Date: 28-Jul-2005 09:01
Author: Nicos Neocleous Email
Subject: TN: Wednesday evening lunch with friends – 27/07/05
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TN: Wednesday evening lunch with friends – 27/07/05
Four friends gathered at the St John restaurant for dinner on a windy and rain-swept summers evening in London. I was fortunate to have been among them and it is my distinct honour to be able to recount a few details. The players this evening were myself (your humble narrator), Nigel and Sophie Williams and Gavin Rankin. This fine wine quartet was content on catching up with each other over a modest number of wines and hearty food.
As ever, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. All were on playful form. I could tell from the sparkle in Sophie’s eyes that she enjoyed my recollection of purchasing a 14-inch wok earlier the same day, along with some Jasmine tea. The restaurant performed admirably with the food and service. We even managed to spot a minor celebrity from the world of media and television. I know you are curious to know what fine bottles of fermented grape juice we drank, so here goes.
Firstly, my dishes. I started with the rabbit’s livers on toast, a hearty beginning and the sauce was moreish. My main of roast beef with green beans and anchovy was delightful. For dessert, I plumped for the chocolate and hazelnut cake, which proved tasty but too dry for my liking. Still, I was not terribly disappointed.
1) 2003 Domaine Vacheron – Les Romains (Sancerre, Loire, France)
I decided to bring this along to introduce my friends to the finer Sancerre’s of the world. This old vine cuvee was pale lemon, with some subtle new oak on the nose and a hint of lemon. The rounded citrus mouthfeel showed a good balance and a lovely length. Certainly drinkable now though I have little doubt this will still be nice in 2 years time. 89+/100.
2) 1999 Cote-Rotie – Rene Rostaing (N.Rhone, France)
This 13% alcohol wine had been double decanted 4 hours ahead. Opaque red, with hints of smoky bacon, very fine herbs and dry cherries. Silky smooth on the palate with a fine thread of buoyant acidity and a quite respectable length. The finish was clean and a little dry. This wine is certainly drinkable now. 91/100.
3) 1998 Lagier Meredith – Mount Veeder (Napa Valley, California, USA)
Thanks to Gavin for bringing this along. Poured straight from the bottle, no decanting. Opaque purple, this 100% Syrah wine showed pure black plums and a hint of liquorice on the nose. Bold acidity, pure dark fruits, good length, soft mouthfeel and easy to drink. A lovely wine that has now entered its drinking window. 92/100.
4) 2000 Lagier Meredith – Mount Veeder (Napa Valley, California, USA)
Double decanted 4 ½ hours ahead of time. Opaque purple, with a hint of new oak and pine on the nose. Balanced black fruits, good acidity but shy on the palate. Nice potential but needs a year or two to open up from its current sleep. 90/100.
5) 1976 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese – Weingut Albert Gessinger (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany)
Who said I didn’t like fine German sweet wines? Poured straight from the 375ml bottle. Amber gold with a pale rim. The nose showed predominately beeswax, and hints of marmalade and quince. Very fine acidity, light ripe apricots and marmalade jam, excellent length and a clean finish. So incredibly fresh for a 29 year old wine! Not sure if it will improve any more, but no hurry to drink it. My WOTN and I was so happy with its showing. 93+/100.