Friday, October 24, 2008

Château Filhot 1935

Yesterday evening was one of those evenings where you get a glance at wine heaven. My friend Job Verhaar from one of Amsterdam's best wine shops De Gouden Ton brought together five wine enthusiast, all of them submitting one or two grand bottles. Restaurant Spring took care of the matching food. Foie Gras bonbons, those kind of irresistible things. But my handicap is that I am too focussed on the wines to remember the exact culinary details. I realise I am not doing honour to the meal, but let's go to the wines.

Château Filhot 1935
The appetizer: Von Schubert's Maximin Grünhäuser Abtsberg Riesling Superior 2006 from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region. A mouth full, this name, and such is the wine itself. What a start: this typical Riesling is a textbook example of an elegant yet intense and beautifully balanced white. Mineral an refreshing pink grapefruit. Lovely.

Then we tasted two Champagnes. First the blanc-de-blancs Diebolt-Vallois 1999 "Fleur de Passion" (Brut). A lively Champagne, a nose reminiscent of a morning meadow, very complete, apple, and a refreshing acidity that flows out into a long finish. A very convincing Grand Cru. The second one: Jacques Selosse "Contraste" Brut. 100% pinot noir. Yellow, full and somewhat spicy, interesting and yes, delicious too, but not as exciting as the Diebolt-Vallois.

With the next wine we entered the time machine. Regardless the quality of a wine, swallowing something that has lived 73 years ago, that has felt the 1935 sun, is a sheer magical experience. Perhaps the most intimate way to connect to the past. Very exciting. The wine had only recently left the château, so it was kept in the best possible way. Chateau Filhot 1935. A full nose, acidity, petrol. Slightly salty. Butter, "rancio". The sweetness had disappeared over the years, the acidity remained. A tender wine, balanced, with an endless finish. Very very very special. I kept a little bit in my glass, so I could continue smelling the wine during the evening. In the end the nose was like crème brûlé, and then especially the brûlé. I am grateful that I could taste this wine.

Believe it or not, the next wine was another beauty: the Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru "Les Perrières" 2004 from Louis Carillon. Medium-bodied, very mineral, tense, and some fat, especially in the finish. Simply a very good and clean white Burgundy.

All 9 wines...
Number 6: Hermitage blanc 1997 from Domaine Jean-Louis Chave. I blogged about this wine before, so I won't again.

Then: the Gevrey-Chambertin 2004 from Domaine Leroy. This vintage was declassified to Village-level. Unpolished, green (grassy), berries. Super intense and very PURE in the mouth, long. A vigorous wine. Very drinkable, very digestible. Dangerous. Someone commented: "A vineyard in the mouth." True.

Can we go home now? No, it was time for the Château Pape-Clément 1995. A Pape-Clément from before Bernard Magrez. So still a true Pessac-Léognan this wine. Tough, typical, wet soil, ink, bay leaves. Dark, male. Good!

I'd had enough impressions I guess, it was late. That must have been the main reasons that I had difficulties focusing on (and enjoying) the last wine, the Château Giraud 1989. Sweet and spicy, dark and somewhat sharp.

Time's up. I needed some rest to digest all these impressions. Time to leave heaven, and go to sleep.

Château Filhot 1935

1 comment:

Roel van Gestel said...

David, great read. I have two of those ex-château '35 Filhots in my wine fridge @ 10 degrees C. If you want more...Contact me...!