Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In with the old

Two nights ago, David brought a few special treats over in a wine bag. We were gearing up to treat friends from abroad (read: the USA - how exotic!) to Burgundy and some food. Things got screwed up on the food front - I have never dragged anyone, beloved or reviled, through such a shambles of a home-cooked meal - but the wines were delicious.

This one stood out. It's the oldest champagne I've had to date! And reminds me, with its ungainly bottle and weathered label, of the image in Rabelais of Socrates as a silène. Or, put more prosaically: good things can come in unexpected packages.

1971 Lanson Red Label. How the details of vintage, &c., were known to David escapes me, but I'll believe him. He knew what he was talking about, in any case. We poured this champagne, after I had tasted a drop and nodded with a bit of a gleam in my eye (oh yes, it was good). It was still-looking - nary a bubble in the glass - and of a deep ocher color. Yet the nose was exuberant, and as it turns out, the champagne was racy and alive on the tongue with bubbles, and it had a heady, slightly oxidative, mature note. A straight backbone and nutty and biscuity savors had me ignoring the tide of conversation around me, like some autistic Champagne Whisperer.

Until there was no more, alas.

No comments: