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Further Asian Treats


The next evening found me making my way to a client's apartment in Shiu Fai Terrace to a) meet the latest addition to the family, a fine young lad named Dashiell and b) to drink some excellent champagne. The two things seem to go together somehow, a new-ish baby requiring significant toasting.

The champagne in this case was 1999 Coeur de Cuvée from those perennial overachievers Vilmart. Made superficially pillowy by an exceptionally fine mousse, this nevertheless has a firm backbone. Most importantly, it is utterly delicious.

There was a c) that I have yet to mention: the decanting of a most senior bottle of claret. I stepped up to the plate and did my best not to drop the bottle or otherwise stir up whatever sediment might be lying within.

We hightailed it off to Le Marron.

Another guest provided the first and perhaps most surprising wine of the night: a bottle of 2001 Château Laforge, one of the Englishman Jonathan Maltus's St Emilion properties.

Now, I think people are snobbish are Maltus's wines. I reckon some tasters really, really don't want to like them. Maybe it's because he's English and they consider that an Englishman should only represent the end user in Bordeaux. Maybe it's the style of his wines, which are clean and a little on the modern side. Whatever. I like them. And I liked this one...very much. Here it is:

Rich, tertiary nose. There are hints of bonfires and cold tea overlying very dark fruit. There are also notes of grilled meat and herbs to be found. Sloe and chocolate orange. Entry is plush, the palate fully resolved. Cold tea again. Nutty, very fine, integrated tannins becoming mildly grippy. With air, the tannins become firmer. Smoky, becoming liquorice, finally Parma violets on the finish.

Food came; food went. The Big Gun was rolled out:

1982 Château Latour, Pauillac
Opaque with a narrow band at the rim. This is fully of smouldering spice aromas, plus marron, mint and iodine. A dense wine from the off, plush, then picking up its minerality and mineral grip. This is super long and super fine. Picks up a herbal note like sage along the way. Dense and dark and utterly delicious.

The experience of drinking this was a greater thing than can adequately be put into words: an evolving, riveting, maximum-complex experience for one's senses of smell and taste. I will long remember it.

Lastly, with cheese, a wine I had secured earlier in the day:
2011 Niederberg Helden Riesling Auslese Lange Goldkapsel, Schloss Lieser
The nose is a blast of slate and citrus: lemon and lime. I find mint and spice. The fruit is pear-bright. This is rich and medium sweet and glitters like a newly cut gemstone. There's something very peppery here. Very long and clean and lovely.

That sort of cleaned everyone up somewhat and put a spring in our steps as we walked out into the Causeway Bay night. Now those are happy memories for one to take to one's bed...
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