13 Oct 2007


'The sense of humour seems to me to be one of the most precious human attributes. Humour failure is a certain prelude to death. (And if God does exist, sexual reproduction is proof that He or She has a sense of humour.)'

[Right to Left: Will and Bertie, Cellar Society; Brendan, River Café and me]

A METAL tube with propellers buzzes travellers to Guernsey. Despite their scale, the safety record of these small island-hoppers is excellent.

We resided, and performed, at the Femain Valley Hotel, owned by the magnate of the aformentioned airline. It has an on site cinema, in room sherry filled decanters and green softened views of the bay. More entertainment than that in-flight. A good start to a spectacular liquid line-up!

'90 Penfolds Bin 707 - the 'Cabernet Grange' had a liberal, sexy nose evoking cookie dough. Tannin was still present on the eloquent palate with good acidity, fine eye-liner pencil shavings and stylish maple-vanillin smoke. Avrus '01, a new wave Rioja was unlit in its ebony centred, purple-fringed appearance, but dynamic on the palate with upfront fruit - almost Chilean. The highlight however was Château Cheval Blanc '89, offered in 75CL bottle and magnum. Rather more exciting the damp '80. [CLICK for previous post, then scroll]

Burnt umber in colour. On the nose earthy, enduring, with profuse violets, a pepper-perfume, prunes, subtle but present fruit, turned compost, moss. Cabernet Franc is sherpa. On the palate, very soft tannins (silken even). Graceful. A dab of aloe vera emerged from the cigar box dominance. Beyond easy definition; more of a sensation. Seraphic.

Earthier, with less fruit on the nose but more on the palate.

I naturally enjoyed meeting this vintage, but it will reward more years undrunk. As Disraeli said, 'patience is a necessary ingredient of genius...'


En-route back to Guernsey International, a herd of fawnes flashed their bottoms.

Liquorice infused Jersey Black Butter was deemed a security risk at check-in and ordered out from hand luggage stowage. Quite right too.