Saturday, 24 December 2011

Mas de L'Écriture flies the Languedoc flag

I recently went to a hugely enjoyable and relaxing "Christmas" lunch in the private dining room of the excellent Medlar - a relatively new restaurant in Chelsea. It’s organised by enthusiasts who converse on Tom Cannavan's in the wine forum. As a discussion board it befits wine itself for being one of the the most civilised forums I’ve encountered. Everyone is treated with respect, whether someone is seeking a £3.99 miracle wine or indulged in a rare near unobtainable icon.

Back to the lunch. Of the 14 bottles generously brought by the group only two were (just) from this century. The rest went back to the 1960s. The majority were reds with two vintage Champagnes doubling as dry whites. My contribution, by popular demand from the organiser, was my last bottle of Mas de L'Écriture, L'Écriture 2001 – a bend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre made around Jonquieres in the Terrasses du Larzac. It was partnered with no less than a Chave Hermitage 1998, a Penfolds Grange 1991 and a Beef en Daube. It was certainly not humbled despite the Chave being informally voted one of the wines of the lunch. I much preferred L'Écriture to the powerful Grange, an extraordinary wine in contrast to the line-up with the volume turned so high any Languedoc would seem meek. L'Écriture had a lovely ripe sweetness with elegant baked plums and waves of smoke. There was consensus that it didn’t come across as belonging in the Languedoc, something I’ve found less pronounced in more recent vintages. An interesting coincidence is that Mas de L'Écriture features strongly on the Medlar’s wine list. It’s also a restaurant I look forward to returning to.

The event was, for me these days, a rare foray into some mature classic wines. Something I'll muse on in my next post.

For the record the line-up was: -

Cheese choux puffs

Krug 1985

Grilled bream with baby squid, risotto nero, gremolata and shaved fennel

Chapelle Chambertin Ponsot 1998
Chapelle Chambertin Ponsot 1997
Ruchottes Chambertin F Esmonin 2001

Middle white pork chop with celeriac puree, black cabbage, crackling and marjoram

Palmer 1966
Leoville Barton 1978
Vieux Chateau Certan 1998

Daube de boeuf with parsnip puree, parsnip crisps and bourguignon sauce

Le Mas de L'Ecriture 2001
Chave Hermitage 1998
Penfolds Grange 1991

Dom Ruinart 1996 (palate freshener)

Tarte tatin with crème fraîche ice cream

Chateau Pajzos Tokaji Aszu 1993
Huet Le Haut Lieux Moelleux 1989

Graham's 1966 (port).