We have been arranging our annual Autumn Rare Wine Event at the fabulous Hotel Kronenschlösschen for many years. This is a wonderful setting with spectacular food and perfect and friendly service. You can rest assured that we will continue to hold regular wine events here.
We were served a 6-course dinner accompanied with three wines for each course.
Steven Spurrier was one of our guests at this event and he has kindly allowed us to publish his notes:
The noble “Landhotel” Kronenschlosschen on the banks of the river Rhine at Eltville-Hattenheim is prized by food and wine lovers for its superb cuisine and incredibly deep and varied wine list and revered for hosting the Rheingau Goumet & Wein Festival, the 21st version of which takes place with 24 chefs and 16 wine producers from 23rd February to 12th March. While Herr H.B. Ullrich, the hotel’s owner, is the host of this annual event, he was a guest in his own house of Jan-Erik Paulson, Swedish-born and German resident owner of Paulson Rare Wine, a continuously re-filled treasure trove of mature bottles purchased through a web of contacts built up from deep knowledge and constant research. In a spirit of generosity which is so admirable in those with fine cellars, he had planned a weekend at the end of October to share a few dozen bottles and had sent me an immediately accepted invitation to take part. Here are the wines we savoured and the dishes that accompanied them:
Dinner Saturday 29th October – Rare Wines from Jan-Erik Paulson’s Cellar.
Aperitif – Champagne Chartogne-Taillet ‘Les Orizeaux” 2010.
Flight One – Terrine of Gooseliver with pear and hazelnuts.
1949 Ch. Bastor-Lamontagne Barsac – Pale amber-gold, fully sweet and full of energy, richness and length, totally balanced, perfect example.
1934 Ch. Filhot Sauternes – Amber gold, really beautifully expressed, acidity coming to the fore, but still sweet, pure and elegant, very fine.
1891 Ch. Coutet Barsac – Red amber, the colour of a 40 year old Tawny Port, rich waxy nose, vibrant fruit but also vibrant acidity which takes over after a fleeting impression of sweetness, strikingly fresh for 125 years old.
The Bastor-Lamontagne took 8 votes to Filhot’s 6.
Flight Two – Raw marinated fford trout, avocado, miso, chanterelle mushrooms.
1990 Riesling Brand Domaine Zind-Humbrecht – Quite advanced pale amber colour, rather burnt caramel nose but Riesling comes back on the palate as does freshness to match the broad richness. 93/100. To 2020.
1990 Le Montrachet Louis Latour – Full gold, baked apple nose and full maturity on the palate, has weight but the fruit has not held up. 88/100.
1990 Gruner Veltlner Vinothek-Fullung Weingut Emmerich Knoll. – Fine lemon yellow, floral white and yellow summer fruits nose, superbly expressed and lifted palate, still young, a very fine blend of power and elegance. 98/100. To 2030. (It was this wine that came top in a mid 1990s London tasting alongside international Chardonnays organised by Jan-Erik Paulson which opened the world’s eyes to Gruner Veltliner). This wine took majority votes.
Flight Three – Veal with marinated vegetables.
1953 Ch. Palmer Margaux– lovely colour, rose petal bouquet and taffeta texture, a wine of great purity with some weight, presence and natural ripeness. 95/100.
1953 Ch. Haut-Brion Graves – Bright red, clear and clean and youthful, all the wild roses of Haut-Brion on the nose and firm delicacy of fruit on the palate, pure harmony. 99/100.
1953 Ch. Lafite-Rothschild Pauillac – Richest colour of the three, surprisingly robust for 1953 with touches of iodine and iron, but opens up well at the end. 92/100.
All 14 votes went to the Haut-Brion, declared later the wine of the evening.
Flight Four – Shoulder of Beef, celery and plums.
1949 Charmes-Chammbertin Doudet-Naudin – young colour and good smooth flavour with strong hints of wine from further south to add richness. 89/100.
1937 Clos des Lambrays Morey-Saint-Denis – Superbly young colour and full of energy, purity and depth, the tannins will take over, but very fine now. 94/100.
1926 Nuits-Saint-Georges (German bottling in a Bordeaux bottle) – fine ripe red, no real age, lovely fragrant nose with natural sweetness and balancing acidity, the flavours still vigourous at 90 years old. 94/100.
Votes were split equally between the last two.
Flight Five – Pigeon Breast and Leg, mushrooms and pommes dauphinoise.
