It's been a year of not-enough-fine-wine. In order to address this imbalance myself and some friends ate and drank some brilliant drops last night.
Taittinger Comte de Champagne 1971
Colour's a light brass with gold highlights. Still remarkably youthful with lively streamers of tiny, pinpoint perfect bubbles rising to the surface.
The nose is full of candied peaches and apricots with a spicy darkness on the edges - allspice, cloves and a touch of nutmeg.
The candied apricots really come through on the palate - it's a remarkable and lovely fruitiness. The mousse guides the structure of the palate beautifully. This definitely 'older' than when tasted last, but wiser too. A brilliant example of well-aged champagne. There's still an incredible lifting freshness at its core. Particularly suited to the exceptional recording of Gerschwin's Rhapsody in Blue playing in the background. Further air brings on a malty oatiness and fantastic texture with luxurious mouthfeel - rich, butter roasted chestnuts. The finish goes on and on.
Disaster - sommelier series vintage champagne glass loses fight with a Breitling and the kitchen table, criminally taking almost a full glass of this wonderful wine with it. Tragedy.
Musigny Grand Cru, JF Mugnier, 1995
Colour is pale ruby, pure to its core and truly brilliant,
The nose is heavenly - aromatic, perfumed and pervading - heady and sensuous. Classically something that you just can't put your finger on...
The palate starts quite big and boisterous - loud even, trumpeting away with vibrant, high tensile red fruit that gives way entirely to mouthfeel and sensuous sexiness. It coats the mouth and finishes with a gentle grip. As it opens it achieves harmony and balance - the opening no longer boisterous but beautiful. There's elegance, earth and beauty all rolled into one and as they all come together it is true vinous glory.
Ducru Beaucaillou 1983
Colour is SO dark for the age - deep purple with not fading on the rim.
The nose is tight - when it does open it's big but lacking definition. A faceful of black fruit and tar.
The palate is much the same - big and brash with a tight tannic background that trips towards green. Sweet fruit and forest floor but not a lot in between. The fruit's a bit stewed. Nice, but not going to get any better from the taste of things. Outclassed this evening.
Colour is tawny with a touch of rust.
The nose is welcoming and more-ish - little fruit but lots of peripheries: mint, eucalyptus, damsons and sloes. Autumn fruit.
The palate is incredible - it lasts forever and there's much that goes on in the meantime. Luscious, silky, long and incredible. Bit hot on the end though.
Tasted at Naughton 28/12/2007