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SuperBOWL 2002

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The pre-event dinner

reporter: Stephen Pickles

Ah, the plink, plink, fizz has now stopped and I am in full recovery from sleep deprivation and palate fatigue, even my teeth are returning to the more normal yellow/white.

The pre-amble on friday night was more of a pre-gallop, not helped by public transport leaving me 20 minutes late. Before I had removed my coat and unclipped a pen I had a glass of serious white Burgundy arrived at my place and I was playing catch up, trying to remember who was who, read a menu and chat to Hugh and Bryan sitting next to me.

Remoissenets Montrachet Grand Cru 1999
Oak and very primary fruits jumped out here and the creamy oak and melon/pineapple notes followed on the palate - a little young maybe? but very good.

Château Haut Gleon 1994 - Corbières
An extremely unusual Corbières blanc, a bottle with the biggest punt I had ever seen. Spicy and sweet on the nose with a floral hint - honeysuckle. Dry on the palate but full and rich honey and a touch of ginger make this a real pleasure. Interesting wine, I could have drunk a bottle of this.

Les Plantiers du Haut Brion Blanc 1995
It seemed like a headlong rush from now on, but that was just excellent conversation, and a lot of good wine to mull over. This had quite an oaky nose and slighty submerged citrus fruit, gentle waxy lemon fruit on the palate but the oak still dominates a little to much to me - better in time? Or is my desperatley untrained palate fading already - have I peaked to soon?

I have food now and all the wines taste better, influence of the Old School Classicists dragging me with them? We open the Champagne that I brought, the muddled order created by my lateness and the need for the bottle to sit for a while before opening.

Drappier Carte D'Or 1983
Very golden , but not oxidised, fading mousse of fine bubbles (served in ordinary wine glass). Powerful almond and toast nose leads into a good nutty, lemon sherbet palate, I thought this was good, but offline wines are like children, do you ever hate your own?

Naboth Vineyard Clos St Anne Pinot Noir 1998
An engaging NZ pinot followed: very redcurrant, rich earthy nose. Quite tannic with good red fruit and acid to balance it all - this was going well with the food and I thought it was very good.

Turley Old Vine Zinfandel 1996 - California
Spicy, sweet almost porty nose (it was some daft strength), this follows on the palate with fine firm tannins, smooth, full dark fruit and a hint that this is about to blossom with secondary development, have we just committed infanticide? It was very good and my venison liked it too.

By now Hugh and I were on the wine with food trail and the problems of visiting a vineyard when you don't share a language. Next on the wine list was:

Caballo Loco No 1 - Chile
Absolutley black, very sweet fruit on the nose followed by a big lush palate,this is very big red and black fruits but I think its to much for me at this stage.

Amadis Rotlan Torra Priorat 1998 - Spain
This was big and black and spicey black fruits on the nose, which followed through on the palate with a meaty black fruits and spice finish, just too young?I t was very good though.

Finally desserts came and with it calls for several things from the list. Unfortunately several did not exist, but the 1947 Coteaux de Layon - yes that is a 4 in the 47 part - did lie in the cellar and came courtesy of Mark Pearce. This really was Wine Of The Night for me; not only did it predate me by two decades, but it bamboozled me into thinking it was younger than me.

Moulin Touchais Reserve de Fondateur 1947
Dark gold, Russet apples and honey on nose. Palate is rich, and thick; apples, honey and a chalky minerality and finish that lasts until I am half way home. Excellent.

The final wine - a riesling Auslese from JJ Prüm - was undoubtedly fine, but I had peaked with the 1947. Susan showed up to cart me home, and I sat back and reflected in the magnificent start to a magnificent weekend.

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