked really well was the opportunity to really study and enjoy the wines feel you had got to know them, in a way that sometimes gets lost in lunches and dinners with vast lists of wines. This was the perfect number of wines for my concentration levels anyway!

An afternoon which will live long in the memory. Thanks to everyone’s generosity in sharing some amazing bottles.
Looks fantastic Joel. The F40 looks incredible! I’m just happy our car colour is Ferrari red.
 
Location
London
Here are my notes. I think I preferred the Barolo to the others - no doubt because I'd brought it! - but otherwise we all seem to be broadly in accord. Was a big success of an afternoon, apart from me leaving early to relieve the nanny, passing out on the train and waking up to find myself back at East Croydon, but going south. Oops. Fine living can have that effect, I suppose. Thanks again to the others for their generosity and company.

FERRARI F40 IN THE RAIN - A farmhouse in leafy Kent (20/05/2022)

Gougeres
  • 2011 Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Grand Cru Vieille Vigne du Levant Extra Brut - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
    Gorgeous texture here, soft and enveloping like a plump duck-down pillow. Yeasty, bready nose, very clean, harmonious and precise, and picked up speed and bite towards the finish. Oh so drinkable - excellent wine. (94 pts.)
Dressed brown and spider crab, bread and butter
  • 1985 Michel Colin-Deléger et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumes - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet
    What a stunner. Extremely promising colour - just mid-yellow - and indeed the wine was both still fresh and exquisitely mature. Complex nose, savoury and seedy, with some blossom notes. Clean, crisp and herbal on the palate, very charming and with a lovely balance and texture. Yum. (94 pts.)
  • 2018 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Meursault 1er Cru Les Poruzots - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru
    Decanted given its youth. Plenty of oak and reduction on the nose - in a good way! Lots of vanilla cream and cereal, matched by plenty of energy and bright acidity. Long, savoury finish. Much potential here, as the winemaking signature will surely meld beautifully with the fruit. I'm not the first person to observe that PYCM made excellent 2018s, and I won't be the last. (92 pts.)
Shoulder, rump and rack of Penshurst lamb, pomme puree
  • 1969 Bonneau du Martray Corton - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton Grand Cru
    Bewitching nose, predictably full of the sweet scents of decay. Tertiary on the palate too, with tangy coffee (maybe a V60 brew?!) and spicy tomato juice - plenty of acidity then, which made this an excellent wine to accompany food. At times I felt the wine fell slightly short on the finish, but at others it seemed to come on stronger. Very nice. (93 pts.)
  • 1985 Château Mouton Rothschild - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    What a treat - although not showy or mind-bendingly good, this was the acme of mature Bordeaux, a complex, dry, grown-up wine that went superbly with roast lamb. Very dark appearance for its age. Soy, truffle, cigar and clove on the nose, which kept demanding another sniff. On the palate there was good acidity and perfect balance, some mellow and deep dark fruit... and a sense of laid-back effortlessness. (94 pts.)
  • 2004 Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello Barolo Monprivato - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Double-decanted around three hours before drinking; oddly, there was almost no sediment at all. Some debate about this one - was it slightly flawed (heat damage perhaps), in a recalcitrant phase, or just a bit juvenile by comparison to its flight-mates? Either way, it certainly wasn't a 'wow' wine. I actually quite enjoyed it on its own merits, though its bright fruit occasionally strayed into strawberry boiled sweets. In its better moments I enjoyed some tangy tomato, cherry and orange as well as a touch of smoke. Hmm. (91 pts.)
Anna's orange and almond cake
  • 1990 Château d'Yquem - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
    From 375 - and more enjoyable than the full bottle I had last October (which lacked this bottle's acidity). Soft and sensual nose. Not especially complex on the palate, with plenty of barley sugar and apricot fruit, but particularly long and intense, yet weightless with it. (94 pts.)
Montgomery Cheddar, Pevensey Blue, Gubbeen and Berkswell
  • 1961 Château Léoville Barton - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Gentle and easy, with high acidity, some iron, and not much fruit. Fun with the cheese but had probably seen better days. (90 pts.)
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Action shot of the 1961 being opened... the Durand really is a superb piece of kit. I see that this photo was taken 14 minutes before my train departed - somehow still managed to take a note, eat some cheese and then get dropped off by Mrs H in good time!
 
. The 1961 Leoville Barton is well onto the downslope now, I’d love to have tasted it 20 years ago; still providing a lot of enjoyment *** but pull the corks if you have some unless it’s come straight from the chateau or is in a large format.
I've got a mag that I'm not really sure what to do with! Great to have a recent note though, thanks
 
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