Pierre Gimmonet, Special Club, 2002
Champagne=love. Gimmonet Special Club=love at first sight, and then forever. This is very refined, with a nose probably still as fresh as when it was first disgorged, with minerals and brioche, an effect carried over on the palate. The essence of elegance.
Weingut Wittmann, Rheinhessen, Westhofener Morstein, Grosses Gewächs, 2002
My notes show I always like the Wittmann GG's, even if I wouldn't call it mad, gushing love. This has a fine melange of petrol, dill, apples and slate, as well as a great sense of focus and a light hint of sweetness on the lovely complex finish.
Our appetite for German Riesling suitably whetted by the dry rendition, we moved on to a flight of Auslese by two masters.
J. J. Prum, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Riesling Auslese, 1999
The nose displays what most would expect from a mature Auslese, i.e., petrol a little smoke. Beyond that and the requisite apples and slate is a hint of mint. I wasn't wowed by either, as both are less complex than I'd have thought, but of the two, this is the livelier bottle. Livelier than the Brucke but both are less complex than I'd have thought. Although I think the donnhoff is slightly more complex.
Dönnhoff, Nahe, Oberhauser Brücke, Riesling Auslese, 2001
While more complex than the Prum, this comes off a little tired - actually, way more tired than I'd have thought a 2001 Donnhoff Auslese had any right to be. Just blame it on the dry cork. An interesting nose, though, with tea, minerals and a funk I can't quite elucidate.
Next up, two Barolos that strayed so far from the reputation of their maker I could hardly even write up a note. .
Paolo Scavino, Barolo, Cannubi, 2000
Black fruit, tar.
Paolo Scavino Barolo, Bric del Fiasc, 2000
A little more reticent.
Both were deep in the ripe end of the classical idiom, with a forced extraction not that palatable to me. In short, a minor fiasco
Can't beat a great Bordeaux vintage for blowing your blues away. Not only did this flight throw the dull, foursquare impression made by the Barolos into even greater relief, it was a short seminar on the stylistic differences between Pauillac and Margaux.
Chateau Rauzan-Segla, Margaux 2me Cru, 2000
A very classic claret, with blackcurrants, cedar and earth melded with typical Margaux elegance. Not only is it more drinkable than the Lynch Bages, its trappings are much more obvious.
Chateau Lynch Bages, Pauillac 5me Cru, 2000
This is still tannic, needing more time in glass to show the grand power of Pauillac in its facade of tobacco, coffee and a hint of meat. Both the Lynch Bages and the Rauzan-Segla have wonderful acidity and still need 5-10 years to peak.
Willi Schaefer, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Graacher Dombprobst, Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel AP#11, 2005
At first sniff and sip, a cut above the other Rieslings. Deeper and purer, with enervating acidity. It is, however, at that monolithic stage in a great Riesling's revolution that you just yearn for a time machine.