They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place – well, when that place is 11 Savile Row, I beg to differ.
Following last year’s hugely enjoyable bespoke lunch with our good friends at Huntsman, we felt we had struck a formula which worked rather well; simply great food, some fabulous claret, and convivial company all held in the midst of one of the world’s most legendary tailoring houses.
There is something about people who do things amazingly well which really clicks with me; it doesn’t matter what the discipline, if they are at the top of their game, then I’m hooked. Having always been (some might say rather too) engaged with the world of clothing and fashion, spending time in and around Huntsman and their master craftsman is a joy – I never tire of the details (2 holes for cuff buttons rather than 4, the origin of specific tweeds, etc.) or the sound and smell of the crackling fire in the shop. You’re walking in history, constantly reminded of the great names of the past and present – the walls are adorned not only with pictures, but the original paper patterns for such luminaries as Gregory Peck, Winston Churchill, Lucian Freud, Lewis Hamilton and of course Colin Firth... those of you who have seen the film ‘Kingsman’ (in which Firth stars) may be interested to know that the tailor’s shop scenes were filmed at Huntsman (in fact they have retained the brass ‘Kingsman’ plaque outside the shop).
Fortunately our guests seemed equally captivated by the environment, and the browsing and sluicing certainly helped.
Our lunch was exceptional as ever – a smoky potato risotto followed by a fabulous fillet of beef – and the wines superb.
Yes, it’s early to drink a vintage as great as this, but it’s still a heck of a glass right now. Trademark smoky minerality with toasted lemon, brioche and that essential chalky backbone. In fact a bottle opened at midday but not consumed until 4pm showed what a little air – or some decent cellaring – will do for it. The richness was beginning to show through with mouthfilling fruit, tropical and citrus, but never losing that wet stone element. Brilliant. (96pts BI)
That wine again... although this time with some age. Three bottles, with some variability it must be said. The first was over the hill. The second was much better; still a deep golden colour and showing distinctly oloroso notes alongside the peach and hazelnut characters, but with decent freshness and rich, complex fruit. The third was fabulous, buttered toast and baked pineapple shot through with floral notes and a refreshing hint of orange zest. Always a gamble... hard to score. (89-94pts BI)
Not a revered vintage in Bordeaux but this Margaux is very pretty and precise. Medium bodied and elegant, with very fine tannins and nicely laced with delicate acidity, it sports a very satisfying lightness of touch and clarity of fruit which makes it very drinkable indeed. Surprisingly young in colour, it’s certainly not in need of rapid consumption but I doubt it will get considerably better. (93+pts BI)
Very much a revered vintage in Bordeaux and I’m slightly embarrassed to admit, my first experience of this particular year for Margaux. This is a different ball game to the 1999; it has a depth, richness, density and complexity that speaks not only of its additional 10 years ageing but its undoubtedly superior vintage characteristics. Still very Margaux, light on its feet, poised and elegant, but deceptive in its weight; it’s unctuous in the mouth with a finish that lasts and lasts. Tasted blind, would you pick Margaux? Perhaps not, given its relative ‘thickness’ in the mouth. Delicious nonetheless. (95pts BI)
A delicious, light, mineral style port to finish the lunch. Lovely concentration of cooked strawberry, plum, and damson fruits are restrained by a delicate dry earthiness which keeps it elegant and fine. Light boned and mature but drinking beautifully now, it may not have the power of a Fonseca or Taylor but it’s absolutely perfect to finish a meal when it’s still daylight outside. (93pts BI)
We cannot recommend the Huntsman experience enough – it truly is a magical world. The only trouble is once you start, you may not be able to go back...
Many thanks to Pierre, Poppy, Dario and Johnny, plus the whole Huntsman team for helping make the day special.
If you wish to purchase these wines, please do contact your Account Manager directly, or take a look at the links above to see what we have available from the different producers.