Clos Sainte Hune 1976 et Bienvenue Bâtard Montrachet 1999mercredi, 23 mai 2007

I had met the director of a magazine specialised in wine, and he had considered the idea that I could write in it on old wines as I do regularly in a Swedish magazine. He had insisted that we have lunch together and the day before, his secretary calls me and says : “Mr XX is happy to have lunch with you. Has the place been decided between you ?”. I say no, and she proposes to reserve in a restaurant, and asks me if there is a place where I feel well. I say “Laurent”, and she sends me an email confirming that she has booked.

This morning, the lady calls me and says that Mr XX wants to talk with me. He says that he is happy that we meet, but says : “I would be happy to know who invites whom. Because if it is you, I will be happy to go to Laurent, but if it is me, I will have to choose another place, as we have rules and budgets for invitations”. I say that there is no problem and I invite him.

I arrive first, and I ask Ghislain to prepare a Riesling Clos Sainte Hune Trimbach 1976, a year that I specially love, and we will choose the other wine with the menu.

I suggest that we have crab with the Sainte Hune, and I propose an unconventional try, which is to associate a pigeon to white wine. Philippe Bourguignon, the remarkable director of the place smiles and says that it should be interesting, and I take a Bienvenue Batard Montrachet Domaine Leflaive 1999.

The Sainte Hune appears a little too cold, so the first sip has citrus and a disagreeable taste of glycerine. But the colour is so nice, of prune gold, that it promises a lot. And the wine expands in the glass and broadens with air and becomes ageless, completely balanced and logically structured. It is a wine of perfection. And the crab enlarges even more the wine.

We are happy.

The Bienvenue has a more pale and green yellow colour, has a smell with a fantastic complexity, and on the taste of the meat of the pigeon, it gains a complexity which is my complete pleasure. My guest is not so much at ease with this association, but personally, I find it quite exciting. The wine has a complexity that is above the one of many Montrachet. It has not the body, the power of a Montrachet, but it compensates it by this extreme variety of directions of tastes. It is obviously a great wine. It is elegant, romantic, playing on its subtlety.

We finish the two wines with cheese and some mignardises.

The restaurant Laurent is obviously a fantastic place which should never had lost one star. We were in the garden and it was delightful. The service is perfect and the food was great. Philippe had added morels to the pigeon to go with the Burgundy.

This was happiness. Will I write in the magazine ? I have probably built the first subject of a future paper, if I forget the beginning of my story.