jamie goode's wine blog: A great lunch with Chave 83

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A great lunch with Chave 83

Lunch at the Ledbury today, with a rather special bottle: Chave Hermitage 1983. The reason? I was meeting with Keith Prothero and Lionel Nierop, who are starting a new online wine auction system (which I'll write about when it is ready to go, in about a month), and Keith is a generous guy who enjoys sharing his wines.

The day started with the Corney & Barrow press tasting, held at a swanky location in Grosvenor Place. But for some bizarre reason I got Hyde Park Corner and Marble Arch tube stations muddled up in my head and ended up at the latter rather than the former. So I decided to walk through Hyde Park to get to Hyde Park Corner, which is a lovely stroll on a day like today, but took longer than I thought it would.

London is well supplied with nice parks. I love Regent's Park, and Kensington Gardens is lovely. Green Park is small but pleasant, and Hyde Park is big and quite pretty. Battersea Park is worth a detour; I haven't yet made it to Victoria Park in east London. Further out west, Richmond Park is absolutely enormous.

After just an hour of tasting, I had to leave the Corney & Barrow event to get to my lunch appointment on time. The Ledbury is spectacular Ė one of London's very best restaurants. And lunch is a steal here, with the set menu a few pence under £20. For that, you get astonishingly good food and excellent service, in a very nice environment. We had a really enjoyable couple of hours, with a great combination of food, wine and company.

Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 1998 Nelson, New Zealand
Yellow gold in colour, this is rich and intense with a lovely toasty depth to the herby, slightly citrussy fruit. It's pungent and dense on the palate with complex herb-tinged fruit complemented by sweet nutty, spicy oak and hints of oiliness. There's citrussy freshness on the finish. A delicious, bold Chardonnay that's evolving well. 92/100

Chave Hermitage 1983 Northern Rhone, France
A fantastic wine. Beautifully aromatic, with a fresh, spicy personality and a complexity thatís hard to put into words. I was getting notes of tar, earth, herbs, blood and meat. Itís sweet but savoury at the same time. The palate showed spicy red fruits with a subtle medicinal character, as well as tangy citrus notes on the finish. A complex, multifaceted wine with nice definition. 95/100

Then it was off to the M&S press tasting, held at their headquarters round the back of Paddington Station. Itís actually surprisingly close to the Ledbury (in Notting Hill) Ė it turned out to be a brisk 15 minute walk. There were 160 wines on show; I tried just over half, and then slept on the train on the way home.

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At 10:17 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

Hi Jamie,

Just a quick word to remember Didier Dagueneau who just died in an accident in south west France. The word genius is bandied around too easily, but this grower embodied not only an appellation,he showed that fanatical work in the vineyard can elevate a prosaic grape variety like Sauvignon into the most thrilling, challenging, memorable wine. Didier was the mentor and inspiration for many people in all aspects of the wine trade. He (and his passion) will be missed. Our thoughts are with his family.

At 10:47 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Absolutely, Doug. Your words put it very nicely.

At 12:02 AM, Blogger Paul Tudor said...

That is very sad news indeed. Sadly I never got to meet the guy, he sounds like an amazing person. I love drinking his wines though!
Jamie, my kids were asking me about an invite I got in the mail yesterday from the Australian Consulate, to a tasting of "the greatest Shiraz in the world". On a Saturday, no less.
Maybe the translation of the variety is what makes this claim valid, but I showed them a bottle of Chave sitting on our wine rack. "This, kids, is the greatest Shiraz in the world".
"So does that mean that you wont't go and you can come to my cricket match," asked my daughter.

At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

Chave with Brett - a great combination.

And nice to see a note on the Neudorf (which I suspect is one I sold to Lionel a few months ago).

Very sad about Dagueneau. I must confess to never having really "got" his wines, but he was clearly a huge positive force in the wine world.

At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Lionel said...

Alex, you're correct it was. A really interesting wine - I've written it up on the bidforwine blog too but probably shouldn't post a link.

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Keith Prothero said...

It was great to see you again Jamie and if Man City do make the top 6 this season,I shall owe you another lunch!!

At 11:56 AM, Anonymous keith Prothero said...

Lionel---is this the link you are referring too?

At 9:16 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Sad also to hear that Yarra Valley pioneer Bailey Carrodus has just died.


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