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Class(é) ‘As’ / Friends / Babies – The New Holy Trinity

by Tom Chadwick (Trade Sales)

For me, one of life’s greatest pleasures is to share time with friends, open some cracking bottles over a nice meal and chew the cud until I fall over. I do not think I’m alone on this one.

Last Friday morning the Chadwick clan headed off bright and early to sunny Spain and spent a hugely enjoyable weekend with our best friends the Bassadone’s. Generosity is in their blood and this recent trip was no exception.

19.00 can never come too early… the time at which my darling children head off into dream land. As soon as all the children were tucked up in bed the fun began; to kick things off we opened a bottle of Krug from one of the most recent releases and as usual, this bottle far from disappointed. Stunningly good, mouthwatering 5 ‘J’ Pata Negra was demolished with slices of Manchego whilst we caught up – before I was taken into the cellar to chose the wines for the evening. Big John, as he is known, had kept back some bottles from a mixed case I had sent over to him some months previously and after much deliberation we opted for a couple of real beauties: a bottle each of Angelus 1998 and Cheval Blanc 1999 both, now, 1er Grand Cru Classe ‘A’. With John being relatively new to the fine wine game, decanting material was rather scarce, but… and this is where the babies come in – there were muslins everywhere – God Bless the children – so with a little assistance, a handy glass jug played decanter. The Angelus was decanted first and allowed to breathe in the decanter before supper. Meanwhile Mrs Bassadone was cooking steaks in the outdoor kitchen. We sat outside until the small hours (it has been a while since we’ve done this at home, I have to say) enjoying the fine steaks, beautiful wines and consummate chat. A perfect evening, perfect weekend and a big thank you to our hosts.

And so, the wines:

1998 Angelus
This is still very much a puppy and showing bags of depth, concentration and intensity – everything is there and all superbly integrated. The finish is persistent and for most people this beauty would benefit from being left well alone for some years. ‘Big John’, who likes big wines, thought this was a point and has already ordered a brace to stock up with. 96+ pts TC

1999 Cheval Blanc
A very different beast altogether and in fact more of a mature gentleman. If you have this in your cellar I would certainly approach it now and crack on. More graphite than fruit but to me this is how I like my wines, mature and with plenty of secondary characters. Old man claret, nay, lunch time claret in excelsis! 93+ pts TC

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