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 1/4/2013 (The Ledbury, London)



Amuse of quails egg wrapped in kataifi pastry

Chantilly of Oysters with a tartare of oysters, cucumber and horseradish

Flamegrilled mackerel with radish, Celtic mustard and shiso

Root vegetables with hazelnuts, lardo do colonnata and roasting juices

Filet of sea bass with broccoli stem, crab and black quinoa

  • 2000 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
    Magnum. Mid to full straw in colour. Lovely nose of toasted sesame and hazelnut, with slightly floral edges. Deep and inviting. On the attack tis is quite classically styled white burgundy, mineral with nice focus, relatively complex through the mid-palate to finish with creamy fruit, but with what I'd describe as premier rather than grand cru texture. However, after a couple of hours, this has become more expansive, more viscous, almost slightly waxy in texture and typically grand cru in texture. A lovely treat. Top **** (93 pts.)

'Risotto' of celeriac with bone marrow and black Perigord truffle

Roast Berkshire woodcock with red vegetables and leaves, foil gras and rhubarb

Saint Nectaire and truffle toast

  • 1973 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Viña Real Gran Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja
    Mid garnet to a browny orange at the rim. Gorgeous. Light, fragrant, almost ethereal quality to the nose with freshly cut orange peel, bergamot and light spices on the nose. Bright and fresh on the attack, good acidity and medium body, long and lingering finish. Just stunning. ***** (95 pts.)
  • 1973 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja
    Slightly fuller, deeper garnet than the Vina Real. Denser with darker fruit and more of a coffee cream nose. Denser on the palate too, slightly drier on the finish too. With air this starts to move towards the VR, but whilst opening and showing very flattering, supple fruit, it doesn't quite match the ethereal lift of the VR. Very very good wine though and showing brightly wi dark briars fruit, coffee cream and some orange rind character and a fine velvety rather than silky texture across the long finish ****1/2 (94 pts.)
  • 1974 Bodegas y Viñedos del Contino Rioja Contino Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja
    Drunk alongside the 73 CVNE Vina Real and Imperial GRs. Denser fried, more coffee cream and a good whiff of bergamot alongside the orangepeel on the nose. Closer to the VR than the Imperial in that on palate as well as nose it has a classic orange peel old Rioja profile, but the fruit is a little lusher and the nose slightly less aromatically lifted and ethereal. Gorgeous wine. Long, complex and complete. A little more stuffing than the VR though onhe night I think I prefer that for its nose and filigree quality. I suspect however that I'd change my mind several times over the course of an evening with these two bottles. ***** (95 pts.)

Pre desert of clementine granita, cream and meringue

Brown sugar tart with poached grapes and stem ginger ice ceam

  • 1973 Château Coutet - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac
    Half. After a good and an excellent half of this, this one was spoilt by a huge dose of VA-like acetone. With vigorous aeration it did start to lift from the nose a bit, but the palate was still painfully acidic and completely unrepresentative of previous halves. (FLAWED)


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