Fine Wine Friday… Bon Voyage old boy…

Today saw a special lunch at the 1 star Michelin restaurant The Glasshouse in Kew, marking the departure of fine wine neighbour and close friend Keith Prothero to warmer climes until Spring 2017. 

Head Sommelier Arno and his crew organised an exceptional afternoon of fine food and the most professional wine service… just as well, seeing as there were some pretty serious wines being poured. 

Making up the numbers were among others, my buddy, The Wine Anorak, Dr Jamie Goode, rugger bugger David Beresford, and fine wine high flyer, Air Commodore Stephen Parkinson Rt.

Wines were tasted sighted today and matched to food selected by The Glasshouse team before hand. As usual, they arranged an expertly chosen selection. 

As always, I labour the point, that fine wine is all about tasting, drinking and enjoying with fine cuisine and fine wine friends. The great wines, while being expensive and perhaps exclusive, where nevertheless made to be drunk and enjoyed in good company. So we obliged.

Today’s “modest” palate cleanser was a JJPrum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2001. Beautiful nose of sweet honey, crunchy white peaches, and sweet & sour lemon cordial. The palate was so rich, harmonious and balanced while simultaneously being tantalisingly fresh and vibrant, with the prettiest of acid structures. A profound example indeed. (97+/100)

Next up a flight of white Burgundies made up of a taught, tight, steely, tightly wound Domaine Leflaive Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet 2012 (96/100); a Domaine Dujac Morey St Denis 1er Cru Monts Luisants Blanc 2011 with a tight, fresh zesty, briney, mineral laden, sea breeze infused palate (95/100); and finally a Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc 1998, resplendent in all its salty, oxidative, flor-style, aldehydic green apple and pear purée splendour. Not a wine for amateurs! (93+/100)

Then on to the reds, starting with an “off vintage” La Mission Haut Brion 1981 Graves, showing taught fresh saline, salty cassis, red currant berry fruit, bitter orange and spicy tobacco and lead pencils. Wonderfully linear and lean with a hint of brett. (93+/100)

This was followed beautifully by the full, fleshy, plump, sappy, spicy Chateau Latour 1978 from Pauillac. Ultra traditional, cooler old style spicy vintage but showing exceptional balance and burnt orange fruit length. (95/100)

Last of the Bordeaux trio was a profoundly youthful Chateau Pichon Baron 1976, that teased the palate with its tight, youthfully textured forest fruits, polished mahogany, and cool, burnt sugar and molasses, licorice and salty plum nuances that develop and build in the glass. (94/100)

A fine Bordeaux trio but now it was time for some Rhone style reds. First up, what turned out to be possibly one of the wines of the lunch… Domaine de Trevallon 1990 Rouge from the Bouches du Rhone. 50/50 Cab – Shiraz, this epic wine was bursting with salty cassis, licorice, cedar spice and a vibrant black peppercorn finish. Beautifully youthful, reinforcing this wines iconic reputation. (96/100)

From one icon to a unicorn Northern Rhone red, Noel Verset Cornas 1999. Packed full of perfume and lipstick lift, dried roses, sweet cherry, and savoury depth. Fruits are beautifully pure, textured and sappy with an alluring spicy stalky finish. An epic, memorable wine. (95+/100)

After two icons, the Gros Nore Bandol 2000 had a stiff act to follow. But to everyone’s surprise, except perhaps to Jamie Goode who brought it, the wine was  impressively dense, dark, savoury, sweet fruited and plush, with peppercorn spice, licorice, black berry nuances and a very youthful fine grained tannin frame. A real surprise package. (93+/100)

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I had a bottle of Mullineux Olerasay Solera Straw wine about a week ago. It was profound then and was profound today (98/100). But if there was ever any doubt, today we had the 2009 Mullineux vintage straw wine to compare and contrast. An amazing exercise with the 09 showing sweet caramelised yellow fruits, an incredible intensity, opulence and a deep, dense suave caramelised fig finish. (97/100)

Roast cuttle fish linguine
Roast partridge
Cornbury estate fallow deer
Apple and pecan brioche

So with these fine wines still resonating across our palates, we bid Keith farewell… until we meet again in the Spring over yet more fine wine. 

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