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An Interesting Bunch at the Brackenbury

129-131 Brackenbury Rd, London W6 0BQ

Wine trade dinner in west London. It takes a bit of planning, which is why Director Ben got his skates on and organised things about a quarter of a year in advance. And still we had a couple of people crying off at the last minute. I mean, really. Does herding wine merchants have to be as hard as balancing sultanas?


I'd not been to The Brackenbury before. I'd like to say that I will be back there soon, but the truth is that I so seldom eat out in London, let alone west London, that I think it unlikely. And more's the pity. It's a humdinger. 

So, assorted wine buyers and sellers arrived at more-or-less the appointed hour and each had brought along a bottle of something-or-other. 

Perhaps the most important member of the party was Ossie Gray, owner of The Brackenbury. I always think that sitting down to eat with the owner assures one of a) excellent service and b) a slab of meat from the best end of the cut. I suspect in the case of The Brackenbury one always gets very well looked after and presented with sublime tucker, but it cannot have hurt in any event.

I had bavette for a main, as I love skirt steak. Ossie asked me if I wasn't enjoying it, as I ate it very slooooowly. But my pace was down to extreme levels of appreciation, I assured him, and the savoring of each and every CC.

Here are the wines, along with my tasting notes: an interesting bunch, as you will see:

Blind taster: 1989 Muscadet from Luneau Pepin...and what a belter of a blinder. A shy nose of vague green fruits was followed by some pretty vague fruits on the palate, too. But it had this great, clay-like length that was stunning. We have sent out Luneau Pepin wines as Daily Drinker samples and I know that they age like the dickens. Amazing wine.

Then:

2002 Vougeot 1er Cru Clos Blanc de Vougeot, Domaine de la Vougeraie
I haven't tasted this wine for some years. This vintage is absolutely good to go and really delicious. A pungent nose of minerals, roasted lemons, spice and macadamia nuts, plus a sprinkling of ground ginger. The palate offers some creamy wood, peach and sweet citrus fruit and grip made mild by bottle age. Melon length and there's a lift of mineral freshness at the back. Long, with a juicy death. 

It was only when returning to this from the next wine that I realized how much of the white Vougeot's character was derived from the wood. Yet it was delicious and most welcome.
2000 Meursault Charmes, Comte Lafon
This just exudes class. Nose is subtle, a touch smoky and there's a note that reminded me of peanuts. Good tension, though, in the mouth. Orange, surprisingly laid-back length. Subtly persistent with super form at the finish. Minty close. Amazing grip and sustain. This is what the French call airien, and really classy with it.

1997 Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru, Bonneau de Martray
A light nose, pitched high. Steely, I guess, and lemon. There's a hint of nori about this. A fine and complete wine, fully resolved. Also a slight minty note here at the death.

2008 Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru, Philippe Pacalet
Just a stunning, riveting nose: complex aromas of Asian spices and crisp, fabulous red fruits. A natural and unadorned wine showing fruit of nut and citrus and crunchy red cherry. Something rhubarb here. This is quickly fresh and vital. Fresh, upright-but-integrated tannin. It gains in lift and grip. Super-long. One of my wines of the night.

2000 Château Lynch Bages, Pauillac
Rich and pretty young-smelling still. Very creamy, like a blackcurrant liqueur. High scents of the humidor. Quite chocolaty. Dry, structured with rich, chocolate tannins. Richly grippy. Young x2! Lots here. Fresh and elemental and still showing some wood.

1995 Château Léoville Lascases, St Julien
Just such classic claret aromas! A rich and cedary wine to smell, tangy and red and black. Medium weight with lovely fresh structure. Finish is tangy; borderline citrus. Paste-like tannin at the death.

1990 Château Léoville Barton, St Julien
Lovely, lovely nose. Hint of tomato purée and sweet spice. Really come hither in this state. Really quite fluid and with very fine, classy, resolved tannins. Complete and à point. Long and rather ravishing.

2012 Pofadder, Sadie Family Vineyards, South Africa
This split the table. 100% Cinsault from old vines. I thought it came across like a young and rather simple Grenache. This is a £35 bottle of wine, I believe. Sweet red cherry fruit, cake-like nose. Very fresh and elegant with a juicy, orange-y ending. What's not to like....at £10??

2011 Les Tosses, Terroir Al Limit, Priorato
Jus be boeuf on the nose. Marron. Then black cherry. High toned aromas and really quite earthy. Palate is elegant and full of elegant structure. Mineral wine.

1999 L'Ermita, Alvaro Palacios, Priorato
Maturing, truffly wine. Dark plums and spice, with hints of liquorice. Full of mineral power.

1996 Tignanello, Antinori, Tuscany
Rich nose with a hint of brett and wet mulch. Plush, rich palate. Cold tea. Very fine, softened tannins. Fully mature.

1985 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, Il Colle
Didn't know this producer at all, but what a wine! Blood and tomatoes on the nose. Loaded with fresh, grippy tannin. A long and juicy wine. Orange-citrus freshness. Very long and mineral wine. Very fresh, red fruit. 

These are listed in chronological order and one can notice the diminution in meaningfulness as the night progressed. All good fun. And the '08 Charmes and '90 Barton had it for me, but on another night...who knows.

Thanks Ossie for a fine evening. And Ben for his prescience in getting the organisation out of the way well in advance...


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