Last week a small group gathered at Birmingham’s premier dining room, Adams Restaurant in Waterloo Street, armed with just enough big statement wines to match the layered nature of the culinary offering. Two Champagnes, three whites and two reds.
To kick off a pair of Krug vintages created plenty of excitement. Krug vintage like most great wines is a slow burn, the 2002 released in the summer this year, no less than 6 years after Dom Perignon. This was an inaugural look at this classic wine for all the tasters. It showed very primary evolution but certainly enough to mesmerize, and from the first sip was in a different league to the otherwise admirable 2000. The 2000 aged sixteen is now beginning to open, in fact this is a vintage in general which I have been hunting out, often offering surprise and economical satisfaction. Without doubt a Krug fan, as Richard attributed too, would be more than happy to seek this wine out again, showing plenty of Krug’s tell-tale power, with delicacy too, but for greatness it just lacked a little sweetness of fruit in the mid-palate and into the finish. Howerver with a few more years in the cellar it could well turn out to be outstanding.
The 2002 Krug is a titan of a wine, and continues to re-enforce this vintage’s stature in general. I was fortunate enough to re-taste DP 2002 a few days earlier, it was outstanding too. It will be fascinating to watch Krug 2002 develop over the next 20 years, and certainly it will get considerably better, but I don’t want to wait too long before the next cork is popped.
An originally planned pair of White Burgundies turned into a trio on the night, well it’s Christmas… I double decanted a bottle of Le Montrachet Jacques Prieur 2008 about 5 pm. This is a fine vintage for white Burgundy and yet this was already evolved in colour and the nose was not holding back. Three hours later it hadn’t budged fortunately, but this was no sleeping giant, with all guns blazing, an almost botrytis richness on the nose, exuberant, an extrovert, and it continued to hold its shape in the glass, a dichotomy in truth, but enjoyable all the same. This slight unwieldiness was further pronounced by its alter ego, a bottle of Batard Montrachet 1996 Domaine Leflaive. Of course this would be a formidable challenge to most wines but this bottle was simply extraordinary. I personally have never tasted a twenty year old chardonnay showing as little oxidation, and from an era renowned for it! This was definitely a benchmark experience for me, you could literally taste the rocky soil such was the minerality, great delicacy and strength. Interestingly the sommelier was above all taken with the huge flavour profile of the Jacques Prieur over the tension and steeliness of the Batard, but it was something of a one horse race for me, nice one Mark! The accompanying Scottish Scallops were also the best I have ever tasted, an amazing combo.
The Chevalier Montrachet 2009 Sauzet, was also a little overshadowed by the Batard, it had a lovely rich fruit nature but a slightly loose knit structure, perhaps typical of the warmer vintage profile. Easy drinking and ready to go but with plenty of time ahead, definitely worth a revisit with a few more years on it.
For the reds we experienced a hard fought battle between Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, fortunately my delicious lamb dish catered for both. The Musigny VV 1999 Comtes de Vogue and Lafite 1996 were both at the beginning of their drinking plateaux which helped what can be a difficult comparison between two distinctly different grape varieties, they each held their own and shone as superb examples of their individual styles. The Pinot, delicate and timid but with remarkable richness underneath and wonderful balance and length, you just know this wine will go far. The Lafite again was double decanted at 5 pm it was a brut, in fact it could have done with a bit longer decanting time I think, but its fine texture and effortless power were enjoyed by all. The purity and fine detailing in both wines made for a great exploration of two very different styles of wine.
This was such a fun evening amongst friends with fantastic food and wine paired perfectly. Thanks to all the staff at Adams Restaurant who provide a great atmosphere like nowhere else.
Only slightly coloured, lemon and pear on the nose, touch of marine, the palate has tension and intensity, grip and power, there is weight and the length is impressive. Vigorous tangerine, quite masculine with elevated acidity which adds to the length. Good minerality. It is a little disintegrated still, I think another couple of years will be beneficial, but fne and enjoyable fizz. 93/100 Drink 2016 - 2025+
This is youthful as you would expect, the nose is really calm, tight with a touch of honey, lovely weight on the palate the balance and slim line length here is magical, really extraordinary length and poise, lovely minerality, leaves the palate zinging. Oyster shell. Positive acidity but the fruit glows on the mid palate really excellent. 96-8/100 Drink 2018-2040+
2008 Montrachet Prieur
Quite a coloured example, exotic, almost botrytis, oaky, flamboyant, more like a 2005. There is richness here which belies the vintage and the vineyard, with plenty of acidity and oodles of ripe fruit, nice balance with a tangy edge, certainly not the precision you might expect but you can’t deny the enjoyment and the length is extraordinary. 93/100 Drink 2016 – 2020
1996 Batard Montrachet
Incredible bottle still so pale, the nose is intensely smoky bacon, it has so much minerality. The palate is calm, great tension here I love Batard, still green apple, beautiful essence on the palate, this is remarkable, the finish is just profound for me, there is sweetness in the finish here I love the tangerine coming through, quite brilliant. 98/100 Drink 2016 – 2030
2009 Chevalier Montrachet Sauzet
This is quite pale, correct, the palate is so creamy and so easy to drink, it’s like drinking liqueur pear, quite delicious actually, it is loose knit, cream soda comes to mind, really enjoyable wine and shows well considering what it has just follwed. 93/100 Drink 2016 – 2025
1999 Musigny Vieilles Vignes Comte de Vogue
Lovely Burgundian nose, lovely creamy palate, there is precision here and the length in impressive, this is still tight the comlexity of the flavour profile only just giving you sneak preview, creamy silky wine perfect with the lamb, needs 5 years 96/100 Drink 2020 – 2050+
This is still holding its purple, the nose is just sublime, so many adjectives, mint, meat, smoke, so typically cedar, the palate is velvet, liqueur, so refined wow I’m impressed. The earthy Cabernet with the smudged blackcurrant sweetness are impressive and very linear and long, this was one of the greatest wines I ever tasted en primeur, scoring it 100/100, in ten years I suspect it will be at that level, on this showing a not too shabby 97/100 Drink 2020 – 2060+