Florent is a wine enthusiast with an enthusiasm that fascinates me. A generation separates us and I admire his motivation. He organizes a lunch of rare wines for seven to eight people. In the list I see that it includes Latour à Pomerol 1947 considered one of the legendary wines of 1947. This gives the tone of the meal that requires one aligns this level. I decided to hit hard too, to lead others to offer also great wines. My contribution will be a magnum of Pétrus 1950 year which belongs to the legendary years for Pétrus. The magnum has a level in the neck which is particularly good because the capsule is obviously of origin.
The contributions are in addition to contributions with a pure debauchery of some crazy fans, and Florent asks me to choose the restaurant. Having seen how the chef Ryuji Teshima named Teshi, who owns restaurant Pages is passionate about wine, I suggested this restaurant. It was a brilliant idea, as osmosis was found between the cuisine and wines in an atmosphere of rare involvement of the whole team.
Florent and Tomo yesterday attended the dinner for my birthday. Lunch is the next day, which is pure madness. I asked Florent to arrive early in the restaurant to open as many bottles already delivered as he can, and told him that I would open Pétrus 1950 when I arrive. I lent him my tools. The wines were therefore open from 10:00, mine a little before 11:00 and the Mouton 1945 of Tomo arrived a little before noon. Lunch having started around at 1 pm and lasted up to 6 pm, each wine had almost enough oxygenation.
We are seven, all wine lovers. There are professionals who sell old wines, and Tomo, Florent and me.
The weather is nice, and on the sidewalk of the street, we are munching crisps and we drink Champagne Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises 1992. It has a beautiful light golden color. The bubble is present but unobtrusive. The taste evokes honey and brioche. The wine is nice, but I still feel a lack of breadth and length.
We go inside for lunch. The menu made by Teshi considering a few suggestions I made to him is: vegetables / grilled pointed cabbage chips, shredded chorizo / bread puffed crispy potatoe of Noirmoutier / caviar of Sologne in a small pancake / bass carpaccio Ikejime line / line turbot Ile d’Yeu and shellfish citrus / Wagyu carpaccio Ozaki, radishes and turnips / lamb of Lozère walnuts and grilled lamb in Binchotan, declination carrots / beef of Galicia matured 45 days grilled Binchotan, beef juice egg and chanterelles / Wagyu Kobe beef, five months of maturation, grilled Binchotan, potatoe / verbena sorbet and poppy duo / brûlée flavored ice cream Elderberry sorbet strawberry charlotte and rhubarb compote.
Teshi had the intelligence to simplify the dishes in order that they fit best to the wines. Teshi, his sommelier Vincent and the whole kitchen team were able to taste the wines. It was a joy to see their eyes shine.
Champagne Philipponnat Grande Réserve Blanc de Blancs 1955 carries a banner with the words « exceptional selection of 2,000 bottles. » The fragrance is that of an ancient wine, superb. Without really showing its bubbles it has a sparkling finish. The color is amber. It is for me an immense champagne, magic, with a precise nose. It evokes almonds, lime, which makes it very fresh. It has a very long finish which shows its alcohol. One can also feel the cigar and butter. Its final is of a rare freshness. It reminds me of beautiful Meursaults maturity. Caviar of Sologne is absolutely outstanding, a perfect balance.
The Batard-Montrachet Domaine Claude Ramonet 1961 is an amber wine. One might worry too much about its evolution but in fact it is beautiful, with a nice outfit nose. The mouth is generous. This is just the final which shows a little bitterness but that fades with time. The wine enjoys a nice evolution in the glass. It is subtle. It is a wine that tells beautiful things. But we’ll soon forget!
For the Château Laville Haut-Brion 1947 Graves has an incredible nose of strength and subtlety of lemon. My table neighbor keeps the feel for minutes, without feeling the need to drink as the fragrance is spellbinding. Its color is light golden honey. The palate is powerful, exotic, fabulous. This is the perfection of white Bordeaux wine. This is a white wine anthology reminds me of the sea as it seems iodized. But there are also flowers and citrus. The fluidity of its finish is extreme.
The Corton Charlemagne Jean-François Coche-Dury 2001 has an explosive scent. It evokes a flint. Fat wine is huge, but it also has a lot of freshness. It evokes toasted hazelnuts. One wonders how such exuberance is possible.
The Château Latour à Pomerol 1947 has a very dark color. The nose evokes a strong truffle. The mouth is also very truffle. The wine is rather sweet. Wine is a little roasted, evoking coffee. We are very far from the legend and magic I expected and which had prompted me to register. Wine is too short, but with the carpaccio Ozaki, it takes greatness.
The Château Latour Pauillac 1921 has a nose of red fruit that I love and that will continue until the end of the meal. The good dark color is very beautiful. The nose is « giant », evoked fruits are crazy, raspberry and cassis. It is impossible to imagine that it is 94 years old. The mouth is beautiful with a little bitter fruits. The mouth is not totally perfect and the wine, except his nose, is not a total balance. In addition to fruits, one feels the truffle.
