wine-pages.com home who's who review user agreement old forum TNs

UK Drinks Forums Post New Topic  New Poll  Post A Reply
my profile | directory login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» UK Drinks Forums » UK Wine Forum » TN: Alex in London (3): Dinner with Nigel and Sophie Williams (with photos) (Page 1)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!   This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: TN: Alex in London (3): Dinner with Nigel and Sophie Williams (with photos)
Nicos Neocleous
Solomon
Member # 133

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nicos Neocleous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
TN: Alex in London (3): Dinner with Nigel and Sophie Williams (with photos)

Prologue


The world of wine has enriched my life no end. I have met some truly fantastic persons during my national and international travels. They transcend the world of wine and make me happy to be in their presence. I always look forward to meeting up with them and sharing time together. You cannot put a value on this kind of friendship.

One such friend is Nigel “Magnificent Performance” Williams. His love of wine is merely one string to his bow of interests, of which singing professionally and working with first edition books are merely others. I have always enjoyed any precious hours with both him and his lovely wife Sophie, herself accomplished in a number of fields.


Sunny Sunday

So, it was with happiness in my heart that I drove to deepest Kent to meet up with Nigel and Sophie. Alex Anthopoulos was still my guest from the USA, and a mutual friend of the Williams’. We had a fun Sunday filled agenda lined up. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and our drive down to Kent was most relaxing. Firstly, a swift luncheon with a couple of wines, as follows.

1) 1990 N.Joly – Clos de la Coulee de Serrant (Saviennieres, Loire, France)
Thanks to Nigel to opening another of his bottles of this idiosyncratic wine. From bottle, 13% alcohol. Bright mid gold, sniff after sniff revealed beeswax and fresh almonds. The palate was very dry with a thread of citrus, a moderately long length, but certainly in an odd phase. None of us derived much pleasure from drinking this wine, and that is saying something given that Nigel and I list the Loire whites as one of our favourites. I would be generous if I described this as an “intellectual wine”, but it says a lot that we did not even finish ½ of the bottle on this warm Sunday.

2) 1998 Andre Perret – Condrieu – Coteaux de Chery (N.Rhone, France)
After the 1990 Coulee de Serrant disappointment, Nigel immediately fetched this bottle from his well stocked cellar. Light gold, with a fresh nose of apricots and a hint of anise. The mouthfeel was refreshing, rounded, subtle fresh apricots and peaches. Still improving after 10 years, and a joy to drink. Who said Condrieu does not age and improve? For my tastes, this bottle demonstrated that it does.


The Classical Music Performance

After our impromptu luncheon, we headed off to Hythe by the sea. Nigel and Sophie had very kindly invited us to a classical music concert at the St Leonard’s Church in Hythe. Situated perfectly on the top of the hillside overlooking the sea, the church is over 1,000 years old and truly a national treasure. Aside from worship, there are other activities and classical music performances are one facet.

The Programme

A. Johann Sebastian Bach

Nine selected arias for soprano, obligato instrument and continuo.

B. Georg Friedrich Handel
From ‘Neun deutsche Arien’ for soprano, violin and basso continuo.

C. Ludvig van Beethoven
Six songs from ‘Neues Volksliederheft’ for voice and piano trio.

The Performers

Dorothee Jansen (soprano) would be performing! She was born in Bonn and began her career at the Cologne Opera. Supporting her was:
- Hanns Heinz Odenthal (violin);
- Rachel Waltham (cello);
- Haydn Rawstron (harpsichord/piano).


The Performance

I am certainly no expert when it comes to providing critical review of such a performance. I enjoyed it quite a bit, though the arias for Bach could have been fewer in number. Following the words in the programme was also entertaining, especially for the Beethoven Tyrolese folk songs. I cannot possibly comment on the alleged violin players mistakes on timing or notes, though perhaps others may wish to do so.


