A Wine Dinner in Nottingham
Harts Restaurant
15th June 2007

All wines, except the first were served blind.

1998 Cuvee Creation, Vilmart & Cie, 12%
Very rich nose with some blackberry fruit and some nice minerality. A really lovely palate. Very rich and creamy, but with a real racy freshness. Very Good Indeed.

Chris advised us to keep some of the previous wine to try against this one. What could he mean? That was clear when it was revealed.

1997 Cuvee Creation, Vilmart & Cie
A lighter nose with some nuts and biscuits. Lovely palate: this is very much opened out in comparison with the 1997, but it still has a great acidity. Lovely stuff. Very Good Indeed.

1990 Laurent Perrier

1986 Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc de Blancs, Domaine de Terre Ferme
A very deep colour. The nose is oily and minerally, almost with a hint of riesling to it. Big, dry palate, though it's a bit lacking in acidity. Clearly this is mature, though not particularly ancient. On the palate, it's obviously not riesling, but it's quite unusual and I can't pin it down. It's really quite drinkable though and I'm very surprised that it's Chateauneuf, as there seems to be very little white Rhone character. Very Good.

1993 Kalliste, Santorini Onomasia Proelegseos Anoteras Poisthotos, Mpountares = Boutari?
This has a curious nose with scents of tar and kiwi fruit - it's really quite scented. Interesting palate: quite buttery, but it has a delightful freshness, but at the same time it feels a touch dried out, a touch raisiny, and it has some almost grappa like flavours. There's a curious sweet acidity on the finish (yes, I know that doesn't make sense). Very Good.

2002 Effusion, AC Anjou, Domaine Patrick Baudouin, 13%
This has a striking nose: very fresh musky, lemony scents combine with a chalky minerality. On the attack, it's quite open and wide. Initially it feels a touch sweet and honeyed, but that drops off to show some lovely acidity. There's a slight toffee hint on the finish. Very Good Indeed.

2005 Braunebberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett, 8.5%, AP Nr. 2 577 95 993 06
Initially very gassy and sulphurous on the nose, but that blew off fairly quickly to reveal a lovely sherbetty, grassy nose. This is rather classy. Super palate with everything you could want from a young riesling. Very clean and lovely. Fab. Excellent.

2005 Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, NY, Rooster Hill, 12.5%
A very talcy nose with lots of minerality initially, but then after a while, it starts to show more creamy, appley riesling notes. Very pure and very tight on the palate: very precise and focussed. It's a bit unfair on it to have put it up against the Haag: it would have been more interesting, maybe, to try it against a Kabinett trocken. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1999 Tokay Pinot Gris Goldert Clos Saint Imer La Chapelle, Alsace Grand Cru, Ernest Brun, 13%
A deep honeyed gold. Orangey and honeyed, with some stone fruits on the nose. Fairly light initially, but it quickly shows some real weight. Fairly spicy on the palate with some acidity. But overall, it lacks interest a bit for me and falls a bit short on the finish.

2004 Piculit Neri delle Venezie IGT, I Vini de Emilio Bulfon
A fairly young ruby. Nice cherry fruit on the nose with some bubble gum. The palate doesn't line up to the nose. It's quite light, very attractive and has a touch of astringency. A very interesting wine. Very Good Indeed(+)

2000 unlabelled bottle, Anjou, Patrick Baudouin
A fairly young colour. Slightly bretty on the nose with some VA. Quite green and astringent on the palate. Quite an interesting wine. But it's very short in the mouth. Possibly better with food?
Apparently it's largely cabernet franc and is an Anjou that's been declassified to a vin de table.

1996 Abbot's Prayer, Lenswood, Adelaide Hills, Henschke, 14%
Very pure black fruits on the nose: mainly blackcurrants, but some blackberry too, plus a touch of mint and a touch of VA. A bit sweet on the palate. Some decent depth. A bit hot on the finish and it has a certain hollowness. Not especially pleasing. OK/Good.

1982 Long Flat Red, Tyrell's Wines, no alcohol content shown
A blend of "Hermitage", Cabernet and Malbec.
It's an old murky colour. Red fruits on the nose. Feels old on the palate with some sweetish red fruit flavours. Possibly a bit warm on the finish. This is quite a delicate old lady, and an interesting wine. Very Good Indeed.

