After 3 bottles between 3 of us, I was not ready last night to type a fuller review of the exceptional wines we had enjoyed. I am very lucky to have 2 wine loving friends that have some great wine that they enjoy bringing out for these dinners.
We started with the 2012 Chateau Smith Haut Lafite. If you think you don’t like Bordeaux white wine, then if you get the chance, try this.
It is mostly sauvignon blanc blended with sauvignon gris and semillon but the sauvignon blanc is blended in a way that it is a world away from a run of the mill SB. That astringent, pungent, grassy, cat’s pee style is nowhere to be seen in this wine. It is exceptional. Perfectly balanced acidity, full bodied and still fresh yet not cloying like a full bodied Burgundy can be. Incredibly long finish. Went beautifully with the smoked salmon or scallops that we had to start.
We then moved on to the Mouton Rotschild 1976. The first time I have even been close to a first growth. It had recently been given as a gift to one of my fellow diners. It had formed part of a large collection and the family were selling and giving some of it as gifts. I suspect this was gifted rather than sold due to the damaged label and 1976 not being the finest year, but we were not complaining!
With a wine this old, it was remarkably soft and smooth. tannins had pretty much disappeared, very perfumed and a joy to drink. I couldn’t help but ask though, could I notice any substantial difference between my first “first growth” and some of the other excellent lower classed growth wines I have enjoyed? Probably not. Certainly not enough for me to buy a first growth wine over say a Leoville Poyferre or Leoville Barton, both of which I have bought the 2016 vintage EP at about £60 per bottle.
The Chevalier was a joy. 2000 was a great year. We had it decanted upon arrival to allow it some time to develop before we drank it. Even when it was poured some time after decanting it still displayed some harshness and prevalent tannic structure when compared to the MR which is not surprising considering the age difference. However, with the extra time in the glass the wine really opened up and developed. Lots of tobacco and leather mixed with red fruits but not jammy. At just below £80 from TWS showroom (not available online) go grab a bottle while there are a few there if you want a special treat.