I’d been saving these for a special occassion: Penfolds Koonunga Hill Autumn Riesling 72, and Heidsieck Monopole Gold Top Vintage 2002.
The riesling I’d purchased when I was in Adelaide in 2008. I ducked out of an afternoon conference session and took the bus to Penfolds’ Magill Estate cellar door. The Magill Estate is the original Penfolds location, and home to the Grange cottage after which their most famous wine is named. As it was a Monday afternoon in early December, I was the only person on the tour, so it felt like a private vineyard and winery tour! I bought a couple of bottles and smuggled them back in my suitcase, and had been looking for an opportunity to open the Koonunga Hill Autumn Riesling. The 72 in the wine’s name is a little misleading – it was actually a 2008 vintage, but the packaging and style were designed to reflect the original 1972 vintage. The tasting notes tell me that November 2011 was perhaps past the optimum occassion for this particular wine, but I still thought it excellent – not overly sweet, deliciously lightly citrus-tasting, and a pale straw colour.
The champagne had a much less arduous journey, not having been smuggled in a suitcase! It dates from my time as the Chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association, and was an extra bottle of the stuff I’d bought for the garden party. It was the 2002 vintage, and, if memory serves, it cost around £12 a bottle and – to be honest – would be worth twice that. I’ve never been great at giving tasting notes for champagne, but I certainly enjoyed this. It was pleasing enough to drink on its own, but I imagine could have equally been enjoyed with food.
And the special occassion? She said yes…