16th October 2009
Hambleton Hall, Rutland
an opportunity to revisit a selection of wines from 1989 alongside side
some fantastic food and service from Hambleton Hall.
Margaux was a classy, seductive, chic Parisian lady. Unfortunately, come midnight, she didn't exactly turn into a pumpkin (we'd had enough food by then anyway), but there was definitely a hint of ugly sister appearing.
For me, Kanonkop ran a close second to the Margaux early on, but proved it had greater staying power. As such it was leading the way for WOTN (Wine of the Night) for me, but then along Climens ...
Climens rarely disappoints, and usually over-delivers. This one completely outclassed the Rieussec and Sudiraut.
The Climens would be joint WOTN for me, but the unexpectedness of the excellence of the Kanonkop means the latter just pips it.
At the other end of the scale the FWG Mehringer Goldkupp Eiswein was utter pants. No particular fault, just under-delivering and failing to impress at each and every level. The Richter Brauneberger Juffer BA wasn't that much better, unfortunately. Just goes to show that you can't rely on Byrnes and Berry Bros respectively to buy well every time.
1989 Giesenheimer Klauserweg Scheurebe Auslese, producer not noted
I didn't take a note at the time on this, as, like the champagne following, it was drunk standing cocktail-party like in the hotel bar before a roaring (and roasting) fire.
A deepish colour. Subtly fragrant. It's lost much of its sweetness. Makes a good aperitif. 86/100
Aperitif with nibbles of chicken liver parfait, brandade? fritters and parmesan wafers
1997 Bollinger Grande Année en magnum
A fairly muted nose. Good palate with a nice roundness. Really rather too young, I think. Very nice, but it doesn't thrill me. 88/100
A Jar of Foie Gras with exotic fruits and brioche
The first starter I've had with a built in antenna! Very well balanced dish. The foie gras element was somewhere between terrine and parfait. The passion fruit topping (on the jar) was initially a little shocking, but was just the right amount and worked well to balance the richness of the foie gras. It looks like quite a lot of brioche, but it was just right. In front of the brioche is a fairly gentle tropical fruit jelly.
1989 Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Auslese, Karthäuserhof
A very young colour. The nose, however, belies the wine's age and shows some reduction and some sulphur. On the palate, it's a little schizophrenic: it's fresh yet at the same time has mainly secondary, minerally flavours. 86/100
1989 Oberemmeler Karlsbert Riesling Auslese Gold Cap, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt
This is a much deeper colour; much more the right sort of colour. It's showing the same sort of age on the nose, which is quite petrolly and with some botrytis. It's still fairly sweet on the palate, but there's lots of pure elegance here too. Nicely integrated. 90/100
Delicious with the guinea fowl later on.
1989 Gewurztraminer Cuvée Anne, Schlumberger
A deep tropical fruit nose with a bit of a cinammon backbone. Very balanced, and - notably so for a gewurztraminer - really quite classy feeling. It's very balanced in the mouth. Perfumed, but not excessively so. Very impressive. 92/100
But it's a wine that very clearly works best drunk on its own - it would make a decent aperitif. It didn't work with any of the food that I tried it with, but was particularly disastrous with the foie gras dish, which just killed it completely dead. I can't immediately recall a wine which was so completely killed by a dish which you would expect to work well with it.
1989 Gewurztraminer Goldert Vendanges Tardives, Zind Humbrecht
This has the deepest colour of the four. A big, very ripe nose. The trademark (for me) Zind Humbrecht power above all else. It's a completely full on Gewurz, and is really very good, but is a bit hard work on its own, and marred on the finish a touch of alcoholic burn. 89/100
This really, really needs food to make it drinkable with pleasure: it was by far the best match with the foie gras and the Lincolnshire Poacher.
Mushroom Raviolo with a velouté of pea and smoked bacon
The photograph really doesn't do this justice. A subtle waft of truffle came up when the dish was put down on the table, then a smoky, bacony, sous bois aroma. The raviolo was big. Superb pasta. The filling was big, meaty chunks of mushroom - I think just common field mushrooms. The balance of the meaty (yet meatless) raviolo with the sweet-savoury pea velouté was somewhere very close to perfection. It did rather cry out for some red burgundy, but we didn't have any, so had to make do with:
1989 Château Latour à Pomerol
This has a very interesting nose: bright and perfumed, with blackberry, and then - rather oddly - some melon and apple. It feels very young on the palate, and doesn't live up to the nose at all. It's really very austere. 87/100
After just 10 or 15 minutes, the nose has changed compeletely. There are now violets with metallic notes. Then its starts to release some orange peel, which starts to show itself in some VA sweetness on the palate too.
