Justin participated in the Ultimate lunch at the Plénitude Arnaud Donckele restaurant. He wants to organize a meal of this caliber and tells me that he is staying in Saint-Tropez. I invite him to lunch at our house in the south. He comes with his wife, a friend Craig and Craig’s daughter Olympia. We had long discussions with my wife to set up a menu and I chose the wines after doing several programs.
The menu will be: aperitif with gouda with pesto, anchoïade, rillette / comparison of two caviars, osciètra prestige and Baeri, with baguette and butter / smoked salmon heart / potatoes and Baeri caviar / onion tart / fruit tart summer.
I opened the wines at nine in the morning. Both champagnes have corks that sheared off when I tried to remove them. Chevalier-Montrachet has an extraordinary nose of fruity generosity. The Vega Sicilia Unico has a glorious nose and a beautiful youth. I do not open more wines. We will advise when the time comes because it is very hot.
Our friends are punctual. It is scorching hot.
Champagne Dom Pérignon 1971 has a beautiful amber color, almost the same as the apple juice served for Olympia. The bubble is present and a nice pschitt had accompanied the opening when my corkscrew had pulled the lunula from the bottom of the cork. From the first sip, we know we are in front of a sumptuous champagne. What grace, what presence, what intensity. A great, charming and noble champagne. We happened to drink a Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial 1971 not long ago. Despite the performance of Dom Pérignon, I have a preference for the broader, more generous and richer Moët. It must also be said that my heart swings towards the one we did not expect at this level.
Gouda is absolutely perfect for champagne with its delicious fatness. But it is the rillette which is the best accomplice.
Champagne Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Grand Siècle non vintage is probably from the beginning of the 1970s or the end of the 60s. Its color is very close to the color of Dom Pérignon. I like this champagne because it is the most convincing testimony to the considerable contribution of aging to the quality and emotion of a champagne. If the Dom Pérignon is glorious, the Grand Siècle is more romantic and subtle. The two caviars make the delicate champagne shine.
The Chevalier-Montrachet Domaine Leflaive 1995 has an incredible fragrance. That’s what strikes me the most. This perfume is indefinable based on unknown fruits. On the palate, what is striking is the richness of this full, broad and complex wine. A real treat. With salmon, it is ideal. Its color is a beautiful light gold and Justin tells me that unfortunately, in the United States it is difficult to have such perfect wines from this period.
I had considered for the red wine to have a sirloin of beef but due to the heat, my wife preferred to make an onion tart which goes wonderfully with the Vega Sicilia Unico 1989. The level in the bottle was less than half a centimeter from the bottom of the cork, which is perfect, like the quality of the cork. The nose at the opening was of a beautiful richness and a great youth despite its 33 years, rich in blackcurrant and black fruits. On the palate, this wine is glorious, remarkably natural. What could be more pleasant than this juicy, easy-going wine? But it is noble, complex, and flamboyant.
For dessert, I fetch a Champagne Perrier-Jouët rosé 1966 from a refrigerator. Open, the pleasure was there. This champagne has a lovely sparkle and the pinkish color is engaging. With fruit tart, this champagne is ideal, and what is amazing is that it has no signs of age. He is expressive, gentle, friendly and very pleasant, without asking the slightest question. It is quite significant that Olympia, authorized by her father to taste the wines, made this rosé her favorite. This proves that he is frank and charming.
Justin prefers the 1971 Dom Pérignon and I prefer the 1995 Chevalier Montrachet, but what is interesting is that all five wines were perfect. And I’m happy with the choice of wines I made, to put three very different old champagnes and a white wine and a red wine from the aristocracy of pure pleasure wines.
The lunch atmosphere was very friendly and promises new adventures to come.
Some rests of wines remained. The next day, the perfume of Chevalier Montrachet was still captivating, magical and enigmatic. Immense. And the wine was still pleasant.