23 Jun 2007

Haute Cuisine, Literally

I PRESENTED a deluxe doublet from the 28th floor vertiginous vantage of Galvin at Windows at the Park Lane Hilton. Working for the Cellar Society, I was armed with two 1990s in this 1980s venue: Château Léoville Las Cases and Tenuta dell'Ornellia.
The Las Cases, a St. Julien, was firm on the nose, but initially reticient on the palate. After earthy, leathery aromas were olfactorily excavated, cassis, sauna cedar, some green bell pepper, 5B grade pencils and kirsch surfaced - a building intellectual library of flavour. Tannin was still noticeable; time in decanter paid dividends.
The Ornellaia from Ludovico, nephew of legendary Marchesi Piero Antinori [PREVIOUS], was more to my taste. With a melting brie nose, this assured feline was subtle (but strategic) with a silken mouthfeel, discreet oak. Utterly charming with a thrilling acidity although Helena, Swedish model (pouring; herself also thrilling) described tasting this wine in negative terms, "like stroking a cat backwards..." Damn fate, why am I not felis domestica?
I think the tannins require integration (given time). I particularly savoured the hint of real mint tea on the finish. French class, Italian warmth.
Pictured, also sampled, Clos de Lambrays Grand Cru, Morey St. Denis: supple, perfumed, a bright blessing with no noticeable angles. The Clos de Bèze from Faiveley was muscular, but toned.
Incidentally I stayed at this hotel with my parents, aged nine. I remember seeing an elderly affluent escort his leggy 'niece' in the lower floor bar. So tightly wrapped in mini skirt was she that she required assistance from the aforementioned to negotiate a one step incline...