Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Out with the 1996, in with 2007

On New Year's, we got impatient. Slated for toasting (and, of course, drinking) was a bottle of 1996 Jacquesson vintage champagne. Big, heavy bottle in dark, serious glass. A serious type of cuvée prestige. We were having a little dinner of two, Arnaud and I, and I'd worked out the menu: seared foie gras scallops with a tangle of arugula in mustardy balsamic dressing; langoustes with vanilla cream sauce and wild mushrooms; Laguiole and St-Marcellin and sheep's milk cheeses; and orange tartlets. And since there were only two of us, there would only be two wines, a stately vintage champagne that had enough body to double as a pairing for some of what we'd be eating, and then a young but (at least I hoped and dreamed) elegant bottle of 2004 Domaine des Lambrays Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru "Folatières".

But we got impatient, on the day of. At around 4pm, after taking a long early-afternoon walk and then watching some comic sketches off YouTube, we decided to see what the champagne was like. Arnaud was drawing a bath, and he liked the idea of sinking into the tub with a glass of sparkling, heady bubbles.

1996 Jacquesson vintage - a disconcerting experience. Deep yellow, with middling effervescence, this was a thick and vinous wine on the palate. Youth and weight drew out into a surprising length, on a kind of honeycomb structure with some serious acidity that had my glands going. Clearly a well-made champagne, but perhaps not meant to go it alone.

So we came back to it later on, with the meal. I thought it went well with the seared foie gras; Arnaud went and opened a bottle of red Sancerre, which turned out to be nastily corked. Then we broke a couple of glasses. Then we moved on to the Puligny with the main course.

But still later, at midnight, sitting in bed now, watching "Some Like it Hot," we got out the Jacquesson for a toast. And as we clinked our flutes and then kissed, 2007 came roaring in, via 1996.

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