1983 Hermitage, E Guigal
A fairly mature colour. Very elegant nose with a mix of red and black fruits with a certain pungency. Good palate: very elegant and integrated. Lovely stuff. Very Good Indeed.

1986 Proefwyn Experimental Wine Cabernet Franc, Nietvoorbij, Stellenbosch, no alcohol shown.
Sealed with a screwcap! An unusual, reductive nose redolent of erasers on the end of pencils. Very odd palate. It has a freshness, but lacks depth. Sweetish finish. Very interesting to taste this, but I'm not sure I'd want to do much more than taste it. Good/Very Good?

2004 Pinot Noir Cellar Selection, Marlborough, Villa Maria, screwcap, 14%
This is sort of like a porty pinot noir on the nose - sweet and herby. Lovely attractrive red fruits on the palate. Very zingy and fresh feeling. Very Good.

2002 Coudoulet de Beaucastel
A nice, attractive, pleasing nose with black fruits, a green edge and a touch of high tones. Lovely forward gentle red fruit on the palate with a nice structure, and gentle tannins on the finish. Very balanced. A very nice wine. Very Good Indeed.

2005 Angels Share Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Two Hands], 15%
Another screwcap. Big full nose with sweet black fruit. This is a big powerhouse on the palate. Very sweet alcohol dominates the middle and finish. This is very difficult to drink. OK/Good.

2002 Pinot Noir, Carneros, Saintsbury, 13.5%
An attractive ruby, starting to mature. The nose has slightly stinky, cherry, raspberry fruit. Zingy, fresh palate with a beetrooty character. Soft tannins on the finish. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1978 Lafaurie-Peyraguey, AC Sauternes, 13.5%
A deep gold. Mature, rich nose, but with a sort of dry edge, though it's also a touch caramelly. Better on the palate than on the nose. It feels a touch faded and raisined and old. Very interesting. Very Good.

NV Maria Juby, Vin de Table, Patrick Baudouin, 500ml, 8.5%
A rich, honeyed barley sugar nose. Very rich and full on the palate, with fair balance. It's sweet, all show, and all fur and no knickers. Very Good.

2005 Grappe d'Or, Domaine de Montesqiou, AC Jurancon
Rather odd nose: open and herbaceous with no botrytis. Quite zesty with lots of fresh notes. Very direct, precise palate with some interesting flavours. An interesting wine, that initially I thought rather unexciting, but it opened up nicely with exposure to the air and was showing very well later on. Very Good.
100% petit manseng apparently.

2002 Eschendorfer Lump Riesling Eiswein, Horst Sauer, Franken, 500ml, 8.5%
A deep gold, with an almost oily appearance in the glass. Very concentrated, almost grapey nose. Very pure and fresh on the palate with very high acidity, that becomes almost painful. This is a supreme expression of riesling with little left that you might want from it. Outstanding.

1999 Vin Santo Santorini, Hatzidakis, 375ml, 13%
Roast nuts, salt and raisins on the nose. Rich and raisiny on the palate, but terrifically attractive. Very Good Indeed.

I thought Harts was very good. A nice room - just the right size. The food was pretty impressive. A nice little shot glass of tomato water to start with. My white pudding of guinea fowl was superb: really light texture but with a good flavour, including the flavour of the guinea fowl. Being picky, the poached egg on top of the slice of pudding could have been a little more lightly cooked and there was something (the minuscule croutons?) in the salad that was a bit salty. Some pickled girolles made a nice contrast and weren't too vinegary.
Fillet of beef with bearnaise sauce and rosti that others had, looked good ... and big. I had a saddle of rabbit with sage and onion risotto. The saddle was a boned and rolled job, with the liver included. In the attempt not to overcook the liver, I thought the rabbit was just a bit underdone. The sage and onion risotto was nicely subtle.
Lemon grass creme brulee wasn't a creme brulee, but just the creme, sandwiched between two discs of tuile-cum-brandy snap. The advertised bitter chocolate sorbet had mutated into a lemongrass? sorbet by the time it reached the table.
Service was excellent, keeping bread and water replenished, and sensibly suggesting a couple of cafetieres of coffee before we could start with a confusing list of espresso, cappucino etc.

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Last updated: 20 June 2007