Dinner at Haut Bailly

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Too hot, too tired and too old to step through the doors of Vinexpo but what a wonderful week to be in Bordeaux. I have already written about the dinner at Ch Margaux but yesterday was another superb day.

Lunch at Ch Langoa Barton. I had hoped to have lunch with the great Anthony. Notwithstanding following his sartorial instruction to the letter “no Jesus sandals and socks from New & Lingwood”, very sadly Anthony was not up to seeing me. Instead I had lunch with Eva, Lilian, Damien and Melanie. It was a wonderful lunch and Anthony must be so proud of his grandchildren.

On arrival I polished off two glasses of Pol Roger 2000; this is drinking so well now. At lunch two decanters stood silently on the sideboard. Poured out with no hint as to what they were I sniffed, I gurgled and swallowed but I didn’t have a clue about the first wine so was mightily relieved when she told me it was Leoville 1986. The second wine, Ch Langoa Barton 1982, was utterly lovely and at its peak. Who wrote back in 1983 that 82s wouldn’t make old bones?

The afternoon was spent stuck on the Rocade, but finally arrived at Ch Biac. This was my first visit to this gem set in a stunningly beautiful position, with an amphitheatre of vineyards stretching down to the Gironde.

Then off to Haut Bailly for dinner and what a dinner! The gods were kind and it was a glorious night. 10 vintages of Haut Bailly: 2006 and 2004 for drinking soon, 2005 and 2010 to treasure in ones cellar for 10 years.

Dinner-guests

The pre-dinner drinks were wonderfully informal and once again the Champagne was Pol Roger, this time the vintage was 2004. Does Pol Roger have a monopoly of all our favourite Chateau? The great and the good of the world of wine there, including some friends from Burgundy. The youngest guest at the dinner came with our great friend Christian Seely of Ch Pichon Baron. At dinner I sat next to two famous Americans Bill Harlan and Stan Kroenke. They both have second jobs but Bill started Harlan Estate and Stan Screaming Eagle.

We drank wonderful wines at dinner starting with Corton Charlemagne Bonneau du Martray 2007 which is a really lovely drop. Then Le Pin 2008, which is fabulous with a long life ahead and then Pingus 2007. Ping was there and reminded me that when he was 18 I gave him two Billy Holiday 33s that he still has. Then we had a brace of Haut Baillys, the 2009 and the 2000. The 2009 is sensual and approachable, the 2000 a classic which is still only in its early development. We finished off with Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994 – the best port I have drunk for ages.

Alain Dutournier relaxing after dinner
Alain Dutournier relaxing after dinner

I had been told that Bob Wilmers and Veronique Sanders gave the best party during Vinexpo and it must be true as it was a magical, informal, fun evening. I was honoured to be there and can’t thank Bob & Veronique enough.