I was working in a famous Notting Hill’s restaurant lately, where I was challenged by a customer who brought with him 2 marvellous bottles of wine to accompany his meal: Chateau Cheval Blanc, 1989 and Chateau Margaux, 1986.
Firstly, in what order should I serve them? This is important if each wine is to convey their best expressions to the palate. The next challenge was, of course, the opening of the bottle to ensure they were in super fine condition (e.g. no cork damage) for drinking. Finally, I made an assessment to see at which point of the evolutionary path each bottle had reached. Part of the continuous fascination of wine, is the fact that they continue to evolve in the wine bottle before opening and as a sommelier, I am very interested in that evolutionary process.
I have tasted both wines a few times whilst working at The Square and always I have been quite surprised on how the ‘86 Margaux kept a rigidity and depth that only time would transform. The Cheval Blanc ’89 however, immediately felt more approachable – which further endorsed my opinion that 1990 wines are much more composed and structured for long-term than the 1989’s in general!
Of course, I had a WineWeaver wine aerator with me and I did not hesitate for a second to process this magnificent Margaux ’86 through the wine aerator where its gentle process helped dramatically to open the mid-palate with more fruit and sweetness; as well as un-knit the tannic structure to smooth the delivery and open the composition of the wine.
My clients had the Cheval Blanc ‘89 first and –followed up with the Margaux ‘86 quite quickly (in terms of allowing wine to breath). The client offered me the opportunity to keep a taste of each in 2 glasses for myself, which I did without using the wine aeration process offered by the WineWeaver. After 3 hours the Margaux had taken a complete step toward “grandeur”. Which, on reflection, made me think that I could have almost have repeated the WineWeaver wine aeration operation twice in the first pouring for the clients! Needless to say, this is not true of all wines but, as I mentioned above, this is the true fascination of wine- each one is an individual carrying its own message to you.