Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Domaine de la Romanee Conti, Romanee St Vivant 1972

Danny was on top form on Saturday, hes got the fire back in his belly, which is great, because I wasnt on form at all. Danny had set himself a target of selling a £250+ bottle of burgundy, and bugger me if he didnt go and sell two of the sods.

A random table of three, towards the later end of the evening, Id already approached the table to see if there was a particular style of wine they were looking for, but the guy was happy browsing. Id just taken another order when I saw Danny approach them and set to work.

Watching him work it took me back a bit to my younger days when I was full of enthusiasm but frankly lacked the knowledge to back it up. I had kind of lacked that inner voice telling when to stop and sometimes it got me into some very tight spots. In my first head sommeliers position I allowed myself to get carried away with the wine-list, filling it with trophy wines and constantly expanding it, getting ever bigger with each new wine that I tasted and enjoyed. It became an ego-fest, ever more personal, until one day I realised that I was the only one that could sell it, they were my wines, and the guys in my team that I was supposed to be teaching and guiding, didnt have a clue where to start. That was when I knew I wasnt really ready for the position I was in, and after discussing it with the HR manager I left for a new, more junior position elsewhere. I can see a lot of parallels in Danny, hes younger than I was, full of enthusiasm, but he doesnt know his limits, he has yet to experience that crash, that one humbling moment that keeps the ego in check and allows us to grow in our positions. Much as I hate to say it, when it comes I hope it is hard, and I hope it comes soon, because he has the potential for greatness whatever direction he takes in the industry.

So hes only managed to persuade the guy to take Bin 99 - DRC Romanee St Vivant 1972. I didnt think the guy was the sort to drop that kind of money on a bottle of wine, but once again Ive proven that appearances can be deceptive.

The nose if quite light at first - strawberries, a bit of earthyness about them, but then the feral character kicks in and there is a muskiness about the wine. The wine itself is very cloudy, a very fine suspension of particles, it doesnt say anything on the bottle about being filtered or fined, but if I had to guess Id say it wasnt filtered before bottling. I didnt taste this one, as it was late in the evening, and I wasnt feeling very well. Danny did, and was full of superlatives for it. The customers enjoyed it, which is of course the main objective.
All in a great wine then. Not too shabby for £270 a bottle. Fine and Rare are knocking it out at £483 a bottle according to wine-searcher.com, so I reckon its a steal at £270!

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