The day after the discovery of a sublime prephylloxeric unknown soldier whom I arbitrarily christened Château Margaux 1870, we are in the same formation to dine at home, my son and me. We drink the second half of Champagne Pierre Péters Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru The spirit of 2005 that really enjoyed a day of aeration more, even if the bottle was closed by a cork. The champagne is larger, fuller, and its definition is chiseled. But what we could blame this champagne is to be still too young. It is impubrious and therefore lacks a little brio. He is the perfect student, but still a virgin. He will debride himself in a few years. We nibble pies, a shiny « pâté de tête », with which the Péters behaves happily, and we decide to skip the lunch program to devote ourselves to the 1869 Cyprus wine that has remained, like champagne, clogged in a cool place. We had noticed the day before that late evening, vinegary smells had disappeared and the nasty white bubbles had evaporated. It was feared that there would be a veil on the surface of the wine as there is for the yellow wines of the Jura when they are in casks. The time has come to pour the wine and it is obviously a great uncertainty and a great emotion. Before pouring, I smell the neck and the perfume seems pure.
I pour two glasses and no piece of veil appears. The wine is pure. The color in the glasses is intense and dark but there is a nice color that is similar to that of dark whiskeys or dark brown alcohols. This color is pleasant even if it is darker than that of Cyprus 1845 which I have already opened a good fifteen times.
The nose is rich with heavy and brown fruits. In the mouth, we immediately know that we have won. The attack is of a beautiful acidity carrying freshness as if there was a lemon juice mixed with wine. Then the wine is heavy. Describe is always reductive but we can feel notes of candied grapes, prunes, coffee, some liquorice but less than in Cyprus 1845, pepper and zest suggested. The wine is heavy, greedy, and of infinite length. It is impossible to part with it. And we note that unlike the 1845, this wine is drunk as an alcohol and not as a wine. It is so powerful and heavy that you take two small glasses and that’s enough, as you would with a strong alcohol. But despite this, the acidulous freshness dominates.
My pleasure in drinking this wine is double. First of all it is delicious. We can feel that it is not totally perfect and that the decline in level that has existed for decades has dried up a bit and concentrated, but it is important to say that it is extremely pleasant, wine of great nobility that has extreme peppery freshness which is stunning.
The second pleasure is to think that if the bottle with the lowest level has these qualities, all of the Cyprus wines that I acquired are likely to be of high quality. And this pleasure is reinforced by the fact that many amateurs less patient would probably have condemned the wine that was so vilely vinegary. Financier cakes on this wine are the perfect partners.
Two emotions in a row, one with this Bordeaux unknown yesterday and the other with this superb Cyprus of 1869, is a lot. So to finish this semblance of meal I open a Champagne Bollinger Grande Année rosé 1996. The word that comes to characterize this champagne is: « noble ». He is tall but he is above all noble. The second word is « accomplished ». The consistency of this incredibly charming rosé is perfect. We cannot imagine the slightest defect in this champagne that is at the top of his art. It is a champagne of pleasure, elegant and convincing that would lend itself to beautiful gastronomic experiences.
It’s time to go to sleep and dream these paradises offered by these perfect wines.
I fell asleep smiling at the Cyprus 1869 and the beautiful Bollinger Rose 1996. The next day, everything was not so rosy. Computer problems, new requests from the tax authorities that lead to senseless loss of time and the return of the office of my industrial society, a GPS that suggests that the shortest way between Bondy and my home would be to go through Vancouver and Vladivostok . I caricature of course but I cursed this pure product of artificial intelligence that produced in me an increased anger, like the reality of the same name.
Arrived finally at home, I have time to think about what we will drink tonight. In one part of the cellar a dead light bulb leaves the shelves in the dark. Using the flashlight of my phone (progress is not always useless) I walk and I light bottles. I read Dom Pérignon 1969. My son is from 1969 and the open bottle of Cyprus is 1869. To meet two wines that a hundred years separate, it is classy. All the annoyances of the day are forgotten. Place to pleasure.
My son also arrives with a good hour late and we start to drink on the Champagne Bollinger Grande Année Brut rosé 1996 of which it remained half a bottle. The champagne has kept all its presence. The sparkling has a little weakened but vivacity remains as noble as yesterday. It is one of the great standards of rosé champagne. What we have to associate with him is not ideal. Slices of salmon barely smoked in the net are fine, in a color-on-color accord that I love. Terrines and pâtés are less adequate.
We nibble without seeking agreement and the beautiful rosé is self-sufficient. It’s time to open Dom Pérignon Champagne 1969. The bottle is very pretty in a slightly different form from the current actual bottles. The label is identical. The cape is thin and breaks into a thousand chips. The cap comes whole because I proceed extremely slowly. It is very short. There is no pschitt but the first nose that I perceive feeling the neck just after opening tells me that the champagne is great. The color is beautiful, a little amber pink gold. The nose is formidable because it is of extreme intensity. On the palate, it’s fascinating with certainty. The wine is sparkling, of course, wide, deep, with an unquenchable length. And we know immediately that we are in front of one of the largest Dom Pérignon that is. What an impression in the mouth. I would like so much that Richard Geoffroy is with us to enjoy this unreal wine. We are not at the level of 1929 which remains my biggest Dom Pérignon but we are at the level of the most beautiful years of the 1960s, which for my taste is the greatest decade of all with 1966, 1964, 1969, 1962 and 1961 which are grandiose, of memory in that order. What aromatic persistence. It’s crazy. There are yellow fruits, controlled bitterness, winy but also floral. What does it matter, it is grandissime.
So it is tempting to put champagne 1969 and Cyprus 1869 side by side. It was opened two days ago and has reached an unassailable equilibrium. What is crazy is that at the level of the attack, it is acidity and pepper that announce the freshness. Then, two seconds later, it is the heaviness of a caramelized or roasted fruit. And finally the finale is a joyous ode. This wine is huge and forms a possible pair with the champagne that still gains liveliness in contact with the liquoreux.
So the idea that we taste two bright and brilliant wines that are a hundred years apart, seems to us totally unreal. And we are happy.
(pictures are in the two articles in French)