Fine Wine Friday… at Chez Bruce

A thoroughly enjoyable gathering of wine friends today at restaurant Chez Bruce in Wandsworth, London, with a super selection of Autumnal dishes cooked by chef Bruce Poole. 


Fine wine is of course not made to be tasted, but drunk, and preferably enjoyed with great food. Our first course, Tagliatelle with braised duck paired beautifully with an impressive Gaja Barbaresco Sori San Lorenzo 1986 (94+/100) and a mature but impressive Carretta Barolo Cannubi Riserva Speciale 1971 (93+/100).


The Carretta 1971 showed alluring notes of blood oranges soaked in cognac, with hints of stewed winter fruits, sour plums, orange rind, and barley sugar. Very sweet and plump, the tannins were powdery and the structure seamless and lengthy. Evolved seductive wine showing plenty of tertiary, foresty complexity. 


Next blind pair was very intriguing, matched with venison medallions served with a mini shoulder pasty. Beautiful dish, delicious wines. First up, a Chateau Lynch Bages 1970 Pauillac brought along by Neal Martin. This was a rich, earthy wine with lipstick and leather, black berries, licorice, burnt sugar, sweet meat juices and a slightly rustic grainy elegance. (92/100). 


The second wine of the pairing was another Bordeaux, a Chateau Haut Bailly 1970 Pessac-Leognan. A touch stinky to start, this wine opened up beautifully to reveal classic cedary spice, earthy gravelly forest fruits, bloody irony complexity and precise, linear acids. Very pretty, regal wine. (93+/100). 


Other notable wines on this Fine Wine Friday included a tantalising Francois Mikulski Meursault 1er Cru Genevrieres 2013 (95/100), Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz 1995 (92+/100), Bodegas Protos Gran Reserva 1964 Ribera del Duero (89/100) and a Joseph Leitz Riesling Beerenauslese 1997 (91+/100).


Many thanks to the wonderful Chez Bruce staff who helped make the day so enjoyable. 

Tasting Note: Gaja Sori San Lorenzo Barbaresco DOP 2013 

The 2013 Sori San Lorenzo has a seductive, alluring dark smokey nose of black cassis, cherry, tar, licorice, exotic spices and a dominant graphite undertone. Fully lush, plush and powerful but with superb elegance, depth, power and textured sweet rounded tannins. This is a monumental wine displaying all the hallmark sweet fleshy generosity of a Costa Russi blended with the taught, linear power of a Sori Tilden. Wow, this is incredibly impressive in its youth, but promises a very very long illustrious future. Possibly the finest young Sori San Lorenzo released to date. Wine Safari Score: 99/100 Greg Sherwood MW (UK Release price £1,695.00 IB per 6 – Sept 2016)

A once in a lifetime fine wine event…

It was never going to be easy deciding what to write about for my first ever ‘fine wine safari’ blog post, but fortunately, the opportunity to attend one of the most anticipated food and wine celebrations of 2016 presented itself… and the rest as they say is history.

On the 8th and 9th of September 2016, a small select group of UK wine trade buyers, journalists and big hitting private clients were invited to Barbaresco, Italy, to join the iconic producer Angelo Gaja and his family, in celebrating their 20 year long relationship with UK importer Armit Wines. I was privileged enough to be invited on this once in a life time experience.

Here are my highlights…

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My vintage and one of the finest wines of the entire trip.
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A name that resonates in the fine wine world.
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Sitting on the top table next to Angelo. A true honour.
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Nebbiolo. The grape that makes it all possible… here in the Costa Russi vineyard.
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The beautifully photogenic Gaia Gaja.
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Rossana Gaja in the Costa Russi vineyard.
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Sunrise over the hills of Serralunga.
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Giovanni Gaja talking viticulture.
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The infamous Barbera vines that used to be included in the Gaja Cru’s until 2012.
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The famed honey bees above the Costa Russi vineyard.
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The chapel in Barbaresco.
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Dusk over Barbaresco.
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The Gaja cellar… one to be envied.
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The Gala celebration dinner.
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Fantastically long aged whites.
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The epic maiden vintage of Gaja’s Gaia & Rey Chardonnay 1983. Fresh as a daisy!
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Two of the Crus of Gaja, Sori Tilden and Costa Russi, and the Barbaresco 2001.
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Barbaresco 1958. Drinking fine wine history. One of the wines of the night with the 1971.
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The 2013 new release Barbaresco DOP Crus. The dawn of a new era at Gaja.
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Name the mystery fine wine buyer… ??
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Trattoria Antica Torre… a favourite of the Gaja family and winery staff.
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Vitello tonnato… to die for.
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Who doesn’t enjoy a wagon wheel of fresh Parmesan?
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Why open one bottle of 1958 Barbaresco when you can have five?!
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Beautifully pure and fragrant Gaia & Rey Chardonnay grappa to end an historic evening.
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A wine selection to die for. Almost certainly never to be matched or repeated anytime soon! With Angelo’s signature of approval….