I had been looking forward to this evening for quite some time. The four of us – Mr & Mrs M, Daniel and I – gathered at La Trompette in Chiswick armed with some fierce bottles of Burgundy in tow.
We started the evening with a half bottle of Veuve Clicquot 1949. When I first opened the bottle about 20 minutes before we served it I thought the bottle was dead, so I only served it out of intrigue – how often do we get to try Champagne from the 40’s?! Arising from the dead, the wine in the glass had no bubbles left but was still alive and quite interesting to taste. More like an old Burgundy than a Champagne, it was history in a glass and what it lacked in hedonistic pleasure it made up for with old charm.
We then dived straight into the deep end with a stunning bottle of Ramonet Montrachet 1985. This bottle is the reason I am so enamoured with mature white Burgundy. Wonderfully fresh with a fine cut of acidity, this was really beautiful and simply on another level of white Burgs. This was a complete Montrachet, and I felt very privileged to drink it.
Next up was our bottle of Henri Jayer Echezeaux 1985. A bottle with a 3.5cm fill but having been in one cellar of a fine French restaurant since release. Provenance is king, especially with bottles of such a hallowed Domaine as Henri Jayer. Once we popped the cork an hour or so before we drank it, Daniel and I tasted the bottle and didn’t say anything, just glanced at each other the way we do when we taste something that’s quite simply, on another level. This bottle was certainly one of my all time greats – a masterpiece of a wine and one that left such a lasting impression. It was so elegant, carrying an enchanting feminity that was pure grace – the mid-palate concentration was beautiful. It was delicate and just danced on the palate, unfurling and revealing more and more in glass and bottle. I adored this wine, and loved this style of wine. It was still fresh and seemed like staying on that plateau for another ten years or so. The aromatics, in particular were a real joy – brambly, Vosne, earthy, Burgundy – if I could attempt to describe.
That would seem like a very tough act to follow, but what was next was equal! DRC Richebourg 1985, was a powerful, masculine and incredible bottle of wine – pure magic. Absolutely outrageous depth and length, oh boy this was packing! This and the Jayer were very different but the one trait that great wines share is that they seem to have a calming effect, sort of transcending you to the wines own dimension. This was the case here. The Richebourg was truly an epic wine, so wonderfully rich and complex and just so multi-layered. It was a very hard choice between the Jayer and the Richebourg. Both Daniel and I knew the vintage before, and both guessed DRC – only DRC could make a wine of this magnitude. The wine was screaming Richebourg, and it was my only guess of all their Grand Crus. The bottle was so perfect perhaps only bottles from the Domaine could reach the level of this bottle. A wine I really hope to try again!
The game seemed to be a good match to these wines – red legged Partridge, roast Guinea Fowl and Haunch of Windsor park Fallow Deer – but in all fairness I almost preferred to drink the wines by themselves they were so good.
After this we palate cleansed with a Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet 1983. We had bought 18 bottles, sold 16 and kept two with the lowest fills to drink. That’s how you do it! Time will tell, but Leflaive made in the 70’s/80’s and the Leflaive made today seem quite different. I won’t deny I prefer the wines made by Vincent Leflaive, they seem to be a bit more old-school and enchanting. This bottle wasn’t as good as the other bottle we drank earlier that month, but was still a lovely wine.
By now we were towards the end of the meal. We were just four but wanted more wine! We had hiding a bottle of DRC La Tache 1980. I am quite fond of that vintage for red Burgs, and the DRC’s are quite a success – well worth seeking out if you haven’t tried. This was a gorgeous bottle, very expressive and completely La Tache. Mr M guessed La Tache and was very close with the vintage. Finally after some years I managed to find a bottle that he didn’t bulls eye! This was the perfect accompaniment to the cheese tray. The Comte was delicious but the Epoisses with the remaining Ramonet Montrachet 85 was, nirvanic.
After this we had a half bottle of 2009 Eiswein from the Nahe, but I couln’t recall much to be honest. Just as we were about to leave, Laura the Sommelier (who provided us with such excellent wine service) reminded us that we had left a bottle of Marie Courtin Concordance 2011, which I opened over four hours ago. We all took a glass each and toasted what was such a fabulous and special evening. I hadn’t drank a bottle of Marie Courtin opened that long previously (but hey many good things happen by accident right? Discovery of Champagne for example…), but it was delicious, very caressing, nutty and completely distinct with that mid-palate fruit texture I love in her wines. Someone commented on my instragram afterwards that the Marie Courtin was misplaced among such great bottles. Well of course it was! No denying that but it didn’t actually feel out of place drinking it.
It was a hard choice for WOTN but Daniel and Mr M both thought the Richebourg with it’s extra umph took it. I was with the Jayer. Either way, I’d be more than happy to have the opportunity to try any of these again someday.
A dinner at La Trompette is probably the best deal in London – £47.50 / person for a three course dinner, and with a more unassuming and relaxed atmosphere than some of the other Michelin starred restaurants in London, and is a very charming restaurant.
Certainly one of the most grand line ups we have ever had – an incredible experience to drink and relax with such wonderful bottles – thank you very much to Mr & Mrs M for your bottles!