a weekend away – with bottles!


A long weekend in the UK is to blame for the tumbleweed around here. Still, that didn’t mean I completely gave up imbibing…

Friday was a very early start indeed – actually more than a few in the UK probably hadn’t made it to their beds when my alarm went on Friday morning – ouch. The second ‘ouch’ was for the narcotics I had to take to enable me to sit for a whole hour on the plane (herniated disc – apparently!). First sight of the UK was rainy Gatwick airport at 7:00am – I don’t think I can quite capture the beauty of the scene!

Fast train to London and a smooch around Harvey-Nicks in Knightsbridge: chocolate-coated fire ants, barbecued worms – the usual fare! Their wine department is small but eclectic – for London the prices are almost good too. Despite a bank of refrigerators down one side, I felt the bottles on the shelves a little too warm – the fridges contained whites. A coffee with a friend before heading to a lunch at Don’s Restaurant near Cannon St. tube. And what fantastically benevolent hosts too – 2006 DRC Montrachet for lunch – the quality of the rabbit terrine and black pig done three ways was really secondary! Like most 06s it has lost some of its volume and a little texture too, no-doubt, but this medium-plus yellow wine had understated, but quite enough acidity for balance, such a width of complexity too – wonderful. Super hosts too, thank-you!

Late-afternoon train had me in the arms of friends for the weekend. A trip to Berry Bros in Basingstoke (to pick up some wines) on Saturday was a great success – their ‘outlet’ as they like to describe it was full of wines I would like to have bought – but there were too many and I was on a budget! Lamarche, Grivot, Serafin, Dujac, Fichet, Ente, H.Boillot, Bessin – I could go on – but all with 25% discount. Stocks change daily as I think they are mainly ‘end-of-lines’ but I was sad to leave with only 12 bottles! Lunch with old friends was tinged with only a slight disappointment; not the food, or their Pinot Gris from Luxembourg, rather that we didn’t get around to opening the 2008 Fleurie, La Roilette Vieilles Vignes from Metrat that I took! The evening started with 06 Chablis Fourchaume from Bessin – on great, chalky form and then 1998 Denis Mortet Gevrey. The Gevrey was on it’s best form to-date; the occasionally overwhelming ashy-oak now subsumed in a more fungus and rotting wood aroma – certainly better than it sounds! Now it’s more of a middle-weight with complexity – still marked by it’s wood but interesting and enjoyable in its own right.

Sunday was ‘just’ a delicately perfumed 1999 Barthod Bourgogne – precise, not much power, but lovely perfumed red fruit – probably more of a summer sipping wine than a winter warmer. Monday was only travelling, and then seemingly more travelling – pain again lessened by the ‘magic drops’. Still, I’m sure I’ll find something to open on Tuesday!

Phone pics – not great quality…

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