The other day David Roberts MW and I were discussing one of the downsides of being a wine merchant. On arrival at a dinner your host tells you he has opened something a bit special. Panic sets in as this has four possible interpretations:
-it is a wine that the host has picked up from the Wagga Wagga Food and Wine Festival.
-your host has recently bought a very small vineyard in Umbria and this special wine is the fruit of his 1st vintage. (Be warned the taste buds of the finest tasters go out the window when they start making their own wine.)
-it is purely and simply a trap to make the hapless wine merchant look an idiot
-it is a genuine desire to share a great bottle of wine and to have the fun of tasting it blind.
Last Friday night it was the latter. Harry Henderson produced a glorious wine. It was deep in colour had a wonderful mature sweet cedar box nose. On the palate the flavours were glorious, without a hint of drying out. It was a wine at its absolute peak.
I would love to say that I identified it immediately. Notwithstanding the fact that I had drunk this wine on numerous occasions over the years I failed as I honestly thought that it was a 1st Growth.
It was Ch Gruaud Larose 1982 and it was a pure pleasure. This is a wine that has taken time to develop but, after Friday night, I can guarantee you that the wait has been worthwhile and it fully justified its 96/100 Robert Parker rating.