282nd lunch at the Moët Hennessy Apartmentsamedi, 25 mai 2024

The 282nd event will be a lunch at the Moët Hennessy Apartment in Paris, where I have already made several meals. The cuisine will be carried out on the premises by the Pages restaurant team by chef Ken and under the direction of Naoko Oishi, owner of Pages restaurant.

There will be twelve of us, including a contingent of four Belgians and Dutch, one Australian, one New Yorker, one Californian and five French. Most foreigners signed up because they follow me on Instagram. There are five new ones.

I arrive at the Apartment at 9:30 a.m. to open twelve bottles of wine, including three magnums. I have never taken so much time to make the openings. Two and a half hours, which is more than twelve minutes per wine. I finished at 12 a.m. This is due to the extremely large number of corks which came in shreds, the wick only bringing up a mass of crumbs stuck to the metal, the walls of the neck keeping the cork friable. Even the Yquem corks which normally come whole came out torn. And the Krug magnum had a steel wire so thick that it took me a long time to turn the little ear that closes the cork capsule. The satisfaction I had fortunately was that no crumbs of cork fell into the wine. The other satisfaction is that of the scents of the wines. That of Y d’Yquem 1964, rich as that of a Yquem, the complex and rich flavor of Musigny 1947, the olfactory bomb of Château Chalon 1921, the absolutely perfect perfume of Yquem 1959.

The menu was designed with chef Ken and it occurred to me that between the Romanée Conti 1963 and the Musigny, a break would be necessary for the Krug champagne which I had put at the first place to begin the meal and which will be put in the middle of the meal . We will start the meal with a rosé champagne from Veuve Clicquot.

The guests arrive and we drink the Champagne Veuve Clicquot Cave Privée Rosé Magnum 1979 from the Apartment cellar. This champagne is majestic, with a papal balance. What a pleasure to savor this rich and seductive champagne. Happiness. The appetizers are copious and varied, which highlights the flexibility of champagne: oysters, gougères, pata negra, tempura, raw fish. Every agreement is relevant.

The meal menu is: lobster with white wine sauce, white asparagus from La Torche / veal with light red wine sauce, morels, mashed potatoes / Wagyu, beef jus and potato waffles / poached duck liver / Risotto with young parmesan / pigeon, salmis and potato millefeuille / old Comté 18 months and matured Saint-Nectaire / citrus tart and almond cream / rose financier.

The first course of lobster accompanies the two white wines. Y d’Yquem 1964 is from a year when Sauternes d’Yquem was not produced. There are therefore botrytized grains which have mixed with the white wine grains to produce an extremely rich wine. The pairing that it will create with the lobster bisque is an anthology pairing. This wine with its strong personality is captivating.

The Musigny Blanc Comte Georges De Vogüé 1993 also has a particularity, because its vintage is the last produced by old vines, which were uprooted after the harvest. The Vogüé estate had the delicacy to call the following vintages « Burgundy White » and not Musigny for more than twenty years. This rich and noble Musigny with a long trace on the palate creates a splendid pairing with beautiful white asparagus.

The following step will be four wines from Romanée Conti, the four greatest, and from very disparate years. The Romanée Saint-Vivant Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1983 is accompanied by the Richebourg Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1953 on veal, a delicate dish. The Richebourg has a scent that is not very clear so it is almost erased by the magnificent Romanée Saint-Vivant which has the youthful ardor of a Romanée Conti wine with elegance and subtlety.

Contrary to plan, two other wines will have been served together even though they should not have been. They accompanied a Wagyu with exceptional cooking and ideal fat, which made La Tâche Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1943 shine, a wine that I consider exceptional in a vintage that was successful at the Domaine. The wine is particularly elegant, suave and sweet, with a fragile and delicate finish.

The Romanée Conti Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1963 has an unpleasant cork nose, but which is not felt in the mouth. We even see how intense this wine is with a beautiful, unexpected fruit. He will not have had the companion I wanted, the poached foie gras and the strength of the Wagyu does not suit him. Worried about the scent of Romanée Conti, I didn’t react quickly enough for his dish to arrive. It’s a sad thing.

The Krug Private Cuvée Brut Réserve Magnum 50s Champagne is an absolutely magnificent bottle. When I see the champagne being served, I realize that it is clear at the first glass and becomes darker and darker, because more and more sediment appears. Champagne has a nice personality, but it doesn’t shine as much as it should. The pairing with the delicate risotto is a treat.

The Musigny Vieilles Vignes Comte de Vogüé magnum 1947 is an absolute epitome. This immense wine is rich and glorious. I bought it over thirty years ago and often thought about creating an opportunity to showcase it. What could be better than to precede it with four wines from Romanée Conti. And he plays his imperial role well. We are all struck by its splendor. And the superb pigeon is exactly what gives it ideal scale.

Château Chalon Bourdy 1921 has a scent to die for. What power for a 103 years old wine! Wine is magical and I am in love with it. It is a little more majestic than the 1906 I drank last week. The vin jaune and Comté pairing is divine and sacred.

Due to the glorious scent of Château d’Yquem 1959, probably one of the greatest Yquem flavors I have drunk, I expected it to outshine the deeper but more flavorful Château d’Yquem 1937, discreet even if it is intense. And to my great surprise, the 1937 surpassed the 1959 due to its extreme intensity and a more assertive nobility. The 1959 is the charmer and the 1937 is the deeper thinker. The subtle dessert is magical for these two wines.

The menu was ideal and the execution deserves all the compliments, even after the mistake on the poached foie gras for which I also feel responsible. The pairings were splendid: lobster with Y 1964, Wagyu with La Tâche 1943, pigeon with Musigny and Yquem with tart. But we won’t forget the Musigny blanc with asparagus.

The moment of the vote is eagerly awaited because it is very difficult to anticipate what the ranking will be as there is so much competition apart from Musigny which will have an insolent victory. Eight first votes out of twelve voters is a very rare score. Four other wines had a first vote, the Romanée Saint-Vivant Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1983, La Tâche Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1943 and the two Château d’Yquem, the 1937 and the 1959. Eleven out of twelve wines had at least one vote, which is very satisfactory, only the Richebourg 1953 not having a vote because it was associated with the Romanée Saint-Vivant which overshadowed it.

The classification of the entire table is: 1 – Musigny Vieilles Vignes Comte de Vogüé magnum 1947, 2 – Château d’Yquem 1937, 3 – Romanée Saint-Vivant Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1983, 4 – La Tâche Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1943, 5 – Y d’Yquem 1964, 6 – Château d’Yquem 1959.

My vote is: 1 – Musigny Vieilles Vignes Comte de Vogüé magnum 1947, 2 – Château d’Yquem 1937, 3 – Château Chalon Bourdy 1921, 4 – Y d’Yquem 1964, 5 – La Tâche Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1943.

The vote took place in a joyful atmosphere because we were all overwhelmed with beautiful memories, the small imperfections easily forgotten.

We went to the lounge to drink a Hennessy Richard Cognac accompanied by a rose financier, a perfect pairing which I am proud to have come up with.

The atmosphere was so friendly that when I mentioned a dinner that would take place in five months, more than half of those present told me they would come. What happiness!