Posted by: jmbwineblog | February 15, 2011

Pebbles Charity Events Part 2 (Grand Charity Dinner)

Following on from the blind challenge post, I have decided to return to the wonderful work that a certain Mr. Keith Prothero does for the Pebbles Project in the Cape Wine Lands. Info can be found here: Pebbles Project and on my previous post, Pebbles Charity Events & Wines Part 1. on this same topic. However, when one thinks of this project, the other event that is looked forward to with great anticipation is Keith’s Grand Charity Dinner which in September 2010 was in it’s third incarnation. As always, Keith invites a special guest of the wine world to attend the dinner… In 2009, it was Hugh Johnson, and in 2010 it was Jancis Robinson. You can find here notes on her website if you are a Purple Page subscriber. You might even find my name on the attendees list. 😉

How to go about getting a place at the table

This event is always held in the private room at The Square in Mayfair, London and thus has a maximum space of 14 people, and thus there are 12 spaces for guests after the presence of Keith and the guest of honour. There are five spaces for regular posters of the Wine-Pages Forum at a special buy-in price of £1000. The remaining 7 bids are placed in an auction, and members of this forum bid for the spaces, with the highest bids receiving a space. The higher the bid, the more likely one is to sit next to the guest of honour. Every year the wines are as wonderful as before, but they always have a different spectrum to them. Some guests, inevitably donate wines as well. This year, the list and food went as such:

NV Cuvee Leatitia, H. Billiot
1990 Bollinger Grande Annee (en Magnum)

[ Saute of Scottish Langoustine Tails with Parmesan Gnocchi and emulsion of Potato and Truffle]
1996 Chevalier-Montrachet, Domaine Niellon
1985 Chevalier-Montrachet “Les Demoiselles”, Louis Jadot
1996 Chevalier-Montrachet “Les Demoiselles”, Louis Jadot

[Warm Salad of Quail with Sweetcorn and Girolles]
1986 Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru “Murgers”; Henri Jayer
1990 Echezeaux, Emmanuel Rouget (apparently made by Henri Jayer)
1990 Cheval Blanc (replaced by the 1985 Cheval Blanc)
1961 Chateau Palmer

[Loin of Lamb with a Herb Crust, Creamed Potato and a Persillade of Cepes]
1950 La Mission Haut Brion (replaced by the 1978 La Mission Haut Brion)
1982 La Mission Haut Brion
1989 La Mission Haut Brion

[Roast Grouse with Turnip, Celeriac Purée and Elderberries]
1990 Hermitage “La Chapelle”, Paul Jaboulet Aine
1990 Hermitage, Jean-Louis Chave
1978 Hermitage “La Chapelle”, Paul Jaboulet Aine

[Warm Baba with Apricots and Vanilla]
1950 Chateau d’Yquem

[finally with warm Madeleines]
1808 Leacock’s Solera
1808 Leacock’s Malmsey Solera

My notes

NV Cuvee Leatitia, H. Billiot
crisp, fresh, easy, well rounded, mineral, chalky, lemon, lime, cooked lemon, baby vomit, nice caressing finish, persistant and posied. Very pleasant drinker. ***** 

1990 Bollinger Grand Annee (en Magnum)
tight, still some sulphur, lemon, lime, lots of tension and some depth, hints of puppy fat, linear now, chalk, slightly yeasty, nutty but very youthful, sulphur on the finish but with undertones that hint of a bright future. ***(**[*+?]) 

1996 Chevalier-Montrachet, Domaine Niellon
butter, nuts, fresh, toasty, a touch young and subdued, lemon, lime, earth, minerals, herby, grassy notes, persistant finish, very nice with a hint of white truffle and marble, barring pox, this has great potential, elegant and effortless. ****(**+) 
I didn’t find that there was anything faulty with this bottle (the back-up), perhaps a touch subdued, I put it down to youth. 

1985 Chevalier-Montrachet “Les Demoiselles”, Louis Jadot
big, lifted, herbs, butter, silky, sweet nose, fresh, classic, round, balanced, restrained, persistant, oyster shell, salt, rocks, soapstone, effortless, complex, lovely with hints of toast. Really fresh with persistant buttery, light and effervescent. Undertones of nuttiness. ******+ 

1996 Chevalier-Montrachet “Les Demoiselles”, Louis Jadot
 big toasty, Chevalier nose, minerals, lemons, cooked lemons, moraccan lemon, restrained, long, persistant, blousy but not over the top, mineral, poised, grass, herbs, hints of eucalyptus, a very good wine with the concentration to age nicely. ****(**++) 

1986 Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Murgeurs; Henri Jayer
fresh, elegant, wild raspberry, strawberry, hints of undergrowth, sous bois, decaying leaves, a touch of soupiness, truffle, meat, smoke, congealed blood, an elegance and rustiness, pure, earthy, mineral finish, slightly acetone, a herbiness, complex but fully mature, red brick, sandstone, tomato soup, fish, salty, decay, tumeric, Indian spices. ******- 

