I am starting to learn about the kind of wine I actually do like…

After 38 years in the wine business (NOT trade) and I am just getting to the stage where I am starting to learn about the kind of wine I actually do like. I don’t think it’s an age thing, I think its just having tasted my way around the world over the last decades, that finally I can rest my laurels, a bit.

Once upon a time, I would have drunk anything that was well made, and of course los vinous comunos and some horrors. But these days there are well made wines that are offered onto the market just too young and obviously, over acidic, and over tannic. I just cannot do that anymore. And to be honest, I do not want to either. How spoilt am I?

Having been lucky enough to survive fifty odd? years of earthly mineral existence, I decided to celebrate with a dinner at my favorite gaff, Roux. It’s not an eatery, it is a proper restaurant here, (Not easy to find. Nooo not the place silly, proper restaurants that is) though so busy these days that I could only get a table for after 22.30hrs. But what the hell, it’s my b’day and I don’t plan to go to bed until way into the wee small hours.

The food was delicious, kicking off with Griviche. A seafood salad of shrimps, mussels, cuttlefish and gravlax all delivered that morning from Villa La Angostura in the south of Argentina. A dash of avocado and wasabe blended on the side (not hot at all).

Then a small warming Sopa de Cebolla, which if my memory serves me, there were one or two langostines floating around in there, actually doing the backstroke.

The principal plate, and at this stage you may be asking were the hell is the meat? Well my dear readers, as I eat beef almost everyday, today is the day to enjoy one of the freshest, finest Lenguado I have had the pleasure of tucking into. All the way from las Malvinas, cooked to a tea and served with a mash of Cauliflower, fresh veggies (sorry I cannot remember this bit) and black olive gnocchi.

I ate two portions. 

Not really being a pudding guy, would have loves some great cheese and having devoured the best part of a dinner for two, they sweetly prepared a mini Pavlova of passion fruit mousse and redcurrant sorbet, and topped it off with a candle. Amazing!

The celebration wines (no Champagne this year) drunk over the day look like this:

2014 Mullineux Old Vines White, Swartland

I first drank this wine (not the vintage) in 2010. Thanks to an old fashioned St.James’s based wine merchant. The 2014 is a terrific blend of Chenin Blanc (so old, bush vines that they have no age), and for the wine-geeks 73%, with a touch of both Viognier (7%) and Semillon GRIS (7%) .. well that does not add up? ah haa! I forgot the more or less dam important 13% Clairette Blanche, whatever that is. And if I am not too wrong, it could be a version of Ugni Blanc. I will put money on that, if anyone wants to have a go.

I love this wine and wish I could could age some, alas, thurst over storage always wins. Almondy, baked apples backed up with a peachiness and finish of soft lemon peel and apricot. My god this is a wine not a dam fruit salad. The acidity and careful barrel fermentation makes it clear that this is of course a great wine only.

2000 Corton-Charlemagne, Bonneau de Martray

I have kept some of these bottles since release, and it is always a great pleasure to open one. Totally consistent, even the paper wrapping is still perfect, which I guess is an important part of the good preservation. Deep golden straw color with a density to the wine. Super elegant Chardonnay coming though layers of lemon peel (more of that eh) grapefruit and green English apples. Long finish to a clean finish, and this bottle evaporated infront of my eyes. Please buy this wine in magnums only.

1962 Ch.Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac

Corked, a bit like me….good color though and what a pretty label.

1989 Sassicaia, Tenuta San Guido

Having just sold my last bottles of 1985 I thought 1989 might be a good wine to drink now, celebrate, and to be a bit more realistic from La Costa Bolgheri.

Well, wether it’s just my nostalgia clicking in or wether I just love this style of Vino da Tavola Toscana, probably the latter, I cannot drink enough of it. Cabernet Sauvignon apparent, but pure Tuscan sexyness through and through. Chianti style with Cinderella glass slippers. Smokey, refined, and I am not making this up. A hint of white truffle. Not long on the palate (what a shame as it would be just right if it was), but totally enjoyable with three plates of Palacio de la Papa Frita (Papas Souffle, Papa Pi or Baston and Papa Rejilla). My guests thought it was a basic Chianti Classico and quaffed, almost the lot.

2004 Clos Martinet, Priorat

A 100% pre-phyloxera Grenache. What a treat. I know things were different in 2005 but this bottle went down very well with a good game or two of Backgammon and a puff or two of M-Jane. Meaty, floral, ripe tannins and the sort of wine structure one wished many more wines would accomplish. It makes it just so easy to drink and a great pleasure indeed.

I am looking forward to next year already… anyone for chess?