RSJ's 30th anniversary: 1980-2010

2010 was a very special year for us as the RSJ Restaurant celebrated its 30th year. We held a number of special events through the year to mark our 30th birthday.

36th Year: 1980-2016

Another milestone with events happening during our 36th anniversary year.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Chinon tasting: Monday 13th October 2008

Looking across the Vienne from the coteau
near Cravant-les-Coteaux

Around 20 members of the RSJ wine club enjoyed a tasting of Chinons from 2006 back to 1986 with the customary three-course meal. As Jim was just down the road at Vinopolis on a wine investment panel, Nigel ran the tasting. His comments on the wine are in purple italics.

Nigel: I thought all the wines were showing well – there were no major disappointments.

2006 Chinon Blanc Baudry-Dutour £10.15*
With the unfortunate family schism at Couly-Dutheil Baudry-Dutour is now probably the biggest individual producer in Chinon. The white has to be 100% Chenin and, although the area planted with Chenin has increased recently, it remains a tiny proportion compared to the Cabernet Franc planted for the red.

Had nice weight and it went down very well with everyone.

Cuvée Tradition 2006 Philippe and Claude Alliet £10.50
From gravel vineyards, which are not as good as those up on the coteau but these are what Philippe started and established his reputation with.

This is really quite big I thought to myself as I poured a large glass of this last weekend. Going back to it a day later the acidity was starting to show through and it was fresher. This has developed a slightly gamy nose and is drinking really nicely at the moment.

Christophe Baudry at the new Baudry-Dutour winery in Panzoult

2002 Vieilles Vignes Domaine de la Perrières Christophe Baudry £9.95
From a lovely vintage – not a heavyweight but classic Chinon character, very elegant.

2000 Beaumont Pierre and Catherine Breton n/a
The Bretons are one of several Bourgueil vignerons to have vines in Chinon, Pierre –Jacques Druet is another, and Beaumont to the west of Chinon tends to be a favourite area for them. Not surprising as it is close to Bourgueil. In 2000 you really needed to pick before the rains started in mid-October as they didn’t stop until the following March!

Compared to the big vintages like 2005 and 2006 this has a much fresher character, balanced with some weight. I would drink this now. Was good with the seared organic salmon.

Château de Coulaine

2004 Bonnaventure Château de Coulaine n/a
The property dates from 1300 and vines been grown here ever since. The estate, which is west of Chinon on the road to Avoine and Bourgueil, now has 12 ha and has been run by Etienne et Pascale de Bonnaventure since 1988. Coulaine now one of the appellations leading producers and is organic.

Really lovely – given that 2004 is not a superlative vintage, it showed very well against the 2005s.

2005 Vieilles Vignes Domaine de la Perrières Baudry-Dutour £9.95
From vines that are more than 40 years old and planted on gravel, the wine is aged in wood for 12 months – a mix of casks and barrels – before bottling.

Typical 2005 with very ripe black fruits to the fore and a touch of wood that gives structure and spice to the wine. Should age well as 2005 was an excellent vintage .

First course:
Seared organic Salmon
Roasted fennel, potato gnocchi
Red wine reduction

1986 Clos de l’Echo Couly-Dutheil (magnum) n/a
Just opposite the château Clos de l’Echo is the most famous single vineyard in Chinon and one of the best-known in the Loire.

I’ve spent years waiting for the 1986s to come round and show their paces. This is tasting much better than it has done in the past. Even though it hasn’t been brilliantly stored the neck level is good. It has a light red fruit nose and red cherry flavour. It is certainly not past it – indeed there is plenty of life there. I remember years ago Christophe Baudry telling me that the 1986s were potentially better than the 1985s, which was a very good 80s vintage.

2005 Vieilles Vignes Philippe and Claude Alliet
Although Nigel didn’t say so, the VV can be enjoyed young now but has the potential to age and become more complex.

Wow! This is a big old bugger! There’s so much fruit – black fruits and smoke.

2004 Coteau du Noire Philippe and Claude Alliet £16.95
Previously I’d found the oak quite present, however it's now showing very well with huge concentration and it went very with saddle of lamb. The oak and the tannins are becoming much better integrated. You need a good chunky dish for this one.

Main course:
Roast saddle of lamb
Black pudding
Creamed savoy cabbage, heritage carrots, new potatoes
Red wine jus

Iced pandan parfait, poached pear, passion fruit sauce

When we took a vote at the end the stars were: 2006 Chinon Blanc Baudry-Dutour, 2005 Alliet Vieilles Vignes and the Coteau de Noire 2004.

Were you at the tasting? Do you agree with Nigel’s comments? Either way we would love to hear from you.

Also if you are not on the mailing list for RSJ events – tastings and Ursula's Sunday lunches – please contact Tom King on 020-7928 4554 or if you would like your name added to the list.

(* retail prices and correct on the night of the tasting, when a 10% discount was offered on wines ordered during the evening.)

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