When lunch starts with a bottle of Latour 1982 as a pre-lunch tipple, you know that it is going to be a rather magnificent Friday. Back at my current favourite watering hole – Oswald’s – which is proving to be as special as promised prior to the opening. Reserved and elegant, restrained, and without any overtly loud and annoying diners trying their hardest to be seen as the life and soul of their gathering, the ambience is effortlessly relaxed without the stuffiness of other similar venues. The cooking has always been fantastic and the service levels are second to none currently in London; therefore when considering a venue for a relaxed Friday lunch it was not a difficult choice.
And so to the wines:
Latour 1982– maximum score from almost every critic on the planet, and on this showing it is easy to see why – the aroma is open and engaging from the very first pour. This is a wine that has been immaculate and perfectly balanced since its launch. It is pure class, with intense aromas of blackcurrant, blackberry, tobacco, pencil lead, roast meats and leather, touches of spice and game. Even at 36 years of age it is still youthful and full of energy; and yet it is so open, approachable and balanced that I fully understand why some just cannot helping drinking it. Served pre-lunch, even without food, it is a brilliant glass of wine. Given that some leading 2015 Burgundies are now trading at £45,000ib a case, Latour 1982 at £27-28k a case looks like a relative bargain. 100 points
DRC Echezeaux 2006 – it can be tricky to serve Burgundy after Bordeaux, but as this was a little over chilled on arrival we opened and allowed it time to breathe while we polished off the Latour (not something I say every day, mostly Fridays…). Aromatically it was an electric glass of Burgundy, with amazing purity of fresh raspberry and wild strawberry. Still dominated by primary fruits with just a touch of spice and toast, slowly the aroma opens and complexity builds to release undertones of indian spices and wild fungi, just the start of woodland forest and game, but with the purity of red berry fruits always to the fore. 96 points (and actually held its own between two rather good bottles of claret)
Haut Brion 1989 – OMG as the youth of today like to say, once again HB 1989 smacks it out of the park in every vinous aspect you could possibly ask for… aromatics, balance, palate weight, complexity, glass dynamics (whatever that is)… it is a wine that just knows how good it is, and just sits in the glasses saying… ’I dare you to pour something alongside me’. Very similar to Lewis Hamilton’s qualifying lap on Saturday in Singapore, it is a divine moment that one must just stop and reflect on… I wish I owned more of this wine!!! A straight 100 points
La Chapelle 1971 – slightly faded grandeur, and properly overshadowed by the previous wines; however had it been served on its own over a relaxed lunch it would have pleased any drinker – soft and elegant tannins, wonderful aromas of garrique and roasted meats, lots of spices and dried fruits with just a touch of cocoa. You can tell it was a powerhouse in youth, but similar to the owner of the bottle, it is now showing its true class and balance. 94 points
We did consider another bottle, but actually we had hit so many highs over lunch that we were in danger of leaving with slightly dampened spirits had the 5th bottle disappointed…
Many thanks indeed to my two lunch companions, and I look forward to the next relaxed Friday lunch.