Magazine article The Spectator

Drink: Bruce Anderson

Magazine article The Spectator

Drink: Bruce Anderson

Article excerpt

This is a tale of two lunches, sort of. The first was a classically English affair. We started with native oysters, my first of the season: everything that they should be. Then there was succulent roast pork, its crackling done to perfection. It was accompanied by the Platonic idea of Brussels sprouts. Straight from the garden, lime-green in colour, perfectly al dente: what a magnificent vegetable. There were also excellent carrots that would have shone in lesser company, and roast potatoes which I should not have eaten, plus Yorkshire pud, ditto: delicious. Eccentric with pork perhaps, but it worked.

With the pig we had a Gigondas '07 from St Cosme, a house which never fails. Having drunk it before, I opened it at breakfast. It needed every hour of breathing. Look out for St Cosme. From a jolly good Côtes du Rhône to a superb Côte Rotie, I do not believe that better wine is made in Gigondas.

I have a group of friends who insist on remaining nameless. As they go about their business, they pass as respectable. They run counting houses, departments of state, solicitors' firms and what have you. But every now and again, they slip into a netherworld to practise their secret vice: oenophilia. There is an annual luncheon to which they each bring a bottle or two. It is a competitive affair, with voting to award the blue riband. This year, running into one of them at around 4 p.m., I was invited to join the consultations.

The first prize had gone to an '88 Clos de la Roche, Georges Lignier, which was wonderful. But I would have given the palm to a '66 Léoville-Las Cases, a first growth in all but the 1855 ranking. It was perfection in mature claret. At the other end of the age range, still only a colt, there was a Palmer 2001, which grew in stature with every mouthful. We agreed that it would probably be even better the next day.

That led on to the question of opening times. …

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