Leaving Mexico city behind, I now find myself on the way to my client's ranch, where a traditional Mexican lunch is on the menu. Driving out of the city, you cannot help but stop to contemplate the surroundings. At 7000 feet above sea level, Mexico city has 21 million inhabitants, one of the largest cities in the world. Maybe here more than anywhere else, I realize the surreality of the journey. Avoiding the potholes, and speeding through less than recommendable towns, I already anticipate the final destination, as I know from past experiences of this client, what awaits me will be a grand spectacle, worthy to be noted as one of the most beautiful places in the world. Yet again, this experience did not disappoint.
Seated by the lakeside in an english garden, while the family and I enjoy a bottle of 1990 Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache, I must admit I have one of the best jobs I could imagine. Aside from the gorgeous locations I am fortunate to visit, the fine wines I am obliged to enjoy, it really is the people I share my time with that make these moments special. Clients become friends, and just to be able to share a meal with such interesting men and women, makes my work a real pleasure. We enjoyed La Tache accompanied with tacos and guacamole, and even though the depth of the concentrated fruit was impressive, black cherries and black currant rather than red fruits, even the slightly spicy guacamole didn't overpower the taste of this great wine. The aroma was difficult to detect as it got lost with the scents of the garden, but the colour was a deep concentrated purple, a still solid colour for a 20 year old wine.
Moving on to lunch, one of my worst nightmares. My client hands me his cellar book and asks me to choose the wine for lunch, a traditional menu of steamed lamb, roast pork and fajitas. I always feel in a really difficult position wanting to remain polite and modest, but what exactly is modest for a client who drinks Chateau Petrus every day? My solution is usually to suggest a vintage and leave it to my host to choose the wine from that vintage. Having agreed on a 1990 Burgundy to start, I suggested that Pomerol from the 70's was especially delicious now, so my host decided on Chateau Petrus 1975 from Magnum. Served carefully but directly from the bottle without decanting, the tannins had incorporated themselves to form the skeleton of the wine, with prune sitting on the robust structure. I was pleasantly surprised, the colour was a deep mahogany having lost all purple traces, perfect balance in the mouth, a very long finish, and absolute purity. This Magnum of Chateau Petrus could have lasted another 20 years easily.
The lunch was served in the wine cellar, which can accommodate about 20 diners. I have worked with this client for the past 5 years, and first visited the ranch 3 years ago. At the time, the cellar was no bigger than 50 square meters, but now, we have expanded it to 250 square meters, a duplex cellar with one floor underground and the other at ground level. The main entrance is on the ground floor, but of course no daylight ever shines through the heavy door. The rustic stone and wrought iron racking create a truly authentic atmosphere, adapting to the beautiful mexican surroundings.
Sitting under a blue sky, no smog anywhere and 21 degrees in the early spring sunshine, a glass of Domaine de la Romanee Conti in my hand, I realize I really do have the best job in the world.