1990 Echezeaux; Emmanuel Rouget (made by Jayer)
wonderfully elegant with super purity, a meatiness, minty note, strawberry, plum, a touch of heat but with a long structured, silky, persistant finish, a hint of wood and heat, but lovely marbly finish, a touch muted on the finish but that will come, wonderful purity and delicacy, a super wine… Pure the buzz word here. ******+ 

1990 Chateau Cheval Blanc
clearly is a fantastic wine but ruined by TCA-NR 

replaced by 1985 Chateau Cheval Blanc
fresh, nutty, earthy, mineral, cassis, herbs, green pepper, tobacco, cedar, but with a youthfulness of cassis fruit that is surprising and lovely, light, fresh, Cabernet Francy notes, lovely balance, saline, sea breeze, pure, earth, mineral, slightly gravelly, clay charactar, hints of wood spice. Lovely. ******+ 

1961 Chateau Palmer
stewed plum, cassis, cranberry undertones, incredible depth, soy, squid ink, oyster sauce, tobacco, cedar, pepper, herbs, lingering and wonderfully persistant, silky, powerful with subtle elegance, sandstone, clay, earth, perfumed plum, a touch of ripe strawberry, wonderful. Unbelievably long finish. Maturing but not decaying. A 100 year wine?? ******(*+) 

1950 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion
Apparently horribly Maderised- NR 

replaced by 1978 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion
big herby bell pepper nose, clean with greenness, fresh, cassis, with time to breath it fills out into something beautiful, herbal, eucalyptus, persistant and not showing the development of a mature wine, this still has plenty left to give, a strong acidic backbone holding it together. Red fruit, perfume, red plum, cassis, mecidinal, bandaid, scorched earth, pencil lead, tobacco leaf, cedar. ******+ 

1982 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion
Ripe cassis, plum, cedar, tobacco, leafy, cassis, a herby acidic streak, lovely balance, hints of decaying leaf, bell pepper, oyster shell, losing the sweetness and fruit with time in the glass, blood, salt and lots of herby green notes, a subdued bottle? *****(*?) 

1989 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion
deep, cassis, herbs, tobacco leaf, oil, squid ink, oyster sauce, very primary, cedar, pepper, classic, youthful, long finish, classy. *****(*+) 

1990 Hermitage “La Chapelle” Paul JAboulet Aine
deep, pepper, plum, cassis, structured but with a perfume, tobacco, green notes, herbs, round, structured, warm and with strong Syrah notes, very good but somehow lacking in real freshness but the long finish bodes well. Fireworks, bonfire. *****(*++) 

1978 HErmitage “La Chapelle” Paul Jaboulet Aine
pepper. red fruits, minerals, marble, soapstone, wood spice, raspberry, red plum, lovely, pure, effortless wine, classy, restrained, powerful and deep, still with time in hand. burnt matches, a burgundian complexity with a saline quality, red brick, sandstone, really lovely. ******(*+) 

1990 Hermitage, Jean-Louis Chave
Deep, fragrant, still young, strawberry, structured, plum, long, broad, deep, hints of bret, game, blood, earth, underbrush, herbs, eucalyptus, really opening in the glass, a 90 ripeness, length, elegant and effervescent, long fruity, leafy, sous bois, undergrowth finish. Super. ******(*) 

1950 Chateau d’Yquem
Caramel, oranges, marmalade, soil, earth, freshness, green, earth, nuts, almonds, concentrated, broad, long, wonderfully saline, barley sugar, apricot, minerals, clay, orange peel, lime, citrus, complex, mature, fresh, absolutely wonderful. *******(+?) 

1808 Leacock’s Solera
Rich, earth, leaves, light and fresh, cranberry, wood, earthy, oxiditive, milk chocolate, beguiling, youthful, wet soil, dry soil, stewed cranberry, caramel, chocolate, long, persistant, earthy, really long, beguiling, haunting, dusty finish. Fresh and Lovely. ******* 

1808 Leacock’s Malmsey Solera (Famous since 1760  😉  )
Much deeper, richer  and grassier, deep coffee, chocolate, caramel, more youthful with lanolin, wonderful breath, round but oxidising slowly in the glass, long and lovely, marmalade and honey. Getting more like the straight Solera. Not the same wine but with strong similarities. *******(-?)

(please note these notes have been posted here, exactly as I wrote them at the time, so I apologize if they are incomprehensible).

One may think that this is a bit of showing off and that the ticket costs a lot of money that people don’t necessarily have, however, when you think that to taste some of these wines is a once in a lifetime opportunity, even for those who spend their whole lives in the wine trade, one can’t miss these opportunities. The food is always immaculate at the Square, and so £1000 is an absolute steal for a place at one of these events. At the end of the day, all the money goes to a very good cause. 

I certainly hope that I can attend more in the future. Even if just to try a 1961 Palmer again. An ageless wine, mature and developed, but still young, powerful and seemingly going to live a very long time! 

Hopefully we will see more new faces at the Pebbles Events in the future. 😉

They are great fun, with good banter and the chance to meet many who are crazy about good wines and fine food…

Until next time, 
Happy Drinking. 

if you wish to donate to the pebbles project, click here…

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