A taste of the old...

By champagnediscovery, Aug 31 2019 02:15PM

In April Peter Crawford who runs the website à la volée, hosted an old non-vintage dinner at Theo Randall’s on Park Lane. This would be a slight change of scenery for us with the champagnes all being produced by large houses. As our websit attests, we have been concentrating on the top quality smaller producers for sometime now. Having said that, we have known Peter on the Champagne circuit for a few years and there can’t be too many people around who have built up a knowledge and cellar of these old vintages to the extent he has. We knew we would be in good hands and in for a special night.

We kicked off with some appetisers and a trio of Yellow Label wines from Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin while giving us a chance to mingle and meet our fellow diners/drinkers. Beginning with the 2004 base, we moved onto the 1996 base and finished with the 1988 base.

To pair with the antipasti of thinly sliced black Angus beef, we had a Laurent-Perrier magnum with a 1995 base, Philipponnat “Reflet” from the 1990s a blend of two cracking lieux-dits: Clos des Goisses in Mareuil-sur-Ay and Les Chétillons in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. For many the Philipponnat was the standout wine of the evening, sadly for the few of us at our end of the table, the bottles we tried were overly oxidised. To complete the starter line-up was a Lanson magnum from the 1970s that despite the intense tertiary aromas had a beautiful acidity and paired very well with the beef.

Starter of slow-cooked veal cappelletti in a porcini mushroom sauce was simply divine. The trio of wines to accompany it were pretty fine too. An excellent Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle magnum from the 1960/70s was followed by a sublime Krug Grande Cuvée 1998 base which was the perfect accompaniment to the cappelletti. To finish, our standout wine of the evening: a Bollinger - believed to be from the 1940s.

Moving onto the fish course of roasted sea bream, we begun with two wines from the 1990s: a Pol Roger and a Ruinart. We then had a Taittinger from the 1980s in magnum before finishing with a delightful Charles Heidsieck from the 1970s.

Still the wines came, even the mango sorbet palate cleanser was paired with a beautifully fresh Laurent-Perrier rosé disgorged in 1998; so potentially a 1995 base.

Onto the cheese course and three more champagnes: Louis Rœderer Brut Premier, base 1998 in jereboam, Moët et Chandon Brut Impérial, base 1987 in magnum and a lovely Piper-Heidsieck jereboam from the 1980s.

Finally, ricotta cheesecake with pears marinated in Marsala was paired with a sumptuous Pol Roger Rich from the 1960s.

What a night!


Lee and Gita

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