Four of us got together at La Silhouette for dinner last night for a great lineup of wines. While there was no formal theme, the majority were from (for the most part) retired winemakers or now-defunct estates. As always, great food, service and company at La Silhouette along with a fantastic wine lineup made for a wonderful evening.
N.V. Pascal Doquet Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Le Mesnil-sur-Oger
Started with this to go with the amuse bouche - incredibly fresh, bright citrus and pear fruit framed by brioche, faintly nutty elements and chalky minerality. There's a sense of real vibrancy and energy to the flavours, great precision and this is a producer I should pay more attention to.
2000 Müller-Catoir Mußbacher Eselshaut Rieslaner Spätlese
Still holding up very well, and one of the most impressive wines I've tried from a generally lousy vintage in Germany. There's bright peach and apricot fruit tinged with honey and high toned spicy elements, good sweetness and decent acidity keeping it nicely balanced. Very nice.
2004 Domaine Truchot-Martin Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Clos Sorbes Vieilles Vignes
Just a faint touch of '04 greenness here, but this is wonderful. An amazing aromatic profile with that distinctive Truchot earthy/leathery funk, fresh red fruits and just a faint green element that becomes more prominent with some air. The palate is pure silk; flavour conveyed with a sense of weightlessness, incredible balance and purity. Wow.
1990 Domaine de Vallouit Côte-Rôtie Les Roziers
Peter mentions this producer had sadly sold his holdings to Guigal some years ago. Poured alongside the Gentaz, and this was a phenomenal bottle, showing layers of roasted meats, rich plummy fruit and mature savoury earthy, leathery and mushroomy characteristics. Great balance and depth, gaining more and more nuance with air and a stunning wine that kept getting better as we revisited it.
1986 Gentaz-Dervieux Côte-Rôtie Cuvée Réservée Côte Brune
A touch of mustiness on the nose at first, but it quickly cleared as a lovely fragrance of green olives, damp earth, forestal herbal notes and savoury meatiness emerged. A wonderful palate presence, incredibly finessed and delicate (not unlike the Truchot) with bright acids keeping it very fresh and still some fine grained tannin lingering on the back end. With air it became greener and more herbal, showing wilder minty and more forestal elements. A lovely, distinctive wine, though not the jawdropping experience we were hoping for.
2007 Guillaume Gilles Cornas
My first impression was 'wow, this tastes like the '07 Gonon when it was released!' Incredibly vivid black pepper and meaty aromatics and a palate full of fresh red fruits, black olives and more savoury, spicy and gamey elements conveyed with remarkable freshness and energy. Really good, I need to get some.
1990 Robert Michel Cornas La Geynale
A stellar bottle. Still quite rustic and showing some tannin, but there's so much character and depth here - mature Syrah fruit, sauvage bloody and meaty elements, developed earthiness and so much more all combining seamlessly into a thrilling wine. Wow!
1990 Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage
Probably my favourite of the night amongst an incredible lineup. That's that thrilling mature Chave perfume combining all sorts of smoky, meaty, earthy and other savoury elements, a sense of tremendous power and intensity on the palate yet remarkable elegance and freshness, and layers that just keep unravelling with air. Just an amazing wine and a real pleasure to sit down and follow over some time.
1995 Ferraton Père & Fils Hermitage Cuvée des Miaux
From magnum. There's barely any fruit here, but lots of savoury smoky, dried meat and coffee flavours, a polished texture and good balance. Enjoyable, but I was struggling to pay much attention to this with the Chave and last sips of the Vallouit in my glass.
1998 Müller-Catoir Haardter Mandelring Scheurebe Auslese
Closing with a Hans-Gunter Schwarz special. Intense and kaleidoscopic; a powerhouse of exotic tropical fruits ranging from pink grapefruits to ripe mangoes, honey and wild herbal elements. There's still plenty of youthful sweetness here, but also fantastic acidity that keeps it incredibly vibrant, precise and all too easy to drink. Fantastic.