Yquem 1861 day minus 1jeudi, 9 mars 2006

Life has to be lived as an irrational theatre. This morning I receive a call : two people who were registered for the dinner cancel their registration. To find someone the day before is not so easy.

I immediately think of all the people to whom I said no, who had shown an interest for this dinner, and I think that it is a great waste. It is unfair.

As I had heard that Carole Lurton, the wife of Pierre, had been “jealous” of him, because he would drink a 1861, I immediately reacted by inviting her, and she accepted.

So one seat is missing, and it will not be easy to find someone.

As I had exchanged emails with a contributor to this forum, who is a journalist in Strasbourg, Panos, and as I knew that he was in the region, I met him for lunch in the restaurant of “Les Caudalies”, the property of the family Cathiard (Smith Haut Lafitte). I announced that I was there and Daniel Cathiard went to say hello to me. He said that due to a disease which hurts the migrating birds he had decided to take away the swans which were on the charming ponds in the lovely garden of Les Caudalies. He told me that the swans, being hidden in a closed room, are sad and do not eat anything. The “principle of precaution” which exists will kill more than the disease (for the moment).

At the table, many journalists from British and other horizons came from a visit in Haut-Bailly, and by Chateau Brown, whose owner was with us. He is a new owner as he bought the castle in 2004, and we drank the Brown 1998 made before his buy. Not much to say.

We tasted the Smith Haut Lafitte (SML) cabernet franc 2005, the SML merlot 2005 and the white SML sauvignon. I loved the cabernet, very round and showing that the work of making the wine has been well done. Impossible to judge the sauvignon as I am not expert on foetus wines.

We tried to find in a blind tasting a wine which was brought to us. A very elegant nose but a strict mouth did not allow me to find that it was Smith Haut Lafitte red 1998. I would expect this wine to be at a higher level than what I drank.

Now I am going to Mouton-Rothschild. I cannot clear my mind, being so upset that people cancelled one day before.

At my age, I should know that things never happen as was programmed.

I arrive at Mouton, and even if it is difficult to imagine, I have never been there. As I already said, I have never visited places where I was not known, as I do not want to disturb them.

My fault ! Because the museum of Mouton is something unbelievable, and the cellar of Philippine, if I had seen it before, would have pushed me to create a cellar at a higher scale than what I have !

We tasted the 2005, for which I made a separate subject.

We went, with Philippe Dhalluin, in the restaurant of Cordeilhan Bages, whose chef is Thierry Marx.

The food is extremely creative, very precise, and every plate is a piece of art. But it is a little too intellectual for me. I like precision and the cook is very precise, but I do not like too much when sophistication is a goal and not a mean.

And what annoys me the most in the excessive breaks that we should have within our talks because a waiter comes to announce a new butter, a new bread, a new course, a new sauce, a new vegetable. I got bored with all those pompous speeches, disturbing a lot our pleasure.

Obviously a wonderful place, a highly creative cook. But please, stop talking !!!

On that a Calon-Ségur 1986 which was very interesting. Seducing on one moment and strict the other moment, this wine does not like to be characterised. Not extremely long but pleasant in mouth, it left me in a mixed mood.

We had with Philippe Dhalluin a very interesting talk about wine in an historical perspective. A nice dinner.