1970 Ch. La Mission Haut-Brion Graves – Rather murky red, slight lack of clarity , some ripeness but also volatile acidity which dominates. 86/100.
1970 Ch. Latour Pauillac – Dense young red, lots of grip on the palate, very young, not yet fully open yet recognisably grand and recognisably Latour, reckoned to be the best wine of that year. 97/100.
1970 Ch. Cheval-Blanc Saint-Emilion (magnum) – Rich, young and smooth colour, lovely rich texture and still full of black fruits and energy, a classic Cheval Blanc with a fine, always seductive future. 95/100.
The Latour received 10 votes with 4 to Cheval Blanc.
Flight Six – Assortment of local cheeses.
1997 Taylor’s Vintage Port – Dense colour, no age at all, fully rich and spicy but still a bit raw and tannic, a great Port which needs another 10 years. 94/100.
1963 Taylor’ Vintage Port – Still youthful red, lots of spice and energy, still floral with wild violets, harmoniously smooth with finesse and natural strength. 96/100.
1948 Taylor’s Vintage Port (bottled by Christie, Manson and Wood) – mid red, slightly cloudy but lovely sweet fruit, chocolate-y with lifted acidity, quite delicious. 97/100.
Votes were 2 for 1997, 5 for 1963, 7 for 1948.
Before we broke up a vote was taken for the wine of the weekend. Three guests chose Cos d’Estournel 1928, five chose Haut-Brion 1953 and seven chose Weil’s Kiedrich Gräfenberg Riesling Auslese 1921. Perhaps the Hotel Kronenschlosschen will see such wines again, but I know I will not.
Below are my personal notes:
Course 1: Terrine von der Gänsestopfleber / Birne / Haselnuss. Topic: Mature Sauternes.
1891 Château Coutet - still remarkably fresh. Most sweetness have disappeared so it resembled a dry version of a Sauternes.
1934 Château Filhot - very good with fine fruit on nose and palate.
1949 Château Bastor La Montagne - a vewry stylish Sauternes from a rather unknown property. My favourite in this flight.
Course 2: Roh marinierte Fjord Forelle / Avocado / Miso / Herbsttrompeten. Topic: 3 grape varieties from 1990.
1990 Riesling Brand, Zind Humbrecht - quite a bit of residual sugar making it a touch heavy.
1990 Montrachet von Louis Latour - good with a touch of toffee.
1990 Grüner Veltliner Vinothek Füllung von Emmerich Knoll - this is the wine that came out top in the "London Tasting" 2002. It is still a very impressive wine. Powerful but still stylish and with a long finish. One of the best dry white wines I ever had.
Course 3: Kalb / eingeletes Gemüse. Topic: 1953 Bordeaux.
1953 Château Haut Brion - classic Haut Brion nose. Tobacco and coffee. Very stylish, very Haut Brion and very 1953. An absolutely lovely wine! My favourite of the flight.
1953 Château Lafite Rothschild - not quite as pure as it can be. Lovely sweet fruit and still full of charm.
1953 Château Palmer - a wonderful nose of mulberries. Beautiful sweet fruit. So fresh. Fabulous
These were all three very good examples of one of my favourite vintages. So much charm and perfect balance.
Course 4: Schulter vom Rind / Sellerie / Pflaume. Topic: Mature Burgundy.
1926 Nuits St. Georges - still fresh with sweet fruit.
1937 Clos des Lambrays - deep colour. Very good fruit. Classy. Reserves still. My favourite in this flight.
1949 Charmes Chambertin - dirty nose. Quite tarty sweetness.
Unknown vintage Louis Jadot - a fascinating nose of chocolate and coffee. Quite powerful and alive.
Course 5: Taubenbrüstchen - und Keule / Kräutersaitlinge / Dauphinekartoffeln. Topic: 1970 Bordeaux.
1970 Château La Mission Haut Brion - very good sweet fruit. Touch volatile.
1970 Château Latour - deep colour. Majestic concentration. My favourite in this flight.
1970 Château Cheval Blanc, Magnum - typical Cheval Blanc. Sexy and attractive.
Course 6: Käseauswahl vom Rheingauer Affineur. Topic Taylor's Vintage Port.
1948 Taylor’s Vintage Port - amazing. Chocolatey. Very, very good. My favourite in this flight.
1963 Taylor’s Vintage Port - now fully mature. Very good.
1997 Taylor’s Vintage Port - a bit closed at the moment. I remember it showing fabulous fruit a few years ago.