1995 Bordeaux @La Veranda Crowne Plaza
I recently had a lovely dinner at Crowne Plaza’s restaurant La Veranda. The restaurant is already refurbished for some time and it has a new positive, luxury and youthful look. There is also a section called The vineyard, somehow separated from the rest of the restaurant, that is absolutely gorgeous to host wine-dinners or wine related events because it is private, cozy and has a special cellar-like construction in the middle of it filled with fine wines.
I had a 7 courses dinner and had the chance to try two interesting older wines from Bordeaux. Both are coming from the same 1995 vintage and both have a welcoming 12.5% alcohol level: something very rare these days unfortunately.
The dishes as they appeared on the table were:
With Baby greens and avocado
This was an amazing dish that I absolutely loved. The sesame seeds inside do miracles. Definitely a mandatory dish when you visit La Veranda if you are into fish tartar. It actually went very well with the red wine also, and it emphasized a new dimension: earthier that I could not feel separately into the wine.
Prosciutto Crudo, Spek, Coppa, Chorizo with Pickles and country bread
While this is a classic appetizer dish, the richness of the prosciutto completely covers the gentle aromas of an older wine.
Duck Consomme, with Foie gras Ravioli
This is more of a palate cleanser than a match for any wine. Tasty nevertheless.
Pancetta wrapped Atlantic Cod, Corn and Mushrooms, veal jus vinaigrette
Very interesting and tasty dish: there is sweetness from the corn, earthiness from the mushrooms, the fish and the pancetta are happily mixed and the veal juice-vinaigrette gives good richness overall. One of my favorite dishes after the tartar. Went really well with the red wine.
Beef Mignon, with potato puree, foie gras Ravioli, wax beans and veal reduction
The beef is good, a bit too salty tonight, but goes well with the green beans. The veal reduction is delicious. A classic dish to easily match an old Bordeaux wine.
Quince and Plum crumble, with Vanilla Ice-cream
My favorite dessert of the dinner, and by far one of the best desserts I had in a long time. The top is warm and crunchy, while underneath there is pulp of quince and plum, sweet but also a little bit sour. This dish is the perfect dessert for any old Sauternes wine. I simply loved it.
Warm Chocolate Brownie with vanilla Ice cream and berries
Also a very tasty desert, with house made ice-cream just like the other desert had on top. I am more of tart with fruits fan than a chocolate one. Chocolate lovers could fancy this dish more than me.
Assortment of International Cheeses with Beetroot Jam
For drinking we had a 1995 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte from Pessac-Leognan and a 1995 Chateau Saint-Pierre from Saint-Julien. 1995 was the first good vintage after a line-up of four poor vintages(1991-1994) in Bordeaux. However some pleasant surprises were produced even in those lesser vintages. How are the 1995 wines today ?
1995 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Leognan
This wine was uncorked 2 h in advance and from the beginning it had a musty, vinegar like smell. Unfortunately, not even after 3-4 h of aeration in the decanter the wine did not fully lose this unusual smell. There were some discreet aromas of red fruits and tobacco on the nose and similar flavors on the palate, but the finish was short and abrupt. Usually a sign of being corked. It is unfair to judge this wine based on this particular bottle therefore: Not Rated. Such a pity.
I actually visited this property in June 2011 during my trip to Vinexpo in Bordeaux. The domain has seen a great increase in quality over the last decade. More on my visit at Chateau St-Pierre in Saint-Julien can be read here.
1995 Chateau Saint-Pierre Saint-Julien
Youthful red garnet color and absolutely no signs of aging. Well developed nose, still youthful, no tertiary aromas yet, very Cab Sauv like aromas, smoky, with plenty of bright red fruits, dry herbs and green vegetables, plums, mint and tobacco. Charming nose, quite ethereal.
Velvety mouth-feel, medium bodied, ripe tannins, well balanced and complete. Sumptuous plum and blