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1989 Chateau Pichon Baron Longueville 1990 Domaine de Chevalier

February 17, 2013

These are notes from an impromptu and indulgent dinner at Bistecca, 30 Jan 2013. John had volunteered to bring both reds, and as the restaurant has a strict one-for-one corkage policy, we pulled a sparkling and a white off the restaurant list to precede the reds.

We began with a Bisol Jeio Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC NV (SGD70) that was quite agreeable, forward with notes of fresh green melons and apples with a dash of malt and yeast without being too dry, refreshing and delightful enough. The 2007 Sugarloaf Ridge chardonnay (Tasmania, Australia), popped and poured, possessed an unique pungency initially, almost akin to bottle stink, that I’ve never encountered before in any white. However, this gave way to the classic chardonnay character of white flowers, cashews, crackers with a dash of tropical fruit, supported by rich creamy minerality that grew in intensity, imparting a solid mouthfeel and a sense of complexity. Most interesting.

1989 Baron & 1990 ChevalierEach of us ate two steaks that evening (yes…a 250g Filletto followed by a 350g Lombata…pure madness), paired with both reds (decanted on-site) simultaneously. The 1990 Domaine de Chevalier, caught at its peak, was medium-bodied and utterly seamless, awashed with warm ripe dark berries supported by a mild earthiness as well as secondary nuances of toast, wild mushrooms and cedar that emerged with a powerful glow, a wine crafted with understated sophistication, which is why I have a special affection for this estate. It would have been quite outstanding in its own right, were it not for the 1989 Ch Pichon Baron Longueville that upstaged it. Compared to the Chevalier, the Baron was more immediate and forward, a bigger wine that simply gave you everything at once: a highly aromatic bouquet of red and dark fruits with plenty of secondary notes of cedar, violets, kirsch, cinnamon and a touch of leather, much more forward than usual, much less of the usual dryish Pauillac character, while the kaleidoscope of flavours and layering on the palate was simply quite marvellous, displaying ample depth with excellent concentration but never too dense, highly focused and linear, tapering to a long finish. Superb. Still remarkably fresh and lively, and I believe it may yet evolve further. Great stuff. Well, that was definitely too much good food and too much great wine for an evening that’s unlikely to be forgotten. Thanks, John.

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