LONDON - AN 80 YEAR OLD RIOJA AT MEDLAR IN CHELSEA
I had been looking for a reason to drink this special wine for some time. It came a few months ago when I was looking through some of my old wines with my friend Mark Walsh when he said 1942 was the year of my dad John's birth. So that was it......
John was born in 1942, so this wine was still a grape then, and the day we arranged to drink the wine, 23rd July just happened to have been my late Mother's 91st birthday, so this was a joint celebration.
We had started with a couple of beers at the wonderful old Fox & Pheasant Pub in Chelsea. It feels like you are in a pub somewhere on the Yorkshire Moors, rather than Chelsea. The pub was recently bought by pop singer James Blunt to stop it from being turned into flats by property developers. So kudos to James.
We arrived at Medlar and settled in for our evening with a bottle of champagne and after making our food choices, began with,
Crab raviolo with samphire, brown shrimp, fondue of leeks, and bisque sauce.
Venison tataki with tosazu dressing, toasted sesame seeds, daikon, red meat radish, and red onion rings.
We then had a bottle of Donnafugata Mille e Una Notte 2019.
Rump of Belted Galloway with café de paris snails, stuffed portobello, shallot purée and béarnaise
The highlight of the meal, even though the food is very good, was, of course, the
Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Reserva Especial Rioja Cosecha 1942
A couple of professional reviews. Parker (97) The 1942 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial from a great Rioja vintage spent a mind-boggling 40 years in American oak barriques before it was bottled in 1983. Dark cherry red with a garnet rim offers up a splendid perfume of earth, mineral, lavender, incense, and black cherry. The wine’s vibrant acidity has kept it youthful and complete. This is a tour de force. Wine Spectator / James Suckling (92) Lovely deep ruby and brick color, quite clear. Alluring nose (bit lifted?) with chocolate, spice, light earthy, and dried fruit aromas. Quite round and rich on the palate, sweet/tart raisin flavors, with notes of tobacco, currant, and spice. Tannins resolved, lovely supple texture. Long finish of fruit and spices. The real expert on the evening was our fabulous sommelier, Irene Banet, who hails from Toledo in Spain. She was surprised to see this old Spanish wine turn up in the restaurant.
We left how, and when the wine would be served to her. ie should it be decanted or not? It was not decanted. This proved to be an excellent decision. With a wine this old, you are drinking history but there is always a chance that it will have spoiled. We are pleased to report that it is still great! We then moved on to the desserts, Warm chocolate mousse and salted caramel tartlet with milk ice cream and candied pecans
Dulce de leche stracciatella ice cream with a cinnamon beignet
A selection of Cheese.
Medlar has a fantastic and extensive wine list but on this occasion, we wanted to drink the 1942 with wonderful food and have it served in the best possible way. This was achieved with a small corkage charge, which is a great way to drink a special wine you may have at home.
We finished the evening off with a glass or two of Can Vidal Herbes Ibicencan from Ibiza and coffee.
All in all, it was a great evening, and thanks again to all the knowledgeable and very helpful staff.
The menu here is a set menu of six choices per course at various prices depending on if you go for lunch, dinner, midweek, or weekends. it is a great spot on the Kings Road and always worth a visit.
438 King's Rd, London SW10 0LH
020 7349 1900
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