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A weekend of 1999s

With our oldest son just turning ten, the weekend was the perfect opportunity to re-taste some of his vintage in wines.

First up was Beaucastel - one person thought it slightly corked and threw it away in disgust. Everyone else thought it was brett and enjoyed everything else that was going on in the glass. When I suggested to the dissenter it had, perhaps, more of a farmyard smell than he was accustomed to (he is a dedicated New Zealand Pinot Noir drinker), he agreed it could be that (he still threw it away - will I ever get over that?). Perhaps I should have decanted it! In any case, I found it to have lovely deep black cherry fruit, quite brambly, big without being overdone.

De Vallouit's Cote Rotie 1999 "La Voniere" on Sunday was the perfect partner for roast beef. I had been asked to try it by someone who had opened a badly shaken up bottle. This was in perfect condition, very clear and bright. It looked like it had plenty of life ahead. The nose was sublime, exotic and captivating - this is possibly the only CR with the maximum 20% Viognier included. The palate superb, almost impossible to pin down; words can't do it justice so I won't try. Simply superb.

Monday night's wine was the 1999 St Joseph from Pascal Perrier's Domaine de Gachon. Pascal is one of the wine world's great characters: huge moustache, non-stop Gauloises and some great stories surrounding him. The wine started life as one of the most awkward I have encountered but now has an enticing, almost Burgundian nose, deliciously sweet. The palate is more solid but still has that lightness of touch which surprises me when I look back at the label to see it really is ten years old.

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