Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Tales of the unexpected

After another warm autumn afternoon of barbecue and chat on the roof of Wine Bar Libero. Then the unexpected happened. One of the guests suggested that we top the day off with something a little more special than the sturdy, worthy wines that were designed to compete with Shohei's trademark tandoori chicken. I heartily agreed, as one is want to do after drinking a bottle of wine by 5:30pm. I'm certainly glad I did.

First the Pauillac. Very pleasantly surprised here. I was expecting a competent 2005 left banker, but got something a lot better balanced and delicious.
My expectations weren't sky high as I'd got this at a pretty hefty discount, but upon decanting it became clear just from the rich, dark fruit nose and faint hints of dried vanilla pods that this was a surprise package. The
sweet dutch tobacco once it had opened up with the air raised my expectations further. 
Beautiful balance, plenty of left bank character, very well judged oak and just the right amount of tannin for my tastes. The structure really let the fruit component of the palate sing. Just a smidge of residual sugar to add to the overall air of opulence. Evolved well in the glass to the extent that it made me hungry for more meat. That really was an achievement after such carnivorous day.
If I had a criticism it would be a slight lack of intensity and length.
Remember, this was a sale item!

I was a little hazy by the time I came to thinking of what to write about the Puligny-Montrachet. Undoubtedly delicious, the main thing that stayed with me was the style. Arrestingly modern. The Etienne Sauzet was, miracle upon miracles, another wine with wonderful balance. Old world minerality, new world citrus, globally appealing levels of sweetness from the 25% new oak used to mature this wine. This seemed to me to be half-way between the Domaines Raveneau Chablis and Kongsgaard's The Judge Chardonnay we'd all enjoyed at the anniversary party at the same establishment a few months before. "I must get this again." I thought to myself.
Then I got the hiccups. 
Not entirely unexpected.

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