1989 Rausan Segla
A subtle nose: gentle fruit with some cedar. Very even palate. There are very firm tannins still, but it's drinking well now.
The problem is it's really rather dull. All present and correct, but dull in comparison to the others in this flight.
1989 Château Margaux
A gorgeous, very feminine nose. This is just supremely elegant. Class in a glass. Just a lovely texture and balance in the mouth. Later in the evening, the nose is quite magnificent, though it's starting to feel less together on the palate. Come midnight, it was feeling past it.
1989 Kanonkop Cape Independent Winemakers Guild, W.O. Stellenbosch, 12.5%
This looks very young. The nose is fairly wild with gently perfumed black fruit and hints of tar. There's very young fruit on the palate. It feels very integrated and has a lovely structure and great balance. With time, it's standing up better than the Margaux and manages to develop some mintiness on the nose.
Simply Roast Guinea Fowl with Tomato and Artichoke Risotto
"Simply roasted" my arse. Roasted to absolute perfection. The skin was divine - it almost seemed deep fried. The dark blobs were shitake mushrooms. The red cubes were revealed to be crab apple jelly, which was when I reached for my remaining rieslings and found the Kesselstatt to work very well with it. The tomato and artichoke risotto was lovely, though did provide a challenge for the wines. But, while each individual component was beautifully executed, it was the overall balance of the dish which really impressed. And that continued into the whole meal: it was so well balanced overall, that it was almost as though the food was pretending to be a Château Margaux.
1989 Château Léoville Barton
The nose has meaty, fairly muscular black fruits. On the palate, it feels very young on the palate with fresh fruit and firm tannins.
1989 Lynch Bages
A big, solid, muscular nose. "A sarf Londoner" says someone, and that sums it up quite well. It's a diamond geezer of a wine. Powerful and a bit obvious. It has enormous length with some bacon fat after.
1989 Clos du Mont-Olivet, Châteauneuf du Pape
This is rather good on the nose: there's game and some musk. Some dry fur. A delicious, evolved palate, but still with very firm tannins. It doesn't go very far on the finish. Fabulous with the guinea fowl, and the wine of the flight for me.
1989 Château Pradeaux, Bandol
This has intense black fruit on the nose with some garrique in the background. There's also a definite hint of emulsion paint. Big and mouthfilling; and also a touch wild. Massive tannins.
It's much improved with food, but is still rather outclassed by the rest of the flight. But with more time, it starts to give the Mont Olivet a run for its money.
Selection of Cheeses: Ragstone, Pont L'Eveque, Lincolnshire Poacher, Colston Bassett Stilton
1989 Château Suduiraut
On the nose, there's honey, orange and caramelisation, but none of it is overdone. Quite delicate on the palate, it develops orangey flavours towards the finish. Very slightly separate on the finish. There's also a slightly hot edge to it. 87/100
1989 Château Rieussec
A very muted nose, with less honey, but more marmelade, or even apricot jam. This is more together than the Suduiraut, but overall, it just seems a little obvious.
A noticeably lighter colour than the other two. It has a lovely nose, and then on the palate there is some orange flowers and a very subtle honey note. This is very classy on the palate, and stands head and shoulders above the two Sauternes.
Tart Tatin of Pineapple with Cardamon Cream
This also came with an unadvertised pineapple sorbet (on the right). All classy, and expertly prepared, but for me the real star of the plate was the cardamon cream.
2008 Mullineux Straw Wine
A darker colour than you might expect. The nose has apricots, apricots, some more apricots, finished off with a glaze of apricot jam. Really lovely on the palate. Really luscious. There's powerful acidity there, but it's not too separate.
1989 Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Beerenauslese, Max Ferd. Richter
This is quite perfumed on the nose with some honey, quince and a touch of citrus. Quite fresh on the attack, yet there's decent concentration on the palate. Massive acidity, balances the sweetness. But overall, it's really rather underwhelming.
1989 Mehringer Goldkupp Eiswein, Friedrich-Wilhelm Gymasium
Quite darkly coloured, which doesn't augur terribly well. It has a very pure, though rather simple riesling nose. Distinctly unimpressive on the palate. There's some sweetness and lots of acidity. But there's nothing really there to back up the acidity. There doesn't seem to be any particular fault, either in winemaking or subsequent storage. It's just a bit crap.
Tea and coffee with petits fours of which a chilli flavoured chocolate with popping candy and an extraordinary raspberry thing were the stars.
Some bottle porn:
Note the remarkably good condition of the corks.
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Last updated: 14 January 2010