Started with Michel Rocourt's superb Premier Cru Champagne which was extremely well received. The extra bottle age (over most NV Champagnes available) contributes to the wine's complexity and the softness of the mousse, it was generally agreed.
With the goats cheese starter, Jonathan Maltus' "Pezat" Blanc seemed an obvious choice with its Sauvignon lemony zing and was a far better food match (though not necessarily a better wine, of course) than the Givry Blanc from Michel Sarrazin, a far softer wine with its subtle oak ageing.
The main course of lamb was the time to bring out the big guns: first a 2004 Rioja "Amenital" from Miguel Angel Muro (Oz Clarke has just rated it his 9th best wine for 2011) which has lovely forward fruit and good acidity and tannins so very much a wine for food.
I was slightly nervous about the 2004 Cahors "Le Cedre" from Chateau du Cedre, thinking it would be far too young still. In the end it was a fairly unanimous wine of the night thanks to its intense, rich fruit complemented by a superb structure of acidity and tannins balanced by just enough alcohol. A magnificent wine.
The pear and apple tarte tatin was paired with two very different wines: Domaine Rotier's "Renaissance" Doux from Gaillac and Bressy-Masson's Rasteau Rancio. The first is a deliciously sweet, late-harvest white from the Loin de l'Oeil variety (not one you see every day!) with around 150 grams/litre residual sugar. Always a winner, my only concern is how well the wine ages as it is never around long enough to find out.
The Rasteau Rancio is a wine whose ageworthiness is never a concern: its Rancio character means there is no harm in letting this age further. All that will happen is that the Rancio effect will be exacerbated. A slightly nutty character came though with the food at least. Some preferred this to the Rotier; others enjoyed the Gaillac more. I didn't hear anyone say they didn't like either though!
A good tasting dinner (and a good dinner!) - now I have to prepare for this afternoon's walkabout tasting here!