Château Cheval Blanc and Château Yquem with Pierre Lurton, 2008

There are four essential items for a successful combined tasting of Cheval Blanc and Yquem. First, a suitable venue, and secondly – perhaps rather obviously – the wines. Thirdly the presence of Pierre Lurton makes the evening that touch more special. Lastly, a torch.

There was just such a tasting in Edinburgh only last week. Pierre Lurton was in town, showcasing a fantastic array of wines in association with Bibendum, and I was honoured to be in attendance. The venue was Home House (tel. 0131 523 1523), an attractive town house near the top of Leith Walk in Edinburgh which has for many years been run as a private club. Under new management for a little over a year now, it has seen extensive refurbishment and redecoration and it was the perfect venue for a function such as this. The guest of honour was naturally Pierre Lurton, who was travelling with some colleagues from Bordeaux including Georges Haushalter, directeur général of Compagnie Médocaine des Grands Crus, a significant Bordeaux négociant. Haushalter, who was seated on my right during dinner, explained that they were on something of a grand tour, having just travelled up from a similar tasting with Bibendum in London the previous day and with another planned for Reykjavik on the next.

Cheval Blanc and Yquem, with Pierre Lurton

A welcome aperitif was found in the shape of Ruinart’s non-vintage Blanc de Blancs, which I found to be really very impressive, certainly way beyond my expectations. I think sometimes my opinion of wines such as this are perhaps unfairly coloured by my experience of them at the annual Champagne tasting arranged by the CIVC, when the wines shown are usually very youthful, have not long been disgorged and are often swamped with sulphur. These bottles, however, gave a lot of pleasure the wine being complete, creamy and certainly endowed with plenty of clean, aromatic fruit.

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