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76 Mouton, 88 Clerc Milon, 98 V Donjon, 59 Huet


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Notes from a dinner last evening.

1995 Henriot Brut – I liked this bubbly a lot. Nice yeasty nose, quite smooth and full in the mouth, almost silky, and good length.

With crab soufflé and Mousseline Sabayon

2000 Domaine du Clos St Landelin Tokay Pinot Gris Clos Saint Landelin Vorbourg – I had never heard of this producer before, but I loved the wine! Medium golden colour, with a rich spicy nose of ripe fruit. Soft and rich in the mouth with adequate acidity to balance, and good length. Great match with the food.

With wild mushroom Napoleons:

1998 Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape – it has been awhile since I last tasted this wine, and I have enjoyed watching it slowly evolve. The nose on this bottle was an almost elegant tar and leather with a hint of flowers. On palate, bright fruit and pepper, tannins resolved and good length. No rush on this wine, which I expect to drink well for many years.

With a duck confit salad:

1995 Ch. de Gevrey-Chambertin Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru – a small production (25 – 50 cases per year), makes this a producer we don’t see much. This bottle was carried back from France earlier this year. The colour was fairly dark, the nose an amalgam of dark fruit and Burgundian pong. Medium bodied, and the fruit became decidedly strawberry in the mouth. I thought that it fell a little short at first, but with air it seemed to pick up steam and open up, showing adequate length and more acid than tannin at the end.

With veal Marengo:

1976 Ch. Mouton Rothschild – always a favourite of mine and a wine I have often felt outperformed expectations. This bottle was not up to the best I’ve had, but cellaring hadn’t been perfect. It still showed a mature claret colour and had a very good nose of plumy vanilla, but it was drying out and was also a tad short. From magnum earlier this year, this was a real winner, so well kept bottles are worth looking for.

1988 Ch. Clerc Milon – I wanted to keep the other wine of this flight ‘in house’, so that included this label or Armailhac/Mouton Baronne Phillipe. We were quite impressed with this wine – dark with a big sweet fruit driven nose with vanilla and currant, good concentration on palate and a smooth feel followed by good length of finish.

With cheese:

1959 Huet Vouvray Moelleux – while all agreed that this Vouvray would have been better some years ago, it was nevertheless interesting. There was a lot going on in the nose, especially as it warmed up (it had been lightly chilled). I detected lemon, orange peel, almond, and quince jelly (or maybe it was the Spanish blue we had that made me think of that). The nose was the best feature as the wine has lost considerable sweetness and while it retains a decent balance, I daresay it would have shown much more flavour interest in earlier years. There was a lingering caramel note toward the end.

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