In Toulouse. Level was about 4.5cm. Serious and expressive nose of iron, iodine, wet earth and mushrooms. Just the faintest hint of spice. The palate was barely alive at first but did give glimpses of faint dried roses, dark fruit and a touch of spice. No doubt this was not the best example and this had faded a long time ago, but you did get a sense for what this wine once was.
Vosne-Romanee: Grand Crus and Top 1er Crus (La Bracceria, Greendale Avenue): Solid stuff. Opened some 6 hours before serving, this still needed significant time in the glass before really showing. It had a very challenging bouquet on first pour. Completely full-on, it whooshed out of the glass in swirls of funky undergrowth and deep wafts of dark plummy aromas – almost a bit too much. If not for the fact that a theme had been set for the dinner, I might actually have guessed this as an old CdP on that nose. Thankfully, all those heady scents calmed down a lot with time, unfolding in more gentle dark-fruited scents, seasoned with wood spice, drifts of umami mushroom tones and little wreathes of smoked bacon. It was quite compelling by the fifteen-minute mark, and much more Vosne than Rhone. The palate, in contrast, could hardly have been from anywhere but Vosne-Romanee from the get-go. From the first sip, it showed reams of wood spice, dried herbs and black tea swirling around weighty, powerful flavours of plums and black cherries. It had a strong finish too with a sappy, plummy sweetness wed to slightly herbal, black tea underlayer. In true Richebourg fashion, this was still grippy and muscular after 40 years, couched in finely formed but clearly structured tannins and beautiful acidity that kept the wine lithe and transparent in spite of its obvious power. Strangely enough, the one criticism that we had about this was that it was almost a bit too clean, too polished, lacking the x-factor you would expect from a DRC Richebourg at this age. In fact, when blind, I ruled out DRC quite quickly on the basis that this barely seemed to show any stem influence at all. That said, it was a very good indeed. A fantastic pairing with porcini mushrooms too. Yummy stuff. Drinking well I would say, but it did start to fade after half an hour or so.
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(DRC Richebourg) Paul noted ‘lychee’ in a 1972 DRC Richebourg. Additional aromas of earth, bacon, tomato and ‘mint’ were present, along with some nice t ‘n a. There was also this touch of grilled endive meets marshmallow (accompanied by a ‘yes!’ in my notes; I was excited to pinpoint such an unusual combination lol). Light toast and a hint of animal rounded out its nose. The palate was very citrusy and leathery, lean and dry. Paul keenly observed, ‘it will turn sour in an hour,’ but he gave it too much time as I started to see that in fifteen minutes. The wine kept heading south for the winter despite its initial complex aromatics (88).
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