Dinner time

Enjoying the picturesque drive back to the Williams residence, we looked forward to a superb dinner prepared by Sophie. We were not disappointed in the slightest. Wave after wave of courses flowed seemingly effortlessly from Sophie’s hands and we were all treated to a stunning display of culinary excellence.
There was a seamless transition from classical culture to viticulture as we opened the first of our dinner wines.

3) 1962 Niersteines Paterberg: Muller-Thurgau & Sylvaner: R.Hasselbach, Weinbau Nierstein a Rh (Germany)
I brought along this rare wine from my German cellar to treat both Nigel and Alex to a birth year wine. Sourced from an impeccable cellar, it had been bought by the original owner many years ago and stored in the same cool cellar until very recently. Light gold, the nose was a tad funky to begin with. However, I have learnt to be patient with older wines, and after 5-10 minutes, the funk blew off and it began to open up. I could smell fresh grapefruit and a mineral complexity. Sip after sip revealed a fine thread of sweetness, slightly off-dry at the start. With more air, the finish is dry with a hint of austerity. There was still life in this 46 year old wine and we enjoyed its charms until all the wine was gone.

Photos

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35984349@N03/3500034809/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35984349@N03/3500855312/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35984349@N03/3500854622/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35984349@N03/3500856106/


4) 1997 Chateau de Beaucastel – Chateauneuf du Pape blanc – Vieilles Vignes (S.Rhone, France)
Mid amber/golden in colour. The nose showed a nougat sweetness and a hint of fresh mango. Lean and dry to start with, it developed its spicy, vibrant, rounded palate. This wine appears to be coming out of its controversial oxidative phase.


5) 1964 Vouvray – Marc Bredif – Moelleux (Loire, France)
I brought this along as I knew both Nigel and I were fans of Vouvray, and that both Alex and Sophie would enjoy this rare bottle. The bottle does not state Moelleux on the label, but I had been assured by the seller that it was such. Served cool, the brilliant light gold optic was crystal clear. The nose gave us beeswax and a hint of sweetness. Medium sweet, very fresh and completely seamless. The length went on and on yet the finish ended up dry and clean. This wine is now in its perfect drinking window for me, where it should stay for many more years to come. Grace Kelly in a glass. Interestingly, it was noticeably sweeter than the last bottle I had drunk 3 weeks earlier, even though they had come from the same case! I do love a good Vouvray.

Photos

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35984349@N03/3500037973/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35984349@N03/3500038563/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35984349@N03/3500857920/


6) 1999 Rene Rostaing – Cote Rotie – Cote Blonde (N.Rhone, France)
Decanted 2 hours before, and my thanks to Nigel for opening this hard to find bottle. I was served the wine double blind and tried to make a guess at what it was. I took two sniffs and guessed N.Rhone, then narrowed it down to Cote Rotie or Hermitage from a ‘big year’. The bacon fat on the nose steered me to Cote Rotie. Sophie then launched into an incredibly successful performance of charades to give me clues to nail the wine. She asked me how I had prepared her marvellous chicken in the oven, which was roasted, which led me to Rene Rostaing. She sang Prince’s “We’re going to party like it’s...” and of course I guessed 1999. To nail the wine completely, she tossed her perfectly coiffured blonde fringe and I guessed Cote Blonde. YES!

Deep red, with dark fruits, black liquorice and bacon fat on the nose. Still very young, good acidity, well extracted black fruits and ripe tannins lead to a long length. This wine should develop well over the next 20+ years.

7) 2003 Pax – Syrah – Cuvee Christine – Sonoma County (California, USA)
Decanted for 7 hours,, 15.6% alcohol on the label. Opaque red, the nose gave off beef stock, liquid black plum. Quite sweet, alcoholic, obviously added acidity that jutted out on the palate. The rich dark fruits were obvious. It was clear to me and my fellow diners that this wine was falling apart due to being decanted for a few hours. I believe that this wine would have tasted better if we had popped and poured. However, it was still too sweet and rich for me to enjoy with the beautifully prepared chicken main course, but it was interesting to try it. I have drank other Pax wines in the past, though they have received less decanting time.

