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Champagne, Burgundy, Rhône and Sauternes

by Tom Cannavan, 02/01

This was a small private dinner at Edinburgh's Au Plaisir du Chocolat restaurant.

Gosset Champagne Grande Réserve NV
A steady flow of tiny bubbles. Very sweet attack. Rich and mouthfilling, with a lush, ripe mouthful of buttery, broad fruit backed up by a mouthwatering lemon acidity. Full mousse and a lovely richness to this, must contain some nice old wine in the blend. Lovely stuff.

Domaine L. Boillot (Burgundy) Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Combettes 1993
Pale to medium gold. Very lovely nose of toasted sesame seeds, nuts, honey. orange and some vanilla. The palate is very fine: a beautiful, taut balance of elegant, quite weighty fruit and pure, citrus and mineral acidity at its core. Stays quite generous though, fleshed out in the finish by creamy, spicy notes. Lovely.

Domaine Colin-Deleger (Burgundy) Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Vergers 1992
Less overt oak, but plenty of stylish honeyed fruit with little notes of apricot kernel and plenty of lemon and an integrated background of sweet oak. Much more subdued on the palate. Very supple and drinking nicely with fine length on the palate and good structure though lower acidity overall than the Boillot. Drinking well.

Domaine d'Arlot (Burgundy) Nuits St George 1er Cru Clos des Forêts 1990
Youthful oak still on the nose, with notes of coffee, nuts then a herbal, wild, lavender note. There is deep baked red plum and warm, lightly bloody nuances. On the palate this is just a little lean. There is such a firm backbone of acidity and tight tannins that the fruit is dominated. Lots of quality, but will the fruit outlast the acidity?

Domaine E. Rouget (Burgundy) Echezaux Grand Cru 1987
A very fine, peppery, spicy nose with lots of finely-wrought raspberyy fruit. Quite earthy too. A silky mouthfeel of real quality; very elegant with a lovely ripeness of fruit that is still pure and compact, backed up by fine tannic structure and acidity which is just starting to become troublesome. Still, an utterly lovely wine from a weak vintage.

Mount Olivet (Rhône) Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1994
This was a bottle which had been opened the day before and re-corked overnight. Medium ruby colour, just browning at rim. Baked fruit aromas of plum and cherry. Palate is a little tough, but possibly just suffering from oxidisation.

Clos des Papes (Rhône) Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1995
Very dark, rich colour. A lovely animal quality on the nose. Brooding, dark and muscular, with a core of cherry and briar wood. Sinuous, solid core of blue/black fruit on the palate. Beefy and very tight, this is spicy and tannic but with fine length. Good structure, fine concentration and lots of class. Very good indeed.

Château Climens (Bordeaux) Sauternes 1er Cru 1975
Quite a deep gold colour. Lots of gently honeyed, barley-sugar bouquet, some nuttiness and just a hint of fig. On the palate quite lush still, with a broad raft of acidity and fairly simple framework of sweet fruit, but a delightful way to finish a fine meal.