Dinner at Home with Friends

We began with a Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1996. More elegant than their profound 1995, it is an exquisite example of 100% Chardonnay champagne that is pure elegance and finesse. It appears to have a decade of life left, but why wait?

With respect to the red wines, as I have said since the mid-eighties, you can never have enough 1982 Bordeaux. Now nearly 25 years of age, these wines, which I purchased for what now appear to be dirt cheap prices as wine futures, and have been stored at 55 degrees Fahrenheit for their entire lives, continue to amaze me. They show no signs of tiring and have never been disappointing, even when they were infants.. Even the more forward right bank Pomerols still have a life of their own. All of the red wines were decanted two hours in advance.

I have long been aware of how opulent and glorious the 1982 Petit Village is, but I never thought this wine would last beyond 10-12 years since it was so delicious young, and seemingly lacking in structure and acidity. Well, at nearly 25 years of age, this wine, which hit its plateau of maturity 15 or more years ago, continues to be full of life, offering phenomenal notes of truffles, figs, plums, raspberries, underbrush, and sweet fruit. There is not a hard edge to be found in this hedonistic, complex Pomerol. Another amazing 1982 is Le Bon Pasteur. Curiously, at other tastings I have had dying bottles, but from my cellar, the wine remains a tribute to the brilliance of Michel Rolland and how he took an unheralded terroir, not known for making great wine, and eclipsed what was believed to be the property’s potential. The sensational 1982 offers up notes of mocha, black currants, cherries, smoke, licorice, and earth. This lush, heady Pomerol is nearly as soft as the Petit-Village, but appears to have more in reserve.

We had a superb roasted chicken (although I still can’t come close to the extraordinary chickens from Les Landes and Bresse (in Bordeaux and Burgundy respectively). I marinated it in garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil for 24 hours, sautéed it in a cast iron skillet on top of the oven, then roasted it in the oven. One of my favorite potato dishes is simple scalloped potatoes with garlic, salt, pepper, and heavy cream mixed with garlicky spinach that has been sautéed in clarified butter. With that we had a brilliant array of Pomerols. A wine that continues to be one of the most legendary Bordeaux made in the last 50 years is the 1982 Lafleur. Boasting an extraordinary intensity of kirsch liqueur intermixed with truffles, incense, and spice, it is so full-bodied, powerful, and rich, it nearly brought tears to my eyes. The 1982 L’Evangile is not far behind. Revealing more animal, leather, plum, fig, and darker fruits, it is a full-bodied powerhouse showing a lot more amber at the edge than the more youthful-colored Lafleur. The fully mature 1982 La Conseillante is another example of how a Bordeaux can stay at its peak (especially if impeccably stored) for so long. Pure, intense mulberry, dried herb, ripe tomato, sweet cherry and currant fruit, and spice aromas filled the room when this wine was poured from the decanted. Also fully mature, the 1982 Trotanoy exhibits a dark plum color with some amber at the edge. Along with a typical distinctive earthy/vitamin-like quality, it exhibits notes of truffles, beef blood, sweet cherries, currants, and spice. This heady, intense, delicious Pomerol displayed more angularity than the other wines as well as great personality and soul.

Even my one-time impressive stock of 1982 Bordeaux, which I purchased largely from MacArthur Beverages and Calvert-Woodley in Washington, DC, seems to be dwindling down to a precious few. These wines will be missed.

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