An invitation to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Patriarche Wine Agencies (the UK division of this famous Beaune producer) in London last week was too tempting for Nigel to resist. We were offered dinner at Geales Restaurant in Chelsea where we were served some very upmarket fish and chips with a selection of the current Patriarche wines. On arrival some really classy de Castelnau Champagne 1985 from Magnums showed a teasy, nervy edge, great depth and complexity. I don’t really enjoy Champagne but I can sure be objective enough to appreciate its finer points. Also on show was an interesting selection of library wines from the cellars in Beaune, again in magnums and all from the 1981 vintage. A couple of Grand Cru Cortons were starting to show their age a bit but star of the selection was definitely a Pommard Clos des Epenots. Some interesting characters from the wine trade were there and it was good to catch up with old Walter Hick’s adversary Xenia Irwin MW now happily ensconced as wine buyer for Spar.