The Sommelier's Table at The Connaught is a very special place: it has been created for people who understand top quality but who don't need or desire pretense. It therefore provided the perfect setting for an introduction to Domaine Prieuré Roch's amazing wines. I have been lucky enough to get to know the Domaine's more high profile 'cousin' in the form of Domaine de la Romanée - Conti and have heard much of Henry-Frédéric Roch's own, personal estate in Nuits St Georges. I was in for a treat.
We started the evening with a glass of the stunning Hautes Cotes de Nuits Chardonnay 'Manon' from Yann Durieux - the maverick, young winemaking genius and protege of Henry-Frédéric Roch. He is undoubtedly the one to watch right now but his production is currently so limited that we will have to wait a while. It was a beautiful wine and a welcome re-introducton to natural winemaking. Its purity and alertness was disconcerting; had we been tasting it blind, we agreed we would have taken it for a serious chablis. As I say, one to watch.
The DPR Pinoterie was the first wine to be served from the Domaine - it is made from loose berries which are not used in their 'whole bunch' vinification method. and the wine was quick to start singing for its supper - a fantastic combination of salt cod, Iberico ham and agnolotti with tuscan beans. The wine's cloudiness got everyone discussing natural wines over organic and biodynamic wines. In short, these are the result of the most extreme form of non-intervention; the wines in the glass are as close to nature as the winemaker is able to get. The cloudiness of the wine and the slightly reluctant nose are two initial observations which the traditional Fine Wine drinker may have difficulties adjusting to. The upsides, however, are intense purity, vivaciousness and an exuberance that, for certain wines last night, left the table speechless.
The 2000 DPR Clos de Beze was, for me, the star of the show. Served with an unbelievable course of lobster, poached in tandoori spices (a brave combination perhaps) this wine danced in the glass. It was completely ageless, with great fruit, weight and an incredible elegance. The wines got progressively more weighty as the night went on, showing the outstanding variety of wines being delivered by Yannick Champ (Head winemaker); his wines are so refreshingly individual but all carry his hallmark of finesse and the attraction of a naturally beautiful, younger cousin who waits quietly to reward those who make the effort to go and introduce themselves.
Below is the evening's full menu with accompanying wines, brilliantly crafted by Hélène Darroze and Hugues Lepin, Head Sommelier at The Connaught.
Peas, creamy velouté, bay leaf cappuccino,spring vegetables “à la française”, “Stracciatella” di Buffala cream, crispy/fondant lardons of “Pie Noir” pork belly from Basque country
2010 Hautes Cotes de Nuits Chardonnay 'Manon,' Yann Durieux
Coco bean from Pigna, agnolotti with Tuscan pecorino and rosemary, confit salted cod from Bilbao in olive oil, Iberico lomo, Bigorre ham jus, Parmigiano-Reggiano emulsion
2010 Bourgogne Rouge, Pinoterie, Domaine Prieuré Roch
Caviar from France, roasted duck foie gras from les Landes, granny smith and Royal Gala apples, nori seaweed, oyster emulsion
2001 Clos Vougeot, Domaine Prieuré Roch
Blue lobster, poached in Tandoori spices, carrot and confit citrus mousseline, spring onion reduction with Lampong pepper and fresh coriander
2000 Clos De Beze, Domaine Prieuré Roch
"Black cod" from Alaska, roasted pavé “à la nacre” with Espelette pepper, white beans from Pigna fricassée with chorizo, calamari and vongole, reduced bone jus with lemon, confit tomatoes and taggiasca olives
2009 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Clos des Argillieres” Domaine Prieuré Roch
Tomato heirloom, Stuffed with confit meat, braised slowly, girolles and broad beans glazed with chicken jus
1996 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Clos des Corvées” Domaine Prieuré Roch
Almond flavoured panna cotta, apricot compote, thin almond nougatine leaf
1949 Chateau D’Yquem
Have you ever experienced Domaine Prieuré Roch? We would be delighted to answer any questions or comments you might have.
These wines are exclusively available for sale through Wine Source Group. Tel 0203 036 0255