26 May 2007

Greater Plentitude

FEELING FLUSH, four friends and I took a Sideways look at an '80 Château Cheval Blanc - my birth year.
With a well-developed rim twinkling with tawny flecks, this unusually dark character relinquished a quite muscular, ever so slightly Burgundian nose of sweaty French peasant with eucylpt undertones before prunes, dried cherries and after some time in the glass, a spread of wallpaper paste.
On the palate, bright acidity entwined a wine that played hide and seek. Just clipped privet hedge and iron-ore, Tunbridge Wells-esque spring water came to mind, or more specifically, the original rusty winch beside the reception desk at Vinopolis. Pleasant, but a little past its 'Best Before', it took time to surrender any real warmth, no doubt the result of a pedestrian vintage. An interesting insight however.
Mainly Cabernet Franc, then Merlot, the label (click picture to enlarge) still shows the strategic medals garnered at the International London and Paris Exhibitions in 1862 and 1867.
Amongst other icons opened, a half of Havens '00 Bourriquot from a family run Napa winery, barely two decades young. Again predominantly Franc, then Merlot, this opulent, stylish wine shone. It in fact made my toes curl with its full frontal but balanced blueberry and blackberry fruit. Complex, concentrated, poignant, with a velvet texture and seamless finish.
Tout de suite, we liberated a '94 Gran Reserva Rioja - Urbina. With a cosseting warmth, brie, rocket leaves and coconut husks vividly appeared during the safe passage of this exotic, sensual wine. I remember a companion saying something about it resembling the scorched soils of the Republic of Mozambique(?)
An '02 Gevrey-Chambertin, 'Les Forneaux' by one Jean Philippe Marchand ensued, possessing a palate of greater plentitude than the nose suggested. Quite bracing, I wanted to turn-up its volume, however.
'03 Julicher Pinot Noir from Martinborough, New Zealand dovetailed proceedings. As per my PREVIOUS POST, this again proved to be 'a taught, handsome yet simultaneously feminine wine with typical, but brightly full raspberry and wild strawberry aromas.'
One thing I noticed, scanning wine labels at the L.I.W.S.F., is how memories of drinking certain wines come to the fore. Alas I remember sharing a bottle of this darling wine with a former girlfriend out of plastic cups on an Edinburgh-bound train before we absorbed the dream of Madame Butterfly...
Pictured, a flocculent fish-finger (cod) buttie from Fish!, Borough Market. The perfect antidote to travels with my hangover, I didn't even know fish had fingers!