On Wednesday 22 September I went to my local curry house Hot Stuff with my mates Paul Raymonde, Angela Raymonde Cutler and Andrea Talkenberg. I suppose I should be flattered that these West London residents are prepared to come Sarf of the River for dinner. They bring their passports, just to be sure.
Before dinner we had a bottle of 1985 Veuve Clicquot – not just any bottle, mind. This was a souvenir from a tasting in June 2009 of late-disgorged Champagnes in which all the wines had been disgorged on the same day (I forget when exactly – March or April 2009, I think). So this 1985 VC was completely one of (or rather two of) a kind. It was disgorged to order and is commercially unavailable.
I am not a great fan of Champagne – too acidic, too leesy and too expensive. But I can force it down. I was not as keen on the Clicquot as I was the Henriot 1985 (from the same tasting) that I shared with Paul and Angela earlier this year. That was really good – soft and mature. The Clicquot smelled of caramel and retained its exulcerating acidity. The colour was nice, though – amber, like the setting sun.
Hot Stuff is unlicensed and does not charge corkage so I can take my own wine. Indeed, I am notorious for taking a lot of bottles with me – I was asked by Raj, the charming owner and host, if 12 glasses would be enough for us this evening.
We drank 2008 St Hallett Gamekeeper’s Reserve, which is a a favourite of mine – my house red, I suppose. I like to chill it to emphasise the fun fruit and juicy acidity. It works really well with the food at Hot Stuff, which tonight was protein-free because Paul is in a persistent vegetative state.
The white wine was 2009 Sainbury’s Taste the Difference Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, made by Errázuriz from Casablanca fruit. It disappeared very quickly, hence Paul’s slightly vexed look. I look smug because I have visited St Hallett and Errázuriz – been there, drunk the wine and not bought the T-shirt.
As the drink and food went down, Angela and Andrea began to gossip in German (Andrea is from Hamburg and Angela is half-German – the bottom half, I think). Sie sind sehr ungezogen, meine lieblinge!