Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Souvenirs of a Dinner with Outstanding Wines - Encore un grand moment en compagnie de Grandes Dames…

Souvenirs of a Dinner with Outstanding Wines 

Encore un grand moment en compagnie de Grandes Dames…

The wine selection of the dinner © LeDomduVin

Over the last 25 years of my career as Sommelier and Wine buyer for restaurants, retails and private clients, I have been lucky enough to have the privilege to buy, sale, promote, look after, open, prepare, conditioned and taste some of the greatest, oldest and rarest wines in the world.

I have always felt very humbled by these pieces of history, reminiscent of the past, of an era, of a specific year or vintage should I say. 

“Mémoires d’une époque, moments d’histoire dans des flacons de toutes sortes arborant des étiquettes aux noms prestigieux et reconnus de par le monde” as I say in French.    

Yet, I must admit that I never seen, taken care of, prepared, opened and tasted as many of these old and rare gems as within the last 5 years that I have been working for Goldin Wines as Wine Quality Control Director and Sommelier.

Our Chairman is an avid connoisseur and collector when it comes to wine. He mostly buys and drinks the top 250 wines in the world, predominantly French, from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone.

And the stellar wine collection in the company’s and restaurant’s cellars is very representative of his love for high quality wines (proof in my previous posts about the Display Cellar at the company’s French restaurant “Le Pan Apiciushere and here)

At this point of the game, when you reached the pinnacle and play around the richest men in the world, wine is a must, a necessity, a way of showing your wealth as part of a luxurious, well mannered and educated lifestyle.   

His wine sharing generosity with his guests, friends and others from his entourage, is a well-known fact in the industry. And he always selects great wines to pair with his dinners whether as the host or as a guest.  

Although, he has his own Chefs and catering team to take care of the food and service, when it comes to wine, he often asked me to be the Sommelier to take care of the wines for some of his dinners.

More especially, if the guests are important Chinese or foreign people, as it looks good for a Chairman of his stature to have his own personal Sommelier, moreover being French from Bordeaux and grandson of a winemaker... (nothing wrong with self promotion).  

Looking around the archives in my computer, I stumbled across pictures of dinner back in November 2015. I cannot tell you where it was, or who were the attendees or even what was the occasion. I cannot either show you pictures of the people or the place, as this kind of dinners are very private and it will be indecent to reveal specific details about them.

It is one of the main duties and responsibilities of the people working the front house of a restaurant or private dining room (like Maitre D’ and Sommelier and waiters), to always respect the privacy and secrecy of the clients while providing them with an attentive and flawless service.

Whatever you’ve seen, heard or witnessed, you need to keep your mouth shut and do not speak of it or repeat anything to anyone. It is a Golden Rule in the restaurant business.

However, what I can show you is the wine selection of that particular dinner. Once again it was a treat for the eyes and the palate for the guests and a Sommelier night to remember for me.

As always, images are stronger and louder than words, so let’s have a look at this amazing lineup of old and rare ladies (as I like to call them) 

Billecart Salmon 1961 Magnum @ LeDomduVin

All in magnum size (except for the Riesling Auslese) and in the order of the 1st picture above at the beginning of this post: 
  • Billecart Salmon Brut Champagne Vintage 1961
  • DRC Montrachet 1989
  • La Mission Haut-Brion 1959
  • Haut-Brion 1961
  • Lafite-Rothschild 1959
  • Latour 1961
  • Mouton Rothschild 1945
  • Petrus 1961
  • DRC La Tache 1990
  • Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel (#17) 

Encore un grand moment en compagnie de Grandes Dames……  

Billecart Salmon 1961 Magnum Cork @ LeDomduVin

First a selection of what will be drunk during the dinner was made.....  

The Wine Selection of the Dinner selected in the private Cellar
© LeDomduVin

Then they had to be opened and prepared... 

The Durand Corkscrew with one of the corks © LeDomduVin

La Mission Haut-Brion 1959 Magnum © LeDomduVin

Lafite Rothschild 1959 and Mouton Rothschild 1945 Magnum
© LeDomduVin

Latour 1961 Magnum © LeDomduVin

Petrus 1961 Magnum © LeDomduVin

Then I had to double decant them... 

NB: double decanting a wine consists of decanting the wine in a decanter first, then put it back in the bottle, as presentation is better in the bottle in front of the guests

Dominique Noël decanting Lafite Rothschild 1959 Magnum © LeDomduVin

Dominique Noël decanting Lafite Rothschild 1959 Magnum © LeDomduVin

Et voila.... the bottles were prepared, decanted at least half an hour prior the dinner and were waiting patiently to be served... 

The Red wines selection for the dinner © LeDomduVin

Dominique Noël with the Red wines selection for the dinner © LeDomduVin

My god, what an amazing lineup!?!

It was definitely a very exciting night for a Sommelier like me and the wines being in magnum size showed beautifully and surprisingly youthful compared to their 750ml counterparts that I had the chance to taste previously in various occasions and places. It is not true for everything, but when it comes to the size of a bottle of wine, BIGGER is BETTER !?! 

The Macallan Vintage Selection

In terms of other beverages, a nice selection of The Macallan Vintage whisky was also available at the dinner including vintage 1939, 1940, 1953, 1954 and 1958

A selection of The Macallan Vintage whisky available at the dinner © LeDomduVin

The Cohiba 35th Anniversario Box

For the cigar aficionados (like me), a selection of Cohiba Cigars from a 35th Anniversario Box was also available.

Cohiba Cigars 35th Anniversario Box © LeDomduVin

Cohiba Cigars 35th Anniversario Box © LeDomduVin

The White Truffles d'Alba

I cannot show you the menu either, but all I can tell you is that there were a lot of white truffle shaves on the plates that night... Even the Chef Edward Voon ("Le Pan Apicius") who was cooking for that dinner, invited me to clean the truffles with him as they were too many for one man to handle (even for one skillful and talented Chef like him..😉)

White Truffles of Alba © LeDomduVin

Dominique Noël and Chef Edward Voon 
cleaning White Truffles © LeDomduVin 

Dominique Noël and Chef Edward Voon cleaning White Truffles © LeDomduVin

Dominique Noël cleaning a fairly sizeable White Truffle 
© LeDomduVin

Voilà, that's all folks... but stay tuned for more posts and pictures of old and rare ladies and grandes dames... 

FYI: For those who may have noticed the moustache, every November I participate and support "Movember", an annual event involving growing your moustache during the whole month of November to raise funds and awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men's suicide.


LeDomduVin a.k.a Dominique Noël

#billecartsalmon #1961 #drcmontrachet #1989 #lamissionhautbrion #1959 #hautbrion #1961
#lafiterothschild #1959 #latour #1961 #moutonrothschild #1945 #petrus #1961 #drclatache #1990
#fritzhaagbraunebergerjuffersonnenuhrrieslingauslesegoldkapsel #bordeaux #burgundy #germany #oldandrarebottles #oldandrarewines #oldandrarevintages #wine #wines #vin #vins #ledomduvin #cohiba #cigars #themacallan #whisky #whitetruffles

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