Home > Winedr Blog > Two from One

Two from One

This Friday two wines brought together by nothing more than their being poured during dinner at Number One, an admirable one-star restaurant tucked away in the basement of the Balmoral Hotel in central Edinburgh.

Dining in a large group numbering 13 in total (isn’t there some superstition about 13 diners – reflecting the number at the Last Supper, perhaps?) I chose two wines, one white to match our starter (most chose scallops, although it worked fairly well although not brilliantly with my foie gras) and one red which did very well with our main course, which for most people was lamb.

First off the white, a Vouvray, in particular Huet’s Le Mont Sec 2004. Selecting this from the list the sommelier warned me that I might find it to be quite sweet. “I hope not” I replied, “it is a sec after all”. “Sir, it is certainly sweet” came his reply. What to do? I am geeky enough to know off the top of my head that a sec from Huet would typically carry 3-5 g/l residual sugar, but I decided that disclosing this information would (a) be unhelpful and (b) raise my pomposity-index to an unbearable level. The solution? I asked the sommelier to bring me one bottle, and if it turned out “too sweet” I would drink it anyway – the thought of a demi-sec or sweeter with my foie gras was actually quite tempting – and I would order something else for my companions. If not then we are fine.

He proceeded to bring me a completely different Vouvray (a Champalou demi-sec) from the list. Our wires were clearly crossed, and the issue was soon resolved.

Huet Vouvray Le Mont Sec 2004: A good colour, mildly rich. It opens out nicely on the nose, revealing quite quickly some very minerally, chalky notes which have great appeal. These sit alongside some reserved fruit. On the palate there is a lovely weight and balance, although it does not have the fine definition of a great vintage. Softer than expected, considering its young age, with a lovely evolving character already apparent, this is a wine that is ready for drinking now, although I am sure there is no rush. I last tasted this at the domaine in 2007 – it seems to have come on very nicely since then. Very good. Tasted at Number One (meal not written up). 16.5+/20

Then onto the red. Teyssier is a good value red which I often find myself drinking in restaurants. It seemed to go down pretty well with this crowd too. Nevertheless, because there are at least two estates named Teyssier in Bordeaux (one in St Emilion and another in Montagne St Emilion) I asked the sommelier if it was the Malthus (St Emilion) estate. Unfortunately despite the great wines Malthus turns out, and despite being in charge of the cellar (I would assume!) this sommelier didn’t know the answer. Pulling a bottle quickly answered the question though. By coincidence Jonathon Malthus (who also created Le Dôme) had been in contact only a day or two before….I subsequently emailed him to say I had chosen his 2005 this night, but I omitted any mention of our uncertain sommelier.

Chateau Teyssier (St Emilion) 2005: A deep, rich hue in the glass. The fruit is rather restrained at first, although it is certainly there; not well defined perhaps, a melange of dark forest berries, overlaid with a layer of youthful oak which still needs to be shed to gain maximum enjoyment here I think. On the palate though, there is plenty of promise. Richly textured, weighty, in keeping with the vintage, but carried along by a fine substance and acidity. Rich, somewhat savoury, and firm in the finish, this is a young wine from a very reliable estate which has plenty of promise for the future. Nevertheless, after some time in the glass, I found it worked very well with food. Tasted at Number One (meal not written up). 17+/20

Any comments?

4 Responses to “Two from One”

  1. Chris,

    While I’ve had many experiences where wait staff were lacking in wine information, I’ve yet to see a sommelier botch it up that badly.

    The 1990 Domaine du Viking which I opened last month would have been great with your Foie Gras. I think I’d have seen if they had a glass of a sweet wine and let my friends have the sec with the scallops.

    2005 Bdx- Ive found the lesser wines drinking very nicely right now as they are hitting that 4-5 year sweet spot when they show well. The 1 or 2 classe wines my friends have opened showed great promise, but were too young, I’d wished they would have opened them 6 hours or so before hand which I tend to do if I want to give it a go.

  2. Hi Gary

    Thanks for your comment. I think there are many wines that would have worked better with the foie gras, and you are right I should have sought out a glass of something more suitable, but for various reasons in such a large party it seemed simpler to go with just one dry white and one red to be poured for all.

    The lesser 2005s should be providing us with good drinking now, but it’s probably not a good time to open classed growths, but it all depends on personal preferences of course. Nevertheless I have noted quite a few recent scathing comments on cellartracker.com about the wines being “fruitless” and “thin” with low scores to match, and I think these people are just tasting closed down wines. All mine (I did manage to pick up a few bottles, despite the exorbitant prices!) are slumbering peacefully.

  3. Chris,

    Agree totally with Bdx. The wines I’ve opened are typically in the $12-14USD range and are drinking well and showing some of the secondary characteristics already. Very nice.

    As you said my classed growths have a long slumber ahead. Some 01s and a few 02s starting to show well at this time.

  4. Thanks for that. I should make a note to take a look at those vintages, in particular 2002. I have some top wines from that vintage (Lafite, Pichon-Lalande, Gruaud-Larose, Léoville-Barton, etc.) and it may make a useful addition to the site as there is no 2002 vintage assessment online yet (I started diligently attending UGC tastings with the 2003 vintage, and actually travelling to Bordeaux for the primeurs with the 2007 vintage). But its the same old story – just so many wines to try. I need to get started with some of my 1995s yet!