When I wear the glass to my nose, I cringe. The Chateau Trotanoy Pomerol 1959 is corked and I am surprised that we are so little to perceive it. I feel the glass of Tomo which actually has less cork smell, but it is there. In the mouth it feels nothing at all but minimally in the final. The wine is quite cheerful, full, with lots of charm. We would meet in if there was not this final drying, reflecting the cork accident.
Aside from the very pretty fruits of 1921, I find this series of three rather weak. Fortunately, the second series of three wines will delight us.
Château Mouton-Rothschild 1945 of Tomo, I examined every angle. All indices show that the wine is authentic. On the cork, which broke into a thousand pieces, one clearly reads 194 and the small bottom hook accredits the number 5. The nose is superb. It is a very fine wine, very subtle, but I remain cautious in my review because I do not find the perfection that I have in memory. The wine is generous, the color is beautiful, barely tiled. Galicia is wonderful meat and sticks well to the wine, which is becoming increasingly close, comfortable and balanced. At this point, now I find the expected perfection. The wine is not as nice as the one I drank, but it really is very close to that perfection. The wine is velvety, with a small sign of roasting more than I have in memory. It belongs to great wines.
The Pétrus Pomerol 1947 extraordinary color is full of youth and again doubt about wine is not possible when looking at the capsule and the cork. The nose is very elegant, slightly closed. In the mouth it is also what some roasted side that I do not like. I was very surprised that the majority of the guests are so laudatory to this wine that does not provide the quality I’ve experienced with Pétrus 1947. I have not felt the magic it should have and it bothers me a little that some are captivated by the supposed magic of myth, which, moreover, had no label.
The Pétrus Pomerol 1950 magnum might push me toward my natural tendency to prefer wines I bring, but now I do not need, because wine is a hundred cubits above all others. It is absolute perfection. It has charm, velvet, not a fault of a gram. It is absolute perfection. It evokes the truffle and its finale that never ends, there is the truffle. It is fluid, fresh and young. It is perfect. We will see in the votes I am not exaggerating.
Chateau Sigalas-Rabaud 1921 has a beautiful deep amber color. The wine smells of caramel. In the mouth it is also there in front of perfection. And with crème caramel creates an almost orgasmic combination.
We poured a glass of each wine that shared the chef, sommelier and all the team. See their eyes light to approach such wines is a delight. The atmosphere in the restaurant was of a friendship and a dream generosity because Teshi opened for us the wonderful caviar and a piece of very rare Kobe because of aging. We were almost alone in the restaurant that has created a family atmosphere.
For once we involved the chef and the sommelier to our votes. We are nine voting, choosing four wines. They focused on seven wine out of twelve wine which is a higher concentration than usual. I believe this is the first time that a wine harvests a place of number one seven times on nine voting. This is the Pétrus 1950. The 47 and 45 Mouton had a vote of first.
The consensus of the vote would be: 1 – Pétrus Pomerol Magnum 1950, 2 – Pétrus Pomerol 1947 3 – Château Mouton-Rothschild 1945, 4 – Château Laville Haut Brion Graves 1947 5 – Corton Charlemagne Jean-François Coche-Dury in 2001.
My vote is: 1 – Pétrus Pomerol Magnum 1950, 2 – Château Mouton-Rothschild 1945, 3 – Château Laville Haut-Brion 1947 Graves, 4 – Champagne Philipponnat Grande Réserve Blanc de Blancs 1955.
The Pétrus 1947 is not in my vote and its second place in the combined votes surprises me. But it is the law of the genre. Tastes are different between lovers. The cook was inspired, Teshi, highly motivated, applying to what the pure product is highlighted by complementary flavors, all consistent.
My vision of this experience is that the four wines for which I voted, plus the Latour 1921 and the Sigalas-Rabaud 1921 value this meal to make it an absolutely memorable meal. We cannot have a 100% success and even a little weak wine had something to say. The incredible atmosphere in the restaurant fascinated me.
Tomo was pleased with the performance of his Mouton. He invites us, plus the chef to share a champagne home, as if we needed it. Champagne Moët & Chandon magnum 1959 has a beautiful golden color like wheat. But on the palate, the wine is not at the rendezvous, a little pasty, although this wine, which we have already shared Tomo and I in magnum is normally a quality and freshness extraordinary. It still is drunk with pleasure, honey and brioche supporting good.
The final grace, the desired end point is found with the Arbois Vin de Paille 1915 of Tomo. Suave, almost sweet, it has a lot in common with the subtle sweetness of Tokaji 5 Puttonyos 1866 I recently drank. Such a conclusion is perfect for a great tour through legendary wines, some being there at their rendez-vous, some not, but who cares, to quote the regretted Joseph Henriot, « the important thing is the way. »
(pictures are on the article in French)