Now we are back to more or less some sort of ‘end of January’ sense, even though it does seem that the world outside of this office has gone completely mad, and who could imagine that after a few words ’a la’ Roberto Burns, today of course being his birthday, that this day would continue without a single drop of burn(s) water or without a drop of aged old Juani Walker non-racist labeled Blend-on-Bye. (by the way, I would not recommend to wash your or my dog’s teeth with the stuff) And in the meantime, some say “hae meat an canna eat, and some wad eat that want it; But we hae meat, and we can eat, And sae let the Lord be thankit”
So we saluted and ‘toasted in’ the mollejas (sweetbreads) and the beef (aged for longer here than when I saw the last full moon) and we opened a glorious a bottle of claret from the 2000 vintage, Ch.Leoville Barton. Now this is not the first time, thank goodness, that I have drunk such a wonderful bottle of claret from the shores of St.Julien, but when you get THE good bottle, you really know the difference. And needless to say, this was a goodie.
“And then his knife see rustic Labour dicht,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready slicht,
Trenching your gushing entrails bricht,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sicht,
A most welcome, mid-starter, rainfall ensued, and the local temperature dropped from 33 degrees to a welcome 18 degrees, within minutes. How kind nature can be when we least expect her to be, god bless her for that. And thank god I am a wine-drinker (taster), and can remember what it was like when it rained in wee bonnie Scotland, back in the day, when we used to leave early in the morning to ‘do’ a duck flight and the the only accompaniament, at breakfast, was a half decent red burgundy to set us all up for the day.
Well, now keeping in mind our favourate wine supplier, here, accompanied by our favourate local customs officer, are present, let me not forget that whilst the ‘pipe skins’ are filling, we did indeed salute the Lassies, even tho’none present at the table, along with the Cullen Skink, which we aptly washed down with E.Sadie’s (Blacklands) Skerpioen 2014, decanted and gracefully chilled by the champion of sommeliers, Viviana del’Elena. Now this is no simple Chenin Blanc, as the gorgeous madame Sadie has blended, and so intelligently, it with their wild-bush (zoo biscuit) Palomino. Terrific, terrific stuff.
Now, the lassies have been Lassied, and as we cannot Laddy the laddies, not our job to do so, we followed up with a decanted 2000 Ch.Leoville Barton. Well if ever there is an example of old-skool claret, from one of the great vintages of the last 50 years. This is one of ‘eM. I am not going to sweet talk you through my intimate experience of this wine, as I will start droolling and crying so much that the key-pad on this dam machine will JAM up. (Just About Managing)
Absolutely spectacular from bottle and the decanter, but still a bit closed and almost backward, with massive power and structure, the saturated purple-colored of this Leoville Barton is really one of the greatest wines ever made at this estate, or that I have tasted from it. The wine has smoakey, earthy notes intermixed with graphite, camphor, damp earth, jammy cassis, cedar, and a hint of mushroom. Enormous, even monstrous in the mouth, with tremendous extraction, broodingly backward, dense flavors, and copious tannins, this should prove to be one of the longest-lived wines of the vintage and one of the most compelling Leoville Bartons’ ever made.
Now after all that gumf, who the hell wants to put something sweet ‘en la boca’. Me for sure no thanks, so once the pipes had faded, we put on our willies, I mean our wellies, and headed off into a fit of pre-menstrual ‘first footing’. A few blocks away the SOIL brothers were footed.
We need to complete the ceremony of the day and it can only be done with a 1995 Burns session. Why 1995? I really have no idea, but if one can be bothered to go back pre-2000, in the vintage charts, it really is a European vintage to be dealt with and we have no excuses to fall short. So, The Robbie Burns effect took over and a bottle of 1995 Ch.Palmer, appeared with Irish know-how and a bottle of 1995 Sammarco, from Panzano village in Chianti, made by the Rampolla family still living, of course, at their wonderful Castello dei Rampolla.
‘Holy Willie was a rather oldish bachelor elder, in the parish of Mauchline, and much and justly famed for that polemical chattering which ends in tippling orthodoxy, and for that spiritualized bawdry which refines to liquorish devotion. In a sessional process with a gentleman in Mauchline, a Mr. Gavin Hamilton, Holy Willie and his priest, Father Auld, after a full hearing in the Presbytery of Ayr, came off but second best, owing partly to the oratorical powers of Mr. Robert Aiken, Mr. Hamilton’s counsel, but chiefly to Mr. Hamilton’s being one of the most irreproachable and truly respectable characters in the country. On losing his process, the muse overheard him at his devotions.’
My devotional tastings notes follow, for those who can be bothered. But please just buy the dam stuff and drink it, enjoy it, as Life is too short bla bla blarrrrr…
We know that the Palmer was bottled in July, 1997, infact on my birthday, and that there is an extremely high percentage of Merlot (about 43%, maybe 44%) in the blend. It is a gloriously opulent, low acidic and fleshy Palmer that is a keeper, tho’ drinking just so beautifully now. It has a dark ruby, purple-colour with smoakyy, toasty new oak intertwined with gobby gobs of jammy cherry fruit, and floral and chocolate tones. It is indeed medium to full-bodied. A bit like a pregnant woman, plump, elegant and impressively nearly ready to produce. BravissimO!!!!
On the table next to this Irish-French jewel there is a 100% Tuscan effort awaiting in the decanter. A 1995 Sammarco (without doubt one of my favourate red wines of this world) showed us glorious, dark ruby & purple-colours . The Cabernet Sauvignon (in the syle of a Mouton-Rothschild) backed up with some 30% of Sangiovese. Still a rich, full-bodied, complex super-Tuscan reminiscent of a great claret. Hints of tobacco, tar, lead pencil, roasted herbs, and copious black cherries and cassis slowly emerge as the wine sits in the glass begging for a plate of roasted wild boar. It is still full-bodied and shows of delicately roasted minerality. Pure, rich, and well structured, still with notable tannins.
So as we put away the Sporran for another year and eagerly await the arrival of our 2014 Bordeaux shipment….
‘Here’s tae us, Wha’s like us, Damn few, And they’re a’ deid’.