Wine without friends to share them with, is not much different from water. It’s might refresh your palate and offer nourishment. But Bordeaux wine, as well as every other great wine only come alive when they are shared with friends or family.
I have been fortunate to have had dinner with Jean-Philippe Delmas at Chateau La Mission Haut Brion on a myriad of occasions. In 2009, when Delmas was busy planning a dinner for 500 people during Vin Expo, I was honored to participate in a test dinner. The evenings menu was a final run through before being served to owners and guests of all the Classified Pessac Leognan producers. Cooking is one of my passions. Asked for thoughts on the menu, I held my fork. But not my tongue. Jean-Philippe and I entered into a discussion on cuisine that blossomed into an invitation to my house for dinner the next time he was in Los Angeles.
The evening began with the stellar 1996 Dom Perignon. Champagne that is rich, fat, creamy and filled with the perfect of amount of acidity to give it the right amount of lift. Citrus, yeast, stone and almond notes start off the perfume. The exudes freshness coupled with soft textures and a long finish. At close to 15 years of age, it’s staring to show well, and it’s only going to get better from here! This is one of the better young Champagnes I’ve tasted in ages. It’s a stronger wine than the just released 2002.
No time like the present.
Dad’s birthday was only a few weeks ago. Jean-Philippe seldom travels to Los Angeles. I like cooking. It was truffle season. That quartet of events made it the perfect night to open the 76-year-old bottle of Haut Brion. Delmas is the third generation in his family to manage Haut Brion. His grandfather started at the estate in 1921. His father took over in 1961 and Jean-Philippe took over managing Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion in 2004.
Wine is a time machine that works. Special bottles mark the nights and occasions we need to remember
As the director of Haut Brion, Delmas has tasted more bottles of Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion than anyone can count. But for some reason, my lone bottle of 1934 Haut Brion, my father’s birth year remained elusive. Until now!