Lunch today at Francis and Bronwen Percival’s place in Borough Market. As you’d expect, fabulous food and drink. Also present, Neil Beckett and Jasmine Hirsch. It was a lovely afternoon, and my brief notes on the wines and food can’t do it justice. We began with two excellent Champagnes. You always get good Champagne here.
Champagne Cédric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne Blanc de Noirs NV France
This is a vintage 2007 wine. It’s a lovely bold, toasty rich style that’s powerful but refined with some precise lemony notes. Lively and intense with real power and focus. 93/100
Champagne Marie-Noëlle Ledru Ambonnay Grand Cru 2006 France
An insider Champagne. Marie-Noëlle Ledru owns six hectares of vines, five of which are in Ambonnay, and riddles and disgorges all her bottles by hand. This is very fine and complex with lemony, herby notes. It’s taut with a bit of spice and nice lemony notes. Complex and thrilling. 94/100
We then continued with some excellent food, well matched with lovely wines. And, of course, some of the best British cheeses.
Le Macchiole Paleo 2004 Tuscany, Italy
This is a varietal Cabernet Franc. It shows sweet, ripe, rich and smooth gravelly black cherry and blackberry fruits. Ripe, yes, but so fine and delicious with lovely fruit intensity. Compelling. 93/100
Weinbach Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg Cuvée Sainte Catherine L’Inédit 2009 Alsace, France
This is a special cuvee of Riesling from Weinbach, and it’s amazing stuff. Powerful, dry, spicy and intense with notes of citrus, lime, honey and pear. Off dry, concentrated and precise. 94/100
Kracher Nouvelle Vigne Zwiegelt TBA No 1 2004 Burgenland, Austria
Remarkable stuff. Orange/brown colour with some red hints. Sweet, intense and spicy with notes of raisins and herbs. So rich and textural, this is a dense, almost structured sweet wine of great intensity. 93/100
Wine needs to be put into context. There is only limited pleasure in wine on its own. While people like me obsess about great bottles, in truth there is only a certain amount of joy to be had from even the most incredible wine aside from the context of sharing a bottle with good company, and – ideally – matched with lovely food. Gastronomic pleasure needs to be in context, and to be honest we’d still have had a lovely lunch if only modest wines were served because of the context. But in this context, great wines are free to express themselves to their full extent.