Thursday, April 9, 2009

Batard-Montrachet, Chateau Margaux and the BYO debate

The one thing I love about my job is the array of wines I get to look at and, of course, taste. Over the years I have seen some absolute crackers, with the 1959 Dom Perignon still being the highlight.
Most of these gems I must admit are from people who bring them as BYO, which was the case of the Dom Perignon. Now BYO is a touchy subject in Melbourne; to allow or not to allow? I say BYO is cool only if the wine in question is good enough to get a gig in the restaurants wine list. When diner's bring in their Eaglehawk Merlot which they just purchased 10 minutes before entering the restaurant for $10, I gently let them down and explain to them that I have worked very hard to get the wine list where it is and that their wine wouldn't even get a gig as the base for a red wine reduction - geez I'm harsh.
Yesterday one of my favourite customers gave me a call at about 10.20am and asked if he could bring in a couple of BYO bottles. Now this customer in question will usually order a half bottle of white Burgundy and a half bottle of Bordeaux with his meal - generally a 4 course dego.
This particular day, he was dining with a friend, so the wines of choice were a Batard-Montrachet Blain Gagnard 2000 white Burgundy (chardonnay) and a half bottle of Chateau Margaux 1995 (cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cab franc, petit verdot). Did I accept - you bet I did. Now this guest trusts me implicitly to open and test his wines, so it was the Batard I had a look at first and it was gorgeous. To look at it, the colour had developed quite a lot to a cheese-cake yellow. On the nose, masses of custard coming through, which is what you should expect from this wine after 8 years in bottle, and a bit a honey dew melon. In the mouth the acid was still very relevant with grapefruit still hanging around - just for the hell of it it seemed. The wine just kept giving in the mouth, very long with licorice powder dancing around (geez that sounds a bit of a wank doesn't it) and then custard again; what a wine!!!
Next was the Margaux. I don't know what to write now. The mongrel was corked!! I was gutted. The owner of the wine however was shattered, absolutely shattered. He had just spent $1200 on this wine and it was screwed, and there was no chance of getting your money back because it was bought at auction - no refunds.
I guess a consolation of this was that he purchased a bottle of Bollinger NV Champagne to drown his sorrows.
One thing I haven't yet mentioned is that this guest doesn't see it necessary to drink the whole bottle of wine, so he gave me the instructions to decant half for himself and his guest and said that I could keep the wine for myself - I love this bloke. I then managed to draw the remaining half of the Batard for a few hours, tasting it at different temperatures and just really loving every mouth full; I have said this was a stunning wine right?
Now the dishes that went out with this wine were not what I would generally recommend, but I was limited with the menu at present. The meals I would have would be on the line of a crayfish bisque or a blitzed crab sauce tossed through angel hair pasta; flavours that are rich and gelatinous.

Batard-Montrachet; what a wine
drink till 2012

Chateau Margaux
drink till 2025
no rating on account of wine being knackered


  1. You really do enjoy your job don't you. I came across this blog looking up Batard Montrachet and came across this. It seems you know what you're on about and hope to see you in your place of work when I get to Melbourne.
    Keep the blogs coming

    Candice, Toronto

  2. What a wine - we too had the pleasure of a half bottle, last month (March 2010). Unlike your punter, we didn't share a drop. Easily the finest chardonnay I have ever tasted. The tastes went on and on, and developed in the glass over time. I came across your blog while looking for a 2007 of this wine. We are going to put it down for our daughter as a surprise 10th wedding anniversary present (in 2017) Tim and Sue Brunswick