Having just spent a few weeks in San Francisco and had my fill of the local juice, some of it very good, I was delighted on my return to Hong Kong to find that our latest shipment had arrived, and on it were some French wines I had bought back in the day, very reasonably, which were now ready to pop.
If I am honest the first wine, the Condrieu Coteau de Chery 2005 from Andre Perret had lurked unnoticed in my reserves (I’d forgotten I’d bought it and as I would not open any of the 2005 red Rhones for a while I always glossed over that part of the cellar) and I was sure I’d left it too long, and I wasn’t expecting much. I thought it would be fat, flabby, oily, possibly oxidised. And I don’t really like old Condrieu. I like them when they are young and people say that you should drink them either within 2 years, or after 7 years but I don’t really like them in that fully mature stage so this was a revelation. Still youthful, poised, mineral. Floral notes of peaches and melon and a lovely tight clean finish. If I had tasted this blind I would have said it was a 2010, or an 2008. Merci Monsieur Perret, you are a wizard. This wine cost me GBP 15/bottle bought EP in November 2006.
The second wine I was really looking forward to, Cote Rotie Domaine Ogier 1999. I bought this on release in April 2001 for GBP 18/bottle and have been close to pulling it out before but being from the great 1999 vintage I had managed to hold off. This was superb, and absolutely ripe and ready, but no huge rush on the other 11 bottles! Fantastic balance, lovely sweet fruit and complex darks fruits. All in perfect harmony.
Up next La Petite Eglise, Pomerol 1999, made by Denis Durantou. This is absolutely ready to go, ripe and lovely. The more 1999 Pomerols I drink the more I come to respect this ‘forgotten vintage’ sandwiched between the great years of 1998 (in Pomerol) and 2000 (in Bordeaux). I really enjoyed this, and it slipped down much faster than expected, a sure sign that myself and my guests enjoyed it. And it really was amazing value at GBP 9/bottle bought EP in June 2000.
As the Petite Eglise 1999 went down faster than expected, and there were a few empty glasses looking like they were ready for more, I pulled out one more bottle, a Les Carmes Haut Brion, Pessac Leognan 1998. Ive always been a bit of a fan of this property, back when under the stewardship of the Furt family, and I had bought the 1998 EP at GBP 15/bottle in May 1999. Quite classic Pessac in style, lots of ripe fruit and a nicely rounded plump finish. Very good indeed, and no rush to pull the corks on the rest for another 5 years. Sadly for my bottles the chances of any of them making it through 2013 lying in my wine fridge at home are very slim indeed.
Thanks to Mark Cumming for the photo.