My father was in the Royal Navy and the extent of his drinking was one glass of Pusser’s Rum before bedtime each night. My mother’s drinking stretched to a glass of Piesporter if we ever happened to find ourselves in a restaurant, and perhaps two glasses of Croft’s Original on Christmas morning.
So my becoming a wine drinker would require something out of the ordinary, which was provided by my school English teacher, Clive.
Clive was short, squat (his tailor had to add a triangle of fabric to each side of all of his jackets), loaded (having inherited a scrap metal business and sold it), a smoker of 40-50 Sullivan Powell a day, and a rebel.
Not everyone gets the opportunity to do a fully tutored wine tasting as part of their school’s extra-curricular activities but Clive happened to be a very good customer of a wine merchants called Reid Wines (they still exist but don’t have a website or I would put a link in) and somehow managed to persuade the proprietor of Reid’s, Mr Bill Baker, to come to the school and do not one, but two separate tutored tastings for the older pupils.
The two wines which I can still remember extremely clearly are the Côte-Rôtie, which has caused me to expend ever increasing sums on red Rhone wines ever since, and the Krug.
Champagne has been considerably more problematic for me than Rhone wines.
Basically, this bottle is still the best Champagne that I’ve ever drunk. I can cannot forget the taste of Rich Tea biscuits, which I’ve never come across to the same extent since. It was utterly splendid. Unfortunately, starting so high on the Champagne tree has had the negative effect on me because I’ve never been able to beat that small glass of brownish bubbly.
In this one pupil, at least, Mr Baker made a convert.
So, thank you to my old English teacher, Clive, for buying so many of Mr Baker’s wines (and for the many bottles of 1970 Mouton Rothschild and Angelus that you treated me to at dinner over the years). And a particular thank you to Mr Baker for making such an effort, and for choosing your wines so carefully for us mere teenagers.
Rest in peace, Both.
To reproduce tastings of this quality now would be extremely expensive, given the relative rise in prices of some of the wines we tasted, but I shall take a shot at it here.
Krug Brut Champagne
The difficult one.
We have several bottles available so much depends on your price point, but none of this is cheap any more. 1985 Krug Brut Champagne £1467 per bottle.
The will offer you the ultimate vintage champagne experience. Mrs Robinson was very impressed when she tasted it just a few years ago. 1995 Krug Brut Champagne £333 per bottle
The 1995 vintage Krug is not as highly rated but, at a quarter of the price, and a touch younger offers a more affordable price point. A rich, creamy champagne with a good amount of acidity still left.