Dinner of champagnes organized by my friend Tomo for the staff of Moët Hennessysamedi, 3 décembre 2016

A friend of mine, Tomo, is Japanese. He attended for the first time one of my dinners in which he had the extreme surprise to enjoy a 1791 Constantia of South Africa which was not programmed and was a gift from the widow of Jean Hugel because Jean was a very close friend to me. Since then we became friend and whenever we want to open a mythic bottle, we do it together, trying to balance our inputs. One year ago we had bought together a 1929 DRC Gaudichots which we drank with Aubert de Villaine and last week we have decided to buy together a 1943 Romanée Conti (prephylloxeric) which we will drink together in a few weeks.

Tomo is creating a wine cellar with prestigious wines. He phones me to tell me that he organizes a dinner for the leaders of the group Moët Hennessy at the restaurant Garance of which he is the owner. He planned to open from his cellar magnums of champagnes and offered me to join in this dinner and asks me to bring a magnum of champagne. I thank him for his proposal, which I accept.

We are eleven of whom nine from the management team of Moët Hennessy, Tomo and I. I was surprised to find Christophe Navarre, the chairman of the group, whom I had seen recently at the presentation of a Chinese wine « Ao Yun » in the Senate, and whom I know, among the participants.

The Champagne Krug Clos du Mesnil magnum 2000 is an extremely refined wine. It is very fresh and particularly light. We must not expect power but elegance. It is the aristocracy of wine in an aerial mode.

Tomo had Chef Guillaume Iskandar prepare a very simple menu, starter / main course / dessert. The dish is a very tasty piece of beef. Being concentrated on the joy of chatting with the guests, I did not note the menu but what I know is that it was delicious.

On the entrance we will compare two champagnes of the same year. The Champagne Veuve Clicquot Cave Privée magnum 1980 was disgorged in 2008. The Champagne Veuve Clicquot Carte d’Or magnum 1980 was disgorged at the time of its delivery on the market that is to say probably around 1984. Both are very great champagnes, much bigger than we would expect for 1980. There is a decisive advantage in favor of the original disgorgement, that is to say the « Golden Card ». For the « Cave Privée » which looks younger does not have the same tension. It seems domesticated while the other is vivid, powerful and extremely complex.

On the meat, we also have two champagnes. The Champagne Krug magnum 1979 is my contribution to this meal, the other wines being from Tomo’s cellar. It is served at the same time as the Champagne Krug Collection magnum 1982 which comes from a recent disgorgement. One could say by reading my bulletins that I have a strong tendency to prefer the wines that I bring, but it is clear that the Krug 1979 is totally exceptional. It is the perfection of a vivid champagne, an extreme tension and an extraordinary breed. Its aromatic persistence is infinite. The Krug 1982 is also a very large champagne but like the previous pair of champagnes, the one that has been disgorged more recently does not have the same tension and the same vivacity as that which was disgorged just before its marketing. The two are obviously in the elite of the champagne and the trace in mouth of these champagnes is extreme. But the advantage is for the 1979 and it is all the more remarkable because I tend to consider, in absolute, that 1982 is a vintage bigger than 1979. This pair of Krug is of a rare level.

The Champagne Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Collection magnum 1959 is a wine that Tomo and I have drunk many times. He is always a great Moet. But as the experiment that we do makes it possible to notice, this 1959 disgorged less than 20 years ago does not have the tone and the strength that would have the same wine disgorged at the time of its placing on the market.

Tomo bought a Comté of 48 months and I told him that personally, on yellow wines, I prefer not to go beyond 18 months, because the comtés very refined are too strong. This comté is remarkable, with a very balanced and measured taste. Tomo was right to choose him. He created with the Château Chalon Jean Bourdy 1928 a classic agreement, expected but ideal. The 1928 is of an incredible freshness and youth with an aromatic persistence that one expects from these powerful and impregnating wines.

Tomo has so much desire to make us happy that he makes open a Champagne Krug Private Cuvée magnum with an age which must be around 60 years. This champagne is the one that preceded the Great Cuvée today, the most elaborate champagne of Krug since it is the fruit of assemblage of innumerable wines. This champagne is exceptional. This is the quintessence of the Krug spirit. It is racy but also charming. It is a very large champagne of maturity assumed. It is noble and complex. It’s crazy what age brings to the Krug champagnes.

Tireless, Tomo serves the Château d’Yquem magnum 2007. He is young, very clear in color, but he has a very beautiful presence with an elegant botrytis. You can drink it, but it will flourish with a few more decades.

As if that were not enough Guillaume Muller, the sommelier director brings us a Chartreuse green V.E.P. In a format larger than magnum. Here is at least one bottle that we have not finished!

The atmosphere was very friendly and cheerful. The exciting conversations prevented me from retaining details about each wine. The series lined up by Tomo is spectacular. The winners are, for my taste: 1 – Krug 1979, 2 – Krug Private Cuvée, 3 – Veuve Clicquot Carte d’Or 1980, which corresponds to the disgorgements of origin.

This tasting was of interest to Christophe Navarre. Thanks to Tomo we had a memorable evening.

(the pictures can be seen on the same article in French – see above)