Thursday, 28 April 2011.
Cambridge University Wine Society Annual Dinner 2011, welcoming Baron Eric de Rothschild of Chateau Lafite Rothschild.
Champagne Pol Roger Vintage 2000
From magnums. Plenty of baked biscuit, yeasty overtones. Palate is full, plenty of acidity keeping it going, overlayed by fat citrus fruits. Delicious, heady, very poised.
Smoked salmon and anchovy butter terrine with rocket salad and avocado cream.
2010 Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc, Chile
Really lively, fresh green fruits, lots of grassy, herbal tones, gooseberry and asparagus abound - very very green, no holds barred approach more befitting of a Kiwi Sauv Blanc than a Chilean one. Clean acidity, cleanses the palate, refreshing stuff. Well made.
2010 Aussieres Blanc, VdP Languedoc
A great contrast to the loud Sauv Blanc above. This Chardonnay was far more understated, white fruits are there, peach blossoms; palate was textured and filling, acidity runs through, slight minerality also showing. Balanced, refreshing.
Rump of slow roasted lamb, potato fondant, glazed carrots and chargrilled asparagus with red currant and mustard gravy.
2004 Chateau Duhart Milon, 4er Cru Classse Pauillac
Textbook Bordeaux - ripe red fruits, cassis, with a touch of woody tobacco and cedar, masculine in style. Palate was firm, with vibrant acidity still showing, fruits also to the fore; palate is sustained though not impressive. Fine tannins. Showing nicely now, but will age gracefully for another 10-20 years. Solid wine.
2003 Carruades de Lafite, Pauillac.
Voluptuous in the nose, really does jump at you, beckons you in. Definitely cedar and cigar box on the nose, with some pencil shavings, all loitering with cassis. Palate still so vibrant and fresh, think ripe dark berries and cherries with nice acidity. Very well put together; so expressive and generous. Will improve for at least another 10 years.
Brillat savarin, St Nectaire, Lincolnshire poacher & Mimolette with fruit and crackers
1998 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, 1er Cru Pauillac
Textbook, ripe red fruits; cedar, mahogany and graphite / pencil shavings; really quite pronounced, masculine stuff. On the palate it was lively, fresh;the primary dark fruits still to the fore, acidity all in check; what was remarkable was the purity and focused of expression of fruit, great concentration; as expected, great length. Tannins at the back just reminding that this is merely a glimpse of its true potential; simply stunning. Will improve, easily another 20-30 years.
1988 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, 1er Cru Pauillac
A more muted expression, not as heady or big as the '98. Some earthy notes starting to show, burnt tobacco almost; there is an almost floral note to this, rose petals. Palate still very fresh and vibrant, generously filling. Fine tannins only showing towards the end. Still a classy expression, though I suspect in absolute terms this wasnt as good a wine as the '98. Showing very well now, probbaly will develop for another decade or so.
Fruit of the forest terrine in elderflower water
2006 Chateau Rieussec, 1er Cru Sauternes
Vivacious nose, floral and lifted. Deeply honeyed, citrus, candied fruits on the nose; real depth to the nose. Palate has nice acidity running through it, good presence. Ticks all the right boxes for a quality Sauternes. I feel that its still rather edgy at the moment.
1988 Chateau Rieussec, 1er Cru Sauternes
Wow, this is something. Even after the bottle aging, this is still so voluptuous and lively, almost leaping out. Floral, honey, acacia all dancing on the glass. Palate is settled but still lush and full, flavour comes in waves, so much depth, gravitas and poise. Great length. Acidity maybe starting to fade but this is a very joyful wine. Superlatives all around. Will give great enjoyment now and for the next decade or so.