Wine Dinner at Harts Restaurant, Nottingham

4th December 2009

After a less successful visit almost 12 months previously, Harts were very much on form this time.  The food was very good - well conceived dishes, well executed. Game terrine was beautifully constructed - a lovely mosaic on the plate, though the accompanying cubes of cumberland sauce jelly were a little over-set. I expected Duck breast with plums and bok choi, and duck consommé, would come with a separate shot glass of duck consommé, but it was in the bowl with the rest of the dish. So why, why, why don't they give diners spoons? What is it about restaurants and spoons? Why are they so reluctant to let diners have spoons to scoop up delicious sauces, preferring the sauce to go back to the kitchen? Tarte tatin was a very good example, served with an absolutely silky smooth ice-cream. Unfortunately the caramel sauce poured on the plate had set into hard toffee by the time the plate reached the table.

 2001 Grand Cellier d'Or, Vilmart
Quite sherbetty initially on the nose, with some citrus. Goes flat very quickly. Lemony, sour apples. Good length. But you can get better still white wines than flat champagne. Disappointing bottle. 84/100

2000 Coeur de Cuvée, Vilmart
Crisp and biscuity on the nose with some pear fruit. Good attack. Round and creamy, with persistent bubbles in the mouth. Finishes a bit short. 88/100

2007 Montesquiou Cuvée Précieuse Jurançon Sec, 13%
A blend of Petit Manseng, Gros Manseng, Courbu and Camaralet. A pale lemon colour. Apples, pears and some apricot on the nose. Fairly ripe fruit in the mouth, complemented by a massive acidity. Slightly briney and quite savoury. 89/100

2005 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett, Dr Loosen
Quite petrolly on the nose already, with some very crisp citrus notes. Fairly sweet on the palate, but it has a really very good balance and the fine acidity means it resolves very dry. Lovely proper Kab, though perhaps feeling a bit more mature than it should - notably more mature than Erdener Treppchen below. Both bottles bought at exactly the same time, both stored in the same case in identical conditions, both screwcapped. The difference must be terroir! Shame the terroir is so at risk from that bloody bridge.90/100

2005 Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett, Dr Loosen
Much less petrolly on the nose, and much crisper and fresher and cleaner all round. Lovely light, bright riesling fruit on the palate. Lovely balance, though you don't quite notice it quite as much as on the UrzWurz. 89/100

1991 Meursault-Blagny 1er Crue La Tennelotte, Stéphan Maroslavac-Tremeau
With an Japanese import label. Presumably the Japanese had tasted it, gone whatever the Japanese for "bleurgh, flog it to England, they'll buy any old crap"
It has a deep, orangey colour and a fino sherry nose. On the palate, it's just oxidised and dead.

2004 Firesteed Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
A light, youthful ruby appearance. There are bright raspberry fruit and pigeon breast on the nose. Much fuller palate, than the appearance and nose would suggest. Though it's quite muted overall. Lots of acidity. Rather sour. Not impressing me. 83/100
I didn't like this when first poured, but a smidge squeezed out of the bottle towards the end of the evening, revealed we'd done it a disservice in not decanting well in advance.

1995 Querciabella Chianti Classico
A fairly even, not too young appearance. The nose has farmyardy red and black fruit. And cherries, which start to dominate. Good palate. This feels like it's starting to mature and has plenty of life ahead of it. There's some acidity, plenty of tannins and great balance. Very nice. 92/100

2000 Gevrey Chambertin, Denis Mortet
A light, bright colour. Lots of violet perfume on the nose and maybe a bit of tobacco? (I think this might have been one of the points when the smokers' exhausts outside the window sneaked in.) Lovely palate. Direct, buy with plenty behind it. Very silky initially, but then the tannins fill out across the mouth. Lovely stuff. 92/100

2001 Alfa Crux, Valle de Uco, O. Fournier
Unbelievably, this was 70% tempranillo (20% malbec, 10% merlot). I would never in a 1000 years have guessed tempranillo.
Youthful, glass coating, very dark colour. Big black fruits nose. Rich and in your face on the palate with tight, almost leathery tannins. An interesting drink, and I rather liked its big South American gobby style. 90/100

1994 Pégaü Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Réservée
The nose has sweet black fruit and a real Chateauneuf meatiness. Very gamey, funky, wild, meaty palate. Very nice Châteauneuf. 91/100

1994 Pégaü Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Laurence
Quite manurey on the nose, almost smelling of drains. Then there's some licoricey black fruit. Seen more oak than the first, and I rather like the classy feel that that has given to the palate, though perhaps it's a bit tamed too. 94/100
The two Pegaus were an almost anti-terroir demonstration, as the difference (very marked) was purely down to winemaking, AIUI. The Laurence was my WOTN.

1999 Château Pradeaux, Bandol
Honeycomb on the nose, then caramel. Actually, it smells a bit like I remember a Curly Wurly smelling in about 1974. On the palate, there's sweet fruit initially, then it becomes really rather savoury. Lovely soft texture. Something a bit odd about it, maybe even wrong, but I quite like it. 91/100

1999 Hermitage, Marc Sorel
A slightly confected, gently lifted nose. Lovely palate with nice sweet fruit. Fairly direct and lacking any particular complexity, but very enjoyable. 89/100

1996 Trevallon
The nose is slightly rubbery, with some stale tea and greenish notes. Very interesting fruit character on the palate. Some wine gums there. Good structure and good length. Though it doesn't really go anywhere. 89/100

1997 Taurasi Radici Riserva, Mastroberardino
Gently sweetish, uncomplicated fruit on the nose. Some smoke and cigarette ash ... no, I think that's coming from outside again. Lovely palate, with fairly precise, sweetish fruit. Very nicely structured. 90/100

2000 Elise, Château La Dournie, Saint-Chinian, 13.5%
A very deep colour. Very concentrated, sweet black fruit on the nose, along with some orangey notes. Very ripe, sweet black fruit on the palate. There's quite a floral life on the palate too. Very soft and easy. 87/100

1997 Les Bruandières Grains Nobles, AC Côteaux du Layon Saint Aubin, Domaine Cady
A fresh, subtle nose with some sweet honeydew melon. Lovely fresh palate. There's lots of lovely acidity to balance a gentle sweetness. Good length. 90/100

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Last updated: 8 December 2009