8) 2001 Alban Vineyards – “Pandora” – Edna Valley: Seymour’s Vineyard (California, USA)
Decanted 4 hours ahead of time, 15.9% alcohol on the label. Opaque red, peppermint and wet tree bark on the nose. Sweet red fruit, a blast of alcohol, short mouthfeel. As subtle as a punch in the mouth from a gloved fist. A further reinforcement, if one was needed, that Pandora’s Box should never be opened.

9) 1992 Fonseca Vintage Port (Portugal)
My thanks to Nigel for opening this fantastic Port from his cellar. Decanted 11 hours ahead of time and served correctly in Riedel Port stems. Opaque purple, the nose was pure rich black plum with no alcohol showing. Sip after sip showed the rich plumy fruit, a bold thread of acidity and many waves of pleasure. The massive length went on and on. Perfect with the fine cheese course, and still very youthful. This wine should be left in the cellar for another 5-10 years, then drunk happily over the next 50 years.

Epilogue
We stayed the night at the Williams residence before leaving early the next morning to drive to Beaune, the heart of Burgundy. Alex had wanted to visit the area to taste a number of producers and pick up his allocations. He was also trying to persuade me that drinking Red Burgundy was the “Holy Grail” of the wine world. I was about to embark on a journey into the unknown...

[ 04. May 2009, 09:23 PM: Message edited by: Nicos Neocleous ]

--------------------
YOLO

Posts: 5569 | From: London | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Will Cashman
Nebuchadnezzar
Member # 1411

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Will Cashman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Nice writeup Nicos, looking forward to the next chapter!
Posts: 2750 | From: Ireland | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nigel Williams
Solomon
Member # 376

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nigel Williams     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Typically from my friend Nicos, some wisdom and some utter drivel [Wink] (Can't disagree that nine Bach soprano arias with violin obligato as a first half in a recital was daft though....)

The Coulee wasn't great but the 11-year old Condrieu was very nice.

The 1962 birth-year wine was a most kind gift from Nicos to Alex and me. Very well-meaning, but frankly crap [Razz] The 1964 Vouvray was better, quite nice actually.

The 1997 Beaucastel Roussanne VV white was showing almost as if it was becoming drinkable. The Rostaing is and was superb, and has years ahead of it.

Here is where we part company. The Pax and Alban were very good wines indeed. In the style of Nicos's beloved Sine Qua Nons. Very concentrated, and good syrahs in an extracted New World style. Nicos wittered on about how they "added" acidity to them to counter the big fruit. Drivel, my man [Razz]

Lovely, very young port, and great company! Hope to see Nicos and Alex again very soon.

--------------------
www.nigelwilliams.com

Posts: 5890 | From: Central London, UK | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nicos Neocleous
Solomon
Member # 133

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nicos Neocleous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Nigel,
Always a pleasure to dine with you and Sophie at your wonderful home. We agree on the classic wines, but I still can't understand why you like those Californian Syrahs. [Razz]
I just corrected my notes as the Beaucastel VV was from '97, not '87. Looking forward to seeing you and Sophie again soon!

Will,
My pleasure.

--------------------
YOLO

Posts: 5569 | From: London | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Phil Wilkins
Solomon
Member # 12

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Phil Wilkins     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You'd think you & I were were trying to poison Nigel by this point, Nicos. Your oddball 62, followed by my oddball 59 CdP a few days later! What'll be next... ? [Big Grin]
Posts: 9290 | From: Deepest, darkest Cambridgeshire | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Alex Anthopoulos
Balthazar
Member # 924

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Alex Anthopoulos     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Nicos,

Thanks for the extensive write up which has brought back lots of pleasant memories now that I have returned to Philadelphia and gotten back to work! Some comments ...

The drive to Kent and then to Hythe was lovely for this visiting Yank. The weather was clear enough to see Calais on the other side of the channel from the hills over Hythe! As for the music -- let's just say that certained stringed instruments were a bit off, and I could not possibly comment on the vocal performance (that is Sophie's domaine) [Wink] . The fine meal prepared by Sophie was of course fantastic as usual. Now, on to the wines ...

