Fantastic wine dinner, with some incredible wines
Had a remarkable wine dinner last night over at the apartment of one of Luis Antunes’ wine friends, Luis Ferreira. A small group (6) of us ate, chatted and drank some incredible bottles. By the time we left it was 4 am. As a measure of how crazy the evening was, at 3 am Luis Ferreira brought out a blind white wine – it was the 2001 Yquem. Incredibly generous of him, but it felt a bit surreal drinking a legendary wine like this at that time in the morning. A mind-numbingly good line up of wines, really. The good thing is that these wines weren’t just tasted and spat: they were drunk and enjoyed.
Here are my notes.
Château Beaucastel Blanc 2003 Châteauneauf-du-Pape
Yellow/gold colur this is a rich white wine that’s made in a slightly oxidative style. It has nutty, rich, broad fruit with nice complexity – toasty and waxy. Unusual stuff with a broad texture and lots of flavour. 90/100
Conceito Bastardo 2007 Vinho Regional Durienses
Apparently 100 years ago Bastardo and Alvarilhão were the most widely planted grapes in the Douro. They don’t have a lot of colour, and this is why Sousão, a teinturier (red fleshed) variety, was introduced from Vinho Verde. This is a remarkable wine. It’s a varietal Bastardo made in lagar, with stems, and no sulfur dioxide addition. Very pale in colour, it looks like a rosé. It has a beautiful, fresh, aromatic nose with a nice herby green edge to the bright cherry fruit. The palate is remarkable: even though this is a pale wine, it is intense, with a rounded texture and lovely spiciness. Fresh, super-elegant and persistent, this is a beautiful wine. It’s labelled Vinho Regional because the IVDP refused the Douro appellation numerous times because this is ‘atypical’. 93/100
Niepoort Charme 2002 Douro
Not much of this made in 2002. Quite deep coloured, the nose shows sweet aromatic, spicy-edged red berry and cherry fruit. Smooth and aromatic. The palate is dense an firm with some nice tannic structure and a core of tight spiciness. There’s some elegance here, but also some structure, with a subtle, integrated greenness. Stylish and intense with lovely purity, and beginning to evolve nicely – if I had some I’d keep it for a while before opening. 93/100
Prunotto Bussia Barolo 1996 Piedmont, Italy
A new-wave modern Barolo that’s ageing pretty well. Tight yet aromatic nose is spicy, minerally and tarry. The palate is fresh and intense with lovely bright tarry red fruits. Great acidity, and still quite fruity with nice minerality. 92/100
The next wine was served blind.
Château La Tour 1999 Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Tight, earthy, spicy nose with nice savoury black fruits. Brooding and intense. The palate is firm and tannic with some evolution, but real future potential. Serious stuff with some elegance. 94/100
Conceito Vintage Port 2005
Sweet, rich, intense and spicy with good structure. Pure and quite serious with lovely intensity of fruit. 93/100
Fonseca Guimarens Vintage Port 2001
Really nice aromatics. Fresh, slightly spicy and quite sweet with red and lack fruits to the fore. The palate is expressive, dense and sweet with lovely structure and brilliant spicy tannins. A very expressive, alive Port with real complexity. 94/100
Fonseca Vintag Port 2003
This is incredible. Intense, sweet, firm spicy nose. The palate shows some concentration with lovely intensity and firm tannins. A massively intense, structured Vintage Port that’s utterly serious. 96/100
JM da Fonseca Moscatel de Setubal 1976
Beautifully aromatic: fresh and spicy with dried fruits, citrus, waxy notes. The palate is super-concentrated with intense spicy, fresh, herby super-complex fruit and spice characters. Thrillingly intense with lovely complexity. Simply amazing. 96/100
JM da Fonseca Moscatel de Setubal 1960
Amazing stuff, with a really volatile, intense nose showing wildly aromatic varnish and old furniture notes. The palate is amazingly complex: powerful, intense, tarry, wild, raisiny and viscous with alarming flavours and an everlasting finish. I’d score this higher, but it isn’t really balanced. A remarkable wine experience. 94/100
You’d have thought we’d had enough by now. But no, as we stood round outside getting some refreshing night air, Luis brought out a large glass into which he’d dumped a whole bottle of a sweet white wine (it was a half!). I don’t really think my tasting note on this is much use. Truly delicious and quite special it was the Château d’Yquem 2001 Sauternes.