The SOMM Journal

February / March 2017

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36 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 { steven spurrier's letter from london } WHILE LONDON BENEFITS FROM many restaurants with superb wine lists, the newest and one of the most impressive openings being the members' club 67 Pall Mall in premises which used to be occupied by Hambros Bank, perhaps the most mem - orable dinners are those where the wines come either directly from the cellar of the host or are brought from their own cellars by the guests. Here are five high spots from last year. The menus were mostly classic English cuisine with a twist, the wines being the main point of these get-togethers. March 15: The Bordeaux Club, hosted by Hugh Johnson The Bordeaux Club was founded in Cambridge in the 1930s by the great historian Professor Sir John Plumb. I had the honour of meeting the Professor at a dinner at Christie's hosted by Michael Broadbent a quarter of a century ago, and Michael (born in 1927, a great Port vintage) was present on this evening as was Neil McKendrick, former Master of Gonville and Caius College, who had been recruited into the Club by Sir John back in 1956. There are six members of the Bordeaux Club, who are each required to host the annual din - ner, preferably in their own homes so the wines don't have to travel. I have already squirrelled away the bottles when my turn comes, but they won't be up to those pre- sented by Hugh Johnson. Krug 1990 Champagne: Bright gold in colour, lifted nutty flavours, superb balance of richness and acidity. Ch. Haut-Brion 2003 Graves Blanc: Still youthful and fresh despite the heat - wave year ; beautifully controlled ripeness with the weight of a Montrachet and an elegantly dry finish. Ch. Giscours 1970 Margaux: Deep young colour, robust and earthy, a little "foursquare," but the vigour and natural concentration come through very well. Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste 1961 Pauillac: Fine mature colour, superb richness on the middle palate; a feminine Pauillac that becomes more masculine in the glass. Les Forts de Latour 1982 Pauillac: Mature but not aged, attractively soft for Pauillac due to the ripe vintage and higher yields in those days, not great but very good now. Ch. Latour 1989 Pauillac: Big colour and robust fruit that shows the heat of 1989, opened up very well with more than a decade in front of it. Ch. Haut-Brion 1989 Graves: Some maturity in colour, lovely florality on the nose, beautifully rich and smooth on the palate; such finesse and length, the wine of the evening. Royal Tokaji Wine Company 2007 Tokaji Mézes Mály 6 Puttonyos: Pale gold, orange blossom and orange peel on the nose, really rich on the palate with "crack - ling" acidity and energy, still very fresh. (Hugh is the founder and director of the RTWC, hence its presence in the Bordeaux line-up.) Ch. Climens 2001 Barsac: Bright gold, wonderful richness and grippy acid- ity to balance it; still ver y young with a great future. London Wine Dinners (Mostly Claret) in 2016 PHOTO RABBIT75-IST VIA THINKSTOCK by Steven Spurrier The English have been wine lovers for centuries, and now more than ever London is one of the world's great wine capitals.

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