Sometimes life really is great. It’s so easy to be all doom and gloom BUT some days the gods smile: roses offer perfumes so intoxicating you pause to have a second ‘sniff’; a stranger helps your pregnant wife up the escalator with her shopping and toddler in tow; or perhaps a passer-by taps you on the shoulder to let you know you left your money sticking out of the cash machine… Perhaps one might even be allowed the luxury of a 3 day weekend on a tiny island called Paxos, sans enfants and with great company. If it’s not asking too much of the Gods, perhaps we might even be allowed a wine or three…?
Well let me tell you with a big smile on my face that on all of these fortuitous days – but particularly over the weekend in Paxos – the Gods did indeed smile upon the lucky 5 of us.
If you’ll indulge me as our charming host did us, I’d like to share the experiences of some of the incredible bottles we enjoyed over the weekend.
2005 Chateau Rayas, Chateauneuf du Pape
This was not my first tasting of Rayas, but the first time I’ve sat with friends and actually consumed a bottle and in the words of Neil Young ‘Hey Hey My My’... this is the kind of wine that, if you sat drinking it alone one evening, you might actually fall off your chair but no-one would be around to see it (so did it actually happen?). This feels like a cool climate wine that shows delicacy, Burgundian nuances and subtlety but with an iron back bone and structure that showcases Grenache at its very pinnacle. Rich, concentrated and with a mind-bending depth of crystalline, pure dark fruits balanced by a ballerina-esque display of elegance and class. You could have this again tomorrow and no doubt you would pull more adjectives out but what would remain is the staggering consistency and quality. 97 Pts TC
2001 Chambertin Grand Cru, Domaine Rousseau
‘Holy Maloney’ - wine of the weekend for me and fair to say this blew my mind. Undoubtedly the Gods and all their friends were smiling when we pulled the cork on this beauty and as if to make a sign, the sun came out that instant! ‘Intensity’ is the buzz word here for this wine and it possesses ‘onion layers’ of brilliant and seductive red fruit. My immediate thought was that this is isn’t perhaps as muscular as other Chambertins but on further tasting, that extra elegance and intensity turns it into something truly spectacular. If you are fortunate enough to get your hands on a bottle it will guarantee a very pleasant evening. 97+ Pts TC
1998 Cheval Blanc
Oh boy, this reminded me why I LOVE Bordeaux so much. Claret at lunchtime can be surpassed by very very few things indeed – it doesn’t matter that this was alongside fruits de mers, it rocked. I have had this wine a few times over the years and it just keeps on getting better and better. The once youthful crunchy fruit is still very much present, however it is softening and the balance of this wine right now is sensational. I’m convinced that it will continue to get EVEN better - how I wish I had several cases in my cellar. Seamless was the word I first uttered on tasting it, and it certainly has that magical combination of depth, concentration and elegance. Scored just a touch below the others but we’re splitting hairs here. 96+ Pts TC
Thank you to my host and thank you for the great company. Cheers to Paxos and cheers to happy days!