NEW YORK - Nothing could be more welcome in November than a glittering array of wines to warm the most autumnal of days. On 15 November in New York, a magnificent selection from the great cellar of James H. Clark will be offered to all those who crave a vinous fix as the nights draw in. And this is the ultimate collection of wines for those who want instant gratification, as every bottle can be drunk from now. Brilliant buying over decades has resulted in a fabulous range of mature wines that have all but disappeared from the market.
This part of the James H. Clark cellar majors on the stars of Italy and the Rhône valley, these glorious reds that go with all the satisfying dishes we like to eat at this time of year. The kings of Piedmont and Tuscany are all here, in breathtaking depth and vintage variety. I do not think I have ever seen six decades of Gaja’s Piemontese gems in one sale, with the intoxicating possibility of comparing Sorì San Lorenzo with Sorì Tildin and Costa Russi, while Barolo Sperss is all liquorice, tar and black cherry. Then there are the extraordinary Barolos and Barbarescos of Bruno Giacosa, Nebbiolo grape royalty, and the illustrious Barolos of Giacomo Conterno, Aldo Conterno and Luciano Sandrone. The impressive, velvety generosity of these wines is made to go with turkey at Thanksgiving, goose at Christmas and white truffles whenever they come to hand. Could it be coincidence that this stunning Italian collection becomes available in a particularly fine year for ‘tartufi?’
The monumental Northern Rhône reds, witnesses to the splendour of the Syrah grape, come from Chave, Guigal and Paul Jaboulet Aîné’s Hermitage La Chapelle. How often have we said, we adore these wines but we wish we could wait until they are more mature? Well, here they are, at their peak. Then, there are the top Châteauneufs from Beaucastel, Henri Bonneau, Rayas and Pégau. Don’t forget that the Rhône valley also produces truffles, aromatic black ones, but I am not giving away any of my ‘secret’ addresses!
Vega Sicilia and Penfolds Grange round off the reds, so why not try some Tasmanian truffles this time – I have, and they are terrific.
Such stupendous red wines need to be ‘introduced’ at a dinner by great whites, so what could be better than the remarkable round up of White Burgundies in this collection. Montrachet from DRC kicks off, followed by legendary wines from Coche Dury, Leflaive and Ramonet, plus Montrachets from Drouhin, Jadot, Lafon, Louis Latour et al. As a postscript, there are unrivalled Chablis crus from Raveneau, my big treat when there is something to celebrate at home.
Regal, opulent Yquem is the only way to anchor this feast. There are even half-bottles of this nectar, the perfect, portable present for any wine lover.