Sunday, 29 June 2014

White Wine and Seafood in Suffolk

A quick bottle of rounded but poised Horizon Blanc de Blancs NV from Pascal Doquet set the day off nicely as we found ourselves on the mid-morning train to Ipswich. On arrival a quick change before a slower ride to Melton. We were in Suffolk and off by cab to The Butley Orford Oysterage, a cracking fish restaurant linked to a great smokery. With the menu, of which I think we had everything, being solely fish and seafood it was always going to be a day of whites. A great array of wines it was too.
A new one on me!
Brut Initial Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs, Selosse (Nov 2013 disgorgement) was next out of the blocks and the not quite chilled temperature was actually no bad thing, the wine had enough focus to balance the sparkling Meursault-esque nature of Selosse. Slightly oily with a little whiff of reduction, probably the best Selosse I have had.
A rather lovely way to start the meal
As the delicious food started to arrive - everything from Salmon to Eel to Mussels and Oysters - we were on to the first still white which was served blind. One of our number knew the capsule but we were all fairly quickly in the Loire. Sancerre Les Mont Damnes 2006, Francois Cotat was the wine in question. I'd never had anything of his before and was both pleased to have the chance and impressed by the wine. In a lovely phase. The flavours and aromas were light and almost airy, green but "good" green with some white flowers, a ripe green apply freshness…in a great zone right now.

We then ventured to the opposite end of the scale really and had Belle Cote 2004, Peter Michael, again blind. I was in a warm vintage Meursault sort of place and am not unhappy with that…for some it was just too glupey and textured, I actually quite like it though a glass would have been enough. The fruit character was slightly bruised tropical fruit that matched the opulent texture, not a wine to have anything but well chilled. The only other Peter Michael wine I have had was a rather impressive Chardonnay Cuvee “Indigene” 1991, Magnum at the Paulee at Bovey Castle in early 2013. That seemed to have aged very well and lost the oak so who knows the same may happen here.
The two Will's conferring.
A welcome non-blind wine followed - Gaia & Rey 2005 from Gaja - it's a savoury wine that has aged well, the fruit is a littler spiced too, the saline finish balances things. at 9 years of age I'd say it is certainly not on the way down.

We were then served Chablis 1er Cru Montee de Tonnerre 2002 from Raveneau blind again from a bottle with only a 1971 next label - this can be off putting. I was fairly sure it was Chablis but I was thinking a little older. It had lovely notes of cheesecloth, creme fraiche and goats cheese that then went on to be nougat and gooseberry…really good as is always the case with this great producer in my experience.
A splendid "spread" and that's for starters!
My bottle was up next - Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2001, Bonneau du Martray - and I can already sense the "what so young" comments. I have had this wine to drink rather than taste twice now and it is delicious, not in an over-opulent way but in a balanced loveliness way, a little bit of very classy oak shows alongside the fruit, I think it'll be a wine that drinks well for quite some time but without closing up…If you own it I really think you should have a bottle soon just to see what it is like.

21yrs apart but equally lovely
The last white at actual lunch was - Morey-Saint-Denis Blanc 1er Cru Monts Luisants 1990 from Domaine Ponsot - This was really lovely, very generous in a 1990 way. A little pineapple and a dash of reduction, then a tiny bit of cocoa and mocha…really lovely. It has a very definite character, the only other time I have had it was the 2002 vintage from magnum at a magnum, bbq and poker day/night organised by the very fine chap who brought this along. What I had not hoisted in at all was that a lot of the unique character comes from the fact the wine is made (exclusively as far as research will show me) from Aligote! If you've not had it then you need to put it on your list...

We finished lunch with a sticky toffee pudding of epic proportions then had a wander down the road to pick up some smoked goods before pudding number. This was served with - Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 1990, JJ Prum - this was in hedonistic form, a little over developed may be but very very good and much enjoyed. 
Diet? What diet?
Needless to say the return train journey was a more mellow affair than the way up…what a great day! Well done all…and special thanks to Uncle Ju-Ju...

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