Dinner with the Porters
To get away - at least for a short time - from the terrible reality our country experiences in these troubled times, we decided to go to England for a week. The pretext was a wine-weekend organized by Decanter Magazine in East Anglia near Ipswich.
But first we spent five days in London, where we enjoyed good art, theater and of course some terrific wine and food.
The star of the dining and wining was an evening spent with our Irish friends Arthur and Jilly Porter, who happened to be in London that week.
Arthur and Jilly staged a wonderful dinner with exceptional wines for us at their son's - Richard - apartment where they invited over a couple of their friends to join the festivities.
Jilly brought over from Ireland the fresh and superb ingredients for the dinner and Arthur was true to himself in his generosity and thoughtfulness as far as great wines are concerned.
We started with two cuvees of the 1990 Champagne by Laurent Perrier - The regular cuvee followed by the prestige Grand Siecle.
We then proceeded to the table where the following gems were served:
Graved Lax with Mustard and Dill Sauce
1992 Batard Montrachet, Ramonet
"Roberts" Roast Rack of Lamb
1970 Ch. Palmer
Selection of Cheeses
1971 Richebourg, DRC
1996 Pinot Noir 'Three Corner', Rochioli
1976 Ch. Yquem
The food, the wines and the company were all sublime. But the 1971 DRC Richebourg was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that almost literally brought tears to my eyes.
1990 Laurent Perrier: the 'Brut' and the 'Grand Siecle' cuvees - Not being a champagne connoisseur I can only say the former was a pleasant vibrant bubbly with fresh lemon and apple flavors. The 'Grand Siecle' was notably better. Elegant, delicate and creamy with toasty long finish.
1992 Ramonet, Batard Montrachet - Somewhat restraint minerally nose with apparent wood notes. Very concentrated very pure on the palate. Honey (though dry) notes on the finish. Extremely stylish and elegant. Needs more time.
Superb. MARK 18.5/20.
1970 Chateau Palmer - Dark red with a violet tinge. Deep and totally captivating nose of ripe prunes blackcurrants and well integrated wood notes. Totally harmonious on the palate with rich multi-flavored winyness. Long, silky textured, perfectly balanced, and obviously at its absolute best now.
Outstanding! MARK 19/20.
1971 DRC, Richebourg - When we first visited Burgundy some 24 years ago the best then-available vintage was 1971. We bought some to take home and drank them all before the end of the decade (1970s). It is amazing to think that I could taste today a great wine from the same vintage as were the first really good wines I ever had. Seems a whole lifetime had passed since then...
Arthur assured me that the bottle has not been moved for 30 years, so there's a good chance it won't be spoilt
Medium dark brownish red with noticeable clearing around the rim. Simply impossible to describe the nose. Fruit is still vibrant though beautifully immersed with the complex secondary and tertiary aromas. Completely mature of course but no sign of the over-the-hill 'convergence' quality all old wines eventually attain. All the flavors in the world in a deep and broad multi-dimensional spectrum of flavors and nuances. I know very few will ever be fortunate enough to taste such a nectar and I am grateful I was given the opportunity to be included with those few.
Divine!!! MARK 20/20.
1996 Rochioli, Pinot Noir 'Three Corners' - Nothing in the world could follow in the footsteps of the 1971 Richebourg and certainly not an American [or any other for that matter] Pinot Noir. Still, I think we all gave a fair chance to this celebrated Californian PN and judged it on its own merit.
Dark young looking wine. Pure clean and focused fruit on the nose. Concentrated and tasty fruit on the palate too. Too clean, too focused, too pronounced. As if this wine wants to shout "see how well-crafted I am!"... Lacking any sign of terroir. Quite tasty and indeed very well crafted. But try as they might, no winemaking techniques can produce PN that will taste even remotely like the complex (B).
Very Fine. MARK 18/20.
1976 Chateau Yquem - What could be more fitting to finish off such a wonderful evening than a top-vintage mature Yquem? Deep gold color. Wonderful nose of orange-peel, saffron and apricot. Immensely complex on the palate with an unbelievable array of flavors. Full bodied and sweet without honey tones. Infinitely long and superbly balanced.
Extraordinary!! MARK 19.5/20.
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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.