Today was the launch of the Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2002, held at the fantastic Armourers’ Hall in the City of London. Aside from the fact that we were tasting 7 vintages of this brilliantly consistent, pure and complex Champagne, one of the draws was that Pol Roger had lured star chef Brett Graham (below) out of his kitchen at the Ledbury to cook for us.
The food was astonishingly good. So were the Champagnes. I’m going to write them up separately, but for me the high point was the 1996, but 1988, 1990 and 1986 were all fantastic, with 2000 and 1998 also top rate. 2002 is just a baby, but will match the best with time.
We also had Drouhin’s Beaune 1er Cru Greves 1993 from jeroboam. This was superb and just entering its drinking window, still with some firm structure and also some lovely black cherry fruit. I think this was the first time I’ve had red Burgundy from jeroboam.
First course was lobster with grilled leeks and Champagne. This was quite subtle but delicious, and was paired with the Blanc de Blancs 2002 and 1998.
Then we had roast turbot with cockles, sweet corn and lemon grass. Lovely flavours, working in harmony. Matched with the slightly richer but still pure 1990 and 1988.
We shifted to the Beaune Greves 1993 for the next course: breast of guinea fowl with walnut milk, ceps and figs. So imaginative, and the guinea fowl was really tender.
The next course was the one that really blew us away. It was some aged Gruyere from affineur Bernard Anthony. You have to wait ages and have the right introductions to buy his cheeses. And Brett had imaginatively served this with dried apricots, white chocolate and grated macadamia. One of the most amazing flavour experiences you can imagine. And served with the ethereal 1996.
Finally, a remarkable mille feuille with mango, honey, vanilla and kaffir lime. With the 1986. An astonishing lunch in a lovely setting.