Well after what amounts to an entire month off work I finally returned to work today. About bloody time too!! Apart from my now bulging waistline (and neck - I can hardly breathe), there seems to have been a few changes, but nothing too major. The cellar has been tidied up somewhat, and not a minute too soon!! My office however hasnt, and was quite shocking, particularly since I havent occupied it since the 24th December. Im not saying that I left it spotless, far from it, but it became a dumping ground, that Im getting the blame for. Anyway its been squared away now, all that remains is for it to be kept tidied! (New Years resolution number 103!). Danny has been a busy little squirrel over the last few weeks, and it seems that there are a number of deletions from the wine-list that have occupied a large chunk of today. Alas his sale of my last two bottles of Hill of Grace have placed me in bit of a pickle, as my favourite guests have booked themselves in for the weekend on the spur of the moment. So they are in tonight, tomorrow night and saturday night. Oh well, it gives me the chance to let them try something else. Spent the afternoon in a tasting session with Justin Llwellyn of Champagne Taittinger, tasting our way through the new range of champagnes that have become our house pour. Must say that I was quite impressed with the Brut Reserve, the Comte was its usual high standard, just a touch young still at 98. The Prelude was different, not a big fan really. We got the chance to try the Folies de la Marquetterrie which is a single vineyard champagne which is the only Taittinger champagne to undergo oak treatment. There was a touch of corkiness to the wine, slight, but enough to taint the flavours which seemed to be bigger more brutish that the Taittinger Brut. The two roses didnt do anything to inspire me, the brut nv lacked depth of flavour and just seemed very one-dimensional. The Comte rose was ok, but failed to live up to the hype it got before we tasted it, and at the price it isnt anywhere in the same league as the DP rose. It didnt help that this wine also had a touch of cork taint to it. The 2000 vintage raised an interesting discussion on the poor performance of vintage champagne in general over the commercial success of prestige brands that carry vintages - Krug, DP, Cristal, Comte etc. It was fairly bland with not much to make it stick out. The final wine was a favourite, the Taittinger Nocturne. Released two years ago to fill a percieved gap in the market, Nocturne positions itself as a night-time champagne, to be drunk through the night or with a meal. Carrying about 18g sugar per litre, compared to the 10g/l of the brut, this is classed as a sec champagne. This was smooth, refreshing and kept you wanting more. Perfect!
Mind you now the post tasting hangover seems to be coming in to play. Oh well, no pleasure without pain.