For the aperitif I had intended to have Domaine Huet’s 1999 Pétillant but on discovering that there was only one bottle left, we had Jacky Blot’s Triple Zero instead, which naturally was no hardship.
The salad of foie gras de canard as the first course presented some problems. Initially I considered a sweet wine – something from the Layon or l’Aubance. However, I rejected this option as the foie gras was part of a salad and not being served alone. Chidaine’s Les Tuffeaux would, I suspect been ideal but we’d already opened that, so I selected Mark Angeli’s 1998 Vieilles Vignes des Blanderies. However on opening it, delicious as it was and would prove to be a couple of days later as an aperitif, I wasn’t convinced that its oxidative style would be the best match with the foie gras salad, so instead opted for a bottle of 1998 Les Cormiers Château de Villeneuve that had both the weight and vivacity to be complemented by the salad. 1998 was the least good Loire vintage, especially for reds, of the second half of the 1990s. However, both Mark Angeli's and Jean-Pierre Chevallier's 1998s showed well and both could be kept for a severalo years more.
We finished with a 1960 Vintage Port from Croft, which on Christmas Day was quite spirity but when finished off on 27th had mellowed with the spirit properly integrated. Interesting that, despite the diversity of Loire wines, there has never been a tradition of fortifying them. Fortified wines I guess tend to come from hotter climes, producing more potential alcohol and therefore better adapted to stopping the fermentation, as in Port and Vins Doux Naturels.