The Coulee de Serant was an odd wine for me, and your descriptors are "spot on". The Condrieu was refreshing and a welcome change from the first wine. Many thanks again for opening the 1962 German wine, as you indicate, it still had life left in it. Same with the 1964 Vouvray. The Beaucastel Blanc (which I recall being opened at lunch) was in a nice window.

With the red wine, I agree with your description of the Cote Rotie (and I thoroughly enjoyed Sophie's charades performance!) and it was quite a treat to have tasted this wine which should have many years ahead in its life. The Pax Syrah would have shown better had it been popped and poured instead of having received so much aeration but it was pleasant nonetheless. Very difficult to taste this side-byside with the Rostaing! I do agree with your assertion regarding Pandora's Box ... [Cool] The Port was a puppy and should not be revisited for at least another decade, but a fine wine with which to end the night.

Thanks again to the Williams for their generosity and hospitality, and I look forward to reading your thoughts on our search for The Holy Grail! [Big Grin]

Alex

--------------------
I suffer from cellar envy ...

Posts: 1180 | From: Philadelphia, PA, USA | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nicos Neocleous
Solomon
Member # 133

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nicos Neocleous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Phil Wilkins:
You'd think you & I were were trying to poison Nigel by this point, Nicos. Your oddball 62, followed by my oddball 59 CdP a few days later! What'll be next... ? [Big Grin]

I have plans to introduce further rare and old bottles in the future. Nothing oddball about my bottles, just different. It's my creative side. [Wink]

--------------------
YOLO

Posts: 5569 | From: London | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nigel Williams
Solomon
Member # 376

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nigel Williams     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Nicos Neocleous:
I have plans to introduce further rare and old bottles in the future. Nothing oddball about my bottles, just different. It's my creative side. [Wink]

It's wine, but not as the rest of us know it..... [Razz]

--------------------
www.nigelwilliams.com

Posts: 5890 | From: Central London, UK | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Neil Holland
Primat
Member # 905

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Neil Holland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Nicos,

Did you take any pictures of the guests? [Eek!] [Wink]

N

--------------------
Neil Holland

If vegetables are so good for you then where does vegetable oil come from?

Posts: 11491 | From: London | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nigel Williams
Solomon
Member # 376

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nigel Williams     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Neil Holland:
Nicos,

Did you take any pictures of the guests? [Eek!] [Wink]

N

No - he was too busy taking pictures of his dead old bottles, presumably for the purpose of self-stimulation [Cool]

--------------------
www.nigelwilliams.com

Posts: 5890 | From: Central London, UK | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Neil Holland
Primat
Member # 905

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Neil Holland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Nigel Williams:
No - he was too busy taking pictures of his dead old bottles, presumably for the purpose of self-stimulation [Cool]

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo.... [Eek!]
That's an image I'm struggling to shake (pun intended)  -

--------------------
Neil Holland

If vegetables are so good for you then where does vegetable oil come from?

Posts: 11491 | From: London | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nicos Neocleous
Solomon
Member # 133

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nicos Neocleous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Nigel,
I know it is hard (pun intended) that a relatively younger chap such as myself has all these old, rare and tasty bottles. Don't worry, I plan to share the best ones with my other friends. [Razz] [Wink]

--------------------
YOLO

Posts: 5569 | From: London | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nigel Williams
Solomon
Member # 376

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nigel Williams     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Nicos Neocleous:
Nigel,
I know it is hard (pun intended) that a relatively younger chap such as myself has all these old, rare and tasty bottles. Don't worry, I plan to share the best ones with my other friends. [Razz] [Wink]

Not THAT much younger any more...... [Eek!]

Good [Big Grin] Bring those Parkerised Chateauneufs in future [Wink]

--------------------
www.nigelwilliams.com

Posts: 5890 | From: Central London, UK | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nigel Williams
Solomon
Member # 376

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nigel Williams     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Neil Holland:
quote:
Originally posted by Nigel Williams:
No - he was too busy taking pictures of his dead old bottles, presumably for the purpose of self-stimulation [Cool]

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo.... [Eek!]
That's an image I'm struggling to shake (pun intended)  -

I meant "mental" self-stimulation!

(OK, I didn't....) [Big Grin]

--------------------
www.nigelwilliams.com

Posts: 5890 | From: Central London, UK | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Charles Morgan
Solomon
Member # 1045

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Charles Morgan     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Is there any truth in the rumour that Nicos has a collection of Goats do Roam bottles?
Posts: 8007 | From: Slough borders | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nicos Neocleous
Solomon
Member # 133

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nicos Neocleous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Nigel Williams:
quote:
Originally posted by Nicos Neocleous:
Nigel,
I know it is hard (pun intended) that a relatively younger chap such as myself has all these old, rare and tasty bottles. Don't worry, I plan to share the best ones with my other friends. [Razz] [Wink]

Not THAT much younger any more...... [Eek!]

Good [Big Grin] Bring those Parkerised Chateauneufs in future [Wink]

I will always be much younger. [Wink]

--------------------
YOLO

Posts: 5569 | From: London | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Shon Williams
Balthazar
Member # 2548

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Shon Williams     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the notes, Nicos - sounds like all had a great time. Coincidentally, opened a bottle of the Perret Condrieu Cote de Chery '05 on Friday night just to see how it was getting on. It was at a lovely stage, still youthful, but had put on some weight since my last bottle of it a couple of years back. It's reassuring that I need not worry about my remaining bottles of it if your '98 is currently tasting so good.

--------------------
ITB

Posts: 1728 | From: Cardiff | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nicos Neocleous
Solomon
Member # 133

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nicos Neocleous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Shon,
Thank you and my pleasure. Relax about your 05.

--------------------
YOLO

Posts: 5569 | From: London | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Paul Jaouen
Jeroboam
Member # 385

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Paul Jaouen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hey, can I say Nigel here without getting 4 posts deleted and the thread blown up?

Glad you guys had fun!

--------------------
Best,
Paul

Posts: 226 | From: New Jersey, USA | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Alex Anthopoulos
Balthazar
Member # 924

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Alex Anthopoulos     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Paul Jaouen:
Hey, can I say Nigel here without getting 4 posts deleted and the thread blown up?

Glad you guys had fun!

Interesting that on the "other" forum the thread was deleted ...

Alex

--------------------
I suffer from cellar envy ...

Posts: 1180 | From: Philadelphia, PA, USA | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nicos Neocleous
Solomon
Member # 133

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nicos Neocleous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Paul Jaouen:
Hey, can I say Nigel here without getting 4 posts deleted and the thread blown up?

Glad you guys had fun!

Paul,
No problem. When are you coming over to London again? Or, is it my turn to visit the USA? [Wink] [Big Grin]

--------------------
YOLO

Posts: 5569 | From: London | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nigel Williams
Solomon
Member # 376

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Nigel Williams     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Alex Anthopoulos:
quote:
Originally posted by Paul Jaouen:
Hey, can I say Nigel here without getting 4 posts deleted and the thread blown up?

Glad you guys had fun!

Interesting that on the "other" forum the thread was deleted ...

Alex

Well, Nicos's posting was particularly subversive, Alex [Roll Eyes]

--------------------
www.nigelwilliams.com

Posts: 5890 | From: Central London, UK | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Charles Morgan
Solomon
Member # 1045

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Charles Morgan     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pathetic.
Posts: 8007 | From: Slough borders | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Paul Jaouen
Jeroboam
Member # 385

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Paul Jaouen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Nicos, your turn!

--------------------
Best,
Paul

Posts: 226 | From: New Jersey, USA | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Paul Jaouen
Jeroboam
Member # 385

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Paul Jaouen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Nicos, your turn!

--------------------
Best,
Paul

Posts: 226 | From: New Jersey, USA | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  New Poll  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | www.wine-pages.com | Privacy Statement

copyright Tom Cannavan's wine-pages.com

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1