As luck would have it, we processed some Chardonnay fruit on my last day at Lake’s Folly, so I was in a Chardonnay mood by the time dinner came around. It’s just as well, then, Rod had already arranged dinner for the team at the very fancy Muse. Pooling resources, we amassed quite a collection of wine to taste; about two bottles per dinner guest. Just to taste, you understand. There’d be no pressure to open everything.
I think we opened everything, with the exception of one backup bottle. The following impressions are from memory, as I did not take notes at the time.
I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing when the first wine of the night remains my top pick through the dinner, but for better or worse, a 2002 Dom Pérignon threatened to be just such a wine. Gorgeously detailed and powerful, I especially liked an array of honeyed notes through the extended after palate and the complexity of the flavour profile in general, all sitting atop the creamiest of mouthfeels. Seems in a sweet spot, showing freshness and maturity all at once.
Then came the Chardonnays. A 1991 Lake’s Folly Chardonnay was very progressed in flavour, perhaps too much so for many tastes. I did, however, like an attractive, biscuit-like note in the aroma as well as hints of cinder toffee. Despite the somewhat madeirised flavour profile, the palate structure was fully intact and showed a wine of great acid line and good shape in the mouth. For easy drinking pleasure, however, a 2001 Lake’s Folly Chardonnay was clearly the more successful wine, being much younger and less challenging in flavour. My fellow diners (and they would know) suggested it wasn’t quite the freshest bottle, but I loved its complex flavours and gentle power in the mouth. Fantastic wine.
Two white Burgundies followed. The first, a 2002 Domaine Emilian Gillet Viré-Clessé Quintaine, showed well and provided a point of difference in this lineup. I’ve tasted this wine previously, and my comments in that note stand. It was especially notable for its incredibly freshness at over ten years of age. It was also, however, somewhat outclassed in finesse by the Lake’s Folly wines and subsequent Burgundy, an Alain Chavy Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières from 2010. The Chavy showed great power and purity of fruit on the middle palate, along with gobs of minerality and the sort of chalk dust texture that is curious and rather destructive of the wine’s attempts at length. I’ll put it down to youthful indiscretions.
Onto the reds. A 2010 Mount Mary Quintets was very fine, its light to medium bodied palate carrying an array of leafy, red-berried flavours. There’s something tantalising about this wine’s weight, toying with contrasts of body versus power, substance versus complexity. A 2000 Lake’s Folly red was a superb example of a mature red wine, being mellow and substantial at the same time. As an aside, I find my taste for old Cabernet growing, which can only mean bad things for my finances. So well was the Lake’s Folly drinking that it was the first wine to seriously challenge the Dom Perignon for my favourite of the evening. In this high cheekboned company, a 2010 Wendouree Malbec struggled to look attractive, its jammy red fruit and assertive tannins reminding one of hastily, generously applied lipstick. Its rusticity and youth might have appealed more in a flight of similar wines.
By this time, we’d worked our way through most of the (exceptionally good) meal, with just dessert to go. To accompany our coconut ice, we had a bottle of 2001 Château Doisy-Daëne. Not only was the wine drinking very well indeed, it proved the most startling and successful match with food of the evening. Masses of flavour but not cloying, this struck a lovely balance between sweetness, opulence, acid and texture. By the time I’d finished my glass, it had jumped into what turned out to be a three-way tie for my favourite wine, along with the Lake’s Folly red and Dom Perignon.
Life’s very tough indeed.
Note: wines were contributed by all attendees, including me. Dinner, however, was on Lake’s Folly.