I’m rather proud to say it was only a little later and a little more blearily than usual that I rose this morning to start the day. This (with a little arranging for photographic purposes) is what confronted me:
Not evidence of great debauchery, really, but all those bottles and all those glasses were clear signs that either there had been a good group around last night – or Jörg Pfützner had come for supper.
To be fair to us, not all the bottles were quite empty. Well, all but two were, I confess. And one of those two, I’m sad to say was still full: Viña Tondonia Blanco Reserva 1999. Corked – stretching the limits of my benign tolerance of this closure. I doubt if Wine Cellar will give me a replacement. The second bottle, thank Bacchus, was as excellent as expected. It followed Vergelegen White 2005 (or whatever the rather confused and confusing marketers at Vergelegen called the stuff in that particular year). Jörg had asked for something “fresh”, and this did very nicely – surprisingly advanced, perhaps, but it opened up beautifully and seriously over the next half-hour or so. Which was all we gave it.
The next bottle was the only one served blind – the burgundy glass didn’t give much away. (Incidentally, we’d preferred the Tondonia from my wide red-burgundy glasses, rather than standard white wine glasses.) Jörg was most impressive in identifying it, in fact. He got as far as the vintage (2001), the village (Gevrey-Chambertin) and the producer (Jadot), so could be forgiven for not getting that it was Estournelles St Jacques Premier Cru (he’d guessed Clos-de-Bèze Grand Cru). It was good, but a touch disappointing, perhaps – lacking a bit of urgency, sensuousness and fruit weight; just a touch weedy.
We turned to Bordeaux, and that proved an enormous pleasure: Haut Bages Liberal 2004, drinking really well: elegant but generous, poised and serene. Many years to go still. 2004 is sometimes rather under-rated, and always was (it was reasonably priced, which is why I have a good handful of bottles still).
Jörg is still struggling manfully and not usually successfully to appreciate sherry (having just turned 40 he thinks he should soon be old enough to start appreciating it), but is fond of port, so we finished with a half-bottle of the still infantile Cape Fortified 2008 made by Eben Sadie and Dirk Niepoort. I seem to remember that it was very good.
Then Jörg stumbled out to his taxi. I do hope we didn’t wake the neighbours.