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2011 Roger Belland Criots Bâtard-Montrach 1986 Château Mouton Rothschild

January 6, 2023

The great SC closed the year in similar fashion as he had in previous years – a long lunch on New Year’s Eve, 31 December 2022, at Omakase@Stevens where Chef Shu Kubota has redefined his culinary art, now aided by his new partner Chef Kazuki. The wines have also been carefully curated by SC in the same manner as he does for all his bespoke properties where it’s all about balance and good taste to accompany the exquisite cuisine, avoiding any vulgar excesses. It’s certainly a privilege to be able to taste another Criots Bâtard in as many months while I don’t think anyone will tire of drinking the 1986 Mouton. Many thanks Sir, and good health to all in 2023.

20221231_145452.jpg2011 Domaine Roger Belland Criots Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Poured from magnum. Displaying greenish hues, this wine opens with a delicate bouquet of fresh morning dew and clear citrus whilst the medium-bodied palate shows a restrained regal elegance. Like a virginal debutante, it took its time to flesh out with greater power where its distant minerally tones gained greater intensity and visceral presence, fanning out beautifully with beguiling fullness and whitish inner detail, establishing its Chassagne identity. More expansive and aristocratic than the 2013 tasted last month (also from magnum, courtesy of SC as well). Excellent.

1986 Château Mouton Rothschild. Decanted on-site from magnum. Deep garnet with a crimson rim. Whereas this wine had previously been seemingly immortal, all that structured bottomless density has melted away, now replaced by a certain restrained depth of glorious dark fruits and currants, wonderfully supple and mellow with a tinge of capsicum. Distinctly medium-bodied, proffering that unique hallowed glow only possible from a truly mature claret, imbued with a subtle ferric earthiness. Perfectly balanced and feminine, developing greater velvetiness and sleek acidity as it sat in the glass though it no longer commands the kind of fabulous layering and complexity that laid the foundations for its reputation. Moderate finish. I’d say it is distinctly autumnal now though many would prefer their clarets drunk at this stage.

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