16 Nov 2007

Beau Breakfast

AFTER A PARTLY thrilling but mostly unsettling train journey, which involved a disgruntled commuter attempting to throttle another, Thursday morning progressed with hazy glasses of Domaine de Buis-Rond organic Beaujolais Nouveau. Taken in the perpetual nightly decay-dence of Gordon's, Charing Cross, this survivor emerged from the hail stone hit, cold, wet vintage with a pretty - almost dainty - nose but a confused palate possessive of a "bicycle frame" aftertaste. A larger than life French lady on the next table proudly used her tastevin to peer into the tartaric umbilical formation left behind.
I ended the day assisting with a deluxe wine tasting dinner within a very unexpected room deep inside the Andaz (formerly known as The Great Eastern Hotel), Liverpool Street. Read about the curious philosophy behind the name change, which marks Conran Holdings departure, HERE.
The space was in actuality a temple, complete with brass fluted organ, an imposing, elaborate, Victorian decorative juxtaposition of tons of Italian marble, sturdy carved congregation and even a painted sky. Amongst the wines, worthy of serious praise, were '02 Meursault 1ER Cru Les Genevrières. A nose of Munster and minerals gave way to a lush, quite sleek marginally tropical wine. Also burnt black bacon with an enduring finish. Leewin Estate's '03 Art Series, from Margaret River, with evocations of smoked mango, proved ephemeral alongside.
Alion '01, child of Vega Sicilia (Ribera del Duero) had an intense core with a strikingly demarcated blushingly faded edge. On the nose, soft peppermint, sundried tomatoes, double espresso and blackcurrant; hot, but feathered tannins on the palate. Enthralling. Also sampled, perfect sweetbreads and Rotllán Torra Tirant '01, from Priorat, West of Taragona - as black as ebony with licorella terroir sluicing through the gently smoky, dark fruit of the nose, and with a pronounced herbeacous streak.