The pre-event dinner at Rococo
reporter: Bryan Collins
First up, Krug 1985. Very fine indeed. Full bodied without being overly obtrusive; rich, with a light and creamy but persistent mousse. Perfectly mature, and drinking really, really well. Accompanied by an amuse bouche of pumpkin and cep broth, which was light and delicious.
First course was poached turbot and oyster on a bed of wilted spinach with a Champagne veloute. Accompanied with Leflaive 1993 Chevalier-Montrachet and Jadot 1993 Chevalier-Montrachet Desmoiselles. The Jadot was a deep golden colour, slightly vegetal on both the nose and palate. Decent wine, but seemed to have aged prematurely. The Leflaive on the other hand was much lighter in colour and very fine indeed. Rich and slightly buttery, but with plenty of acidity and very long, with decent complexity and lots of interest. Very, very good; a delight to drink now.
Next, terrine of foie gras with fig jam, celeriac remoulade and toasted country bread, accompanied by Huet Le Haut Lieu Moelleux 1949. Again, a very rich wine, but not overly sweet, having lost sweetness in the way older “sweet” wines always seem to but without shedding any of the richness and complexity. Paired extremely well with the food, and was really very good. Another wine with an excellent acidic backbone, as always from the Loire it seems. There is no way I would have guessed this wine was 55 years old.
Next was roast mallard breast with creamed cabbage, turnip and a simply wonderful bread sauce. Two more exceptional wines; both 1991 Burgundies. The Rouget Cros Parentoux 1991 was textbook red Burgundy; slightly restrained but classical flavours. Drinking very nicely now but would last no problem. My first ever Cros Parentoux and very nice it was. The Lignier Clos de la Roche 1991 was equally fine but very different; much more hedonistic and explosive. Fantastic wine, drinking really really well now, but again would keep longer with no problem I think. I really enjoyed this.
Next came an absolutely delicious rolled pork belly, accompanied by 1982 Grand Puy Lacoste and 1961 Ducru-Beaucaillou. The GPL was still rather young (some people commented it could have been mistaken for a 1986), with a classic Pauillac pencil shavings and cedar box nose. Still quite tannic, but buckets of fruit to balance it. A lovely wine. The Ducru-Beaucaillou – well, what can I say. Linden brought this, and had been a little concerned about how it would show, but he need have had no worries at all. Very slightly bricked on the edge but there’s no way I would call this as a 1961. Perfectly balanced and delicious; I think Linden actually claimed this was the finest 1961 he’d ever drunk, and I couldn’t argue with that (mainly because it’s almost the ONLY 1961 I;ve ever drunk!) A tremendous pair of very, very good clarets.
Next came a tremendously tasty mixed apricot dessert, largely enjoyed on its own. As we finished out came a 1949 Moulin Touchais, tasted alongside the remains of the 1949 Huet from earlier. Although the Huet is unquestionably more complex and of greater overall interest, the Moulin Touchais was quite delicious, and yet another wine belying its age.
Finally a “Brucey bonus” from Toby Bailey; a half of 1955 Sandemans Port. Table was slightly split, but I thoroughly enjoyed this, guessing it to be a very decent 1963. Good mature Port, and very tasty indeed.
Thanks to all those who made this such an enjoyable evening, and thanks too to Rococo for putting on a really very good meal indeed, with excellent service throughout