Back Linden recalls some more Hong Kong fare

Published on 13 October, 2023

By Linden Wilkie, 13 October 2023

At the same Hong Kong dinner that featured the 1952 Dom Perignon pair I wrote about, were a few other interesting wines served blind, including 2002 Champagne Salon Le Mesnil. I didn’t guess the producer right, but I was sure it was 2002 from the generous fruit profile. Like the bottle I tried at last year’s 2002 horizontal, this is still so painfully shy and structured, it feels at least a decade away from its optimal drinking window (by which time it will be impossibly rare). It’s one to lay down, for sure. 2006 Domaine Raveneau Chablis Valmur Grand Cru was satisfyingly pale in the glass, smoky, spicy, with a a touch of botrytis, the palate rounded yet fresh, with minerality and a smoky note at the end. 1983 G. Roumier Clos Vougeot had everyone very focused, it was bright in the glass still, fragrant and pure on the nose, filigree, with fine fruit, wet bark and dark spices, what stood out was its exceptional purity – remarkable given the very challenging vintage (rot issues at harvest). It’s the sort of wine that gave Roumier its stellar reputation.

The final wine was a happy surprise – 1935 Vosne-Romanée Malconsorts from Dr Barolet. Despite a rather browned and unpromising appearance in the glass, it was fragrant, and fine on the palate, old but clearly Burgundy, I thought it might have been a DRC from an off year of the ‘50s or 60s. I first learned about Doctor Barolet from Michael Broadbent MW’s (2002) Vintage Wine, p217. Broadbent had created Christie’s wine department in 1966, and in 1969 auctioned off a vast collection of old Burgundy owned by the recently late Barolet, a Frenchman, and first sold to Swiss-owned négocient, de Villamont. There has been over 1500 cases of wines, vintages 1911-1959, in the first tranche alone. The true size of the collection was vast, however, with 2000 bottles of 1921 Clos de la Roche alone. It’s unsurprising that Broadbent wrote many Barolet Burgundy tasting notes over subsequent years. I’ve tried a handful, but none recently. Given the original quantities, it is not surprising to see the odd one from time to time.



The following week I had lunch at Bâtard with an old friend, and we spent the afternoon sipping two bottles. As much as I enjoy wine gatherings where there’s the chance to try quite a few bottles, it’s also a really pleasure to focus in on just one or two, and see them evolve in the glass. 2018 Armand Heitz Meursault 1er Cru Perrières was a bright solid green-gold in the glass; a nose of ripe Chardonnay, creamy, and with an intense mineral tone and a hint of something fragrantly herbal, like lemongrass, though expressed subtley; the palate showed a good concentration of ripe creamy fruit, with a stony foundation, this has power and thickness, but also tastes lively and bright, mineral-laden and balanced for ageing. Impressive.


Left: Bouchot Mussels á la Crème with Olive Oil Sorbet
Right: Bâtard’s Signature Roast Chicken


The wine’s intensity and cut worked well with the three starters we enjoyed at Bâtard – Beef tartare with potato mille-feuille and oscietre caviar; Bouchot mussels á la crème with olive oil sorbet (amazing dish), and porcini, pomme purée, Guanciale (cured pork jowl). That latter dish allowed us to segue nicely to the red, and oh what a red! – 1990 Château Margaux (thanks JB). A fine clear ruby, light in tone with a little bricking on the still bright fresh rim, a limpid clear wine; the nose, even on popping and pouring (no decanting or prior airing) was already so immediately open and beautifully fragrant, and the palate silky-textured. Within 30 minutes it was in full harmony and expression – the nose is fruity, creamy and bright, very floral, and a little exotic, with some truffle notes and a hint of herb; the palate is very fine, almost linear, its so elegant and elongated, some dark fruit, but its defined more by red fruit, there’s fine acidity and a lovely sense of lift, it feels airy. This is seamless, achingly elegant, fragrant, caressing and long, and it is now in its full apogee, there is nothing here to wait for by further cellaring, but bottles in this fine condition should easily hold for many years to come. By the last glass as we polished off Bâtard’s signature roast chicken, I was struck by the way the palate is left with waves of seductive scent, long into the finish. This is close to as perfectly ‘fine’ as Bordeaux can deliver.