|What:||Burgundy Dinner and Club AGM||Event Sold Out|
|When:||06 Jun 18 ,19:00 -22:30|
|Where:||Army & Navy Club SW1Y 5JN map|
The Club AGM precedes this dinner at 6pm.
Guest Speaker: John Cruse Esq.
What it is to sit in the summer sun or around a winter log fire with your closest friends and sip a glass of 1990 Grands Echézeaux from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti or even a Bonnes Mares from the Comtes de Vogüé and to experience something close to, if not, the perfect wine. A luxury of indulgence of the complete union of nearly all the special senses: the sight of the wine’s tears, the heavenly smell, the exceptional taste, even the sound of the gurgle of the wine from the decanter. The sense of balance can even be involved after the second bottle.
Your Secret Life of Walter Mitty moment is now over. Back to reality. Good burgundy should be some if not all of these experiences but is becoming increasingly hard to find and savour. Too much of the top wine has become trophy wine sitting upright on the mantelpieces of teetotal Japanese business men or glugged away in Shanghai restaurants (personal observations of the late Richard Katz) mixed with a fizzy brown liquid that once served as a stimulant and appetite suppressant being laced with extract from coca leaves – hence the name.
Then Burgundy itself is a nightmare for the wine lover to understand without living there or developing OCD. This is not the place to try to describe what happened during the French revolution when the church lands and then the lands of the nobility were sold off from 1791 onwards: or the French system of inheritance when the Code Napoleon in 1804 abolished primogeniture. Suffice it to say that in Bordeaux, chateau names are the brand names and the 1855 classification, whilst dated, still helps the buyer. In Burgundy it is the land that is classified – not the winemaker. The classification is based on “geographical possibility” not on the quality of the wine. Wine makers in Nuits St Georges, for example, can be good, average or awful but still use the same title.
So what to do? One solution is to find growers that consistently produce good wines. For our red wine the Domaine Jean Grivot is one of these and the holdings extend to 15.5 Ha (38.3 acres for Brexiteers) with land in Richebourg, Clos de Vougeot and also includes three premiers crus in Nuits St Georges. Etienne and Marielle Grivot run the estate and whilst not biodynamic, the growing is as natural as possible. The vines are grown at a high density with small amounts of organic fertiliser and green harvesting. The grapes are picked, hand sorted with 95% destemming and are taken in small trolleys to the vats for cool fermentation over about three weeks with indigenous yeasts. Maturation is in French oak barrels and the wine is racked twice before being bottled “in accordance with the moon’s movements as well as atmospheric pressure”! (I know one should not use exclamation marks these days, but are grapes really sentient; have you ever heard a vineyard humming along to the tune of “Give me the moonlight”?) The grapes for our wines tonight all come from the same plot of land, Les Pruliers, (only .76 Ha or 1.9 acres) which is just to the west of the town of Nuits St Georges and half way up the east facing slopes. We are tasting three different vintages of Les Pruliers 09, 05 and 02 to accompany the fillet steak.
As an aperitif there is the Tarlant “Tradition” Champagne made with 56% pinot noir, 39% pinot meunier and a small drop of chardonnay. The wine is cool fermented in steel, then matured in oak with the second fermentation in the bottle with a dosage of 8 g/litre.
It was a result of the French revolution that the Bonneau du Martray family were able to buy large expanses of repossessed clerical land in the heart of Corton Charlemagne. The vineyards, albeit now smaller in extent, remain in family hands. Corton Charlemagne is a grand cru and with the English Asparagus we will be drinking the 2006 which is in the middle of its drinking window and has a Wine Spectator score of 94.
To accompany the pear Bakewell tart and praline ice cream we will have a Sauternes the 2005 Château de Rayne Vigneau which is now at the “top of its game” as the critics say.
- Tony Wright, Honorary Secretary
Dress code: Lounge Suit
Thursday 5 July – Tasting at the Army & Navy Club
Tuesday 18 September – Tasting at the Army & Navy Club
Monday 15 October – Château Léoville Barton Dinner with Lilian Barton Sartorius at the Painters' Hall
Thursday 15 November – Hermitage Dinner at the Apothecaries’ Hall
Wednesday 5 December – Christmas Tasting and Raffle at the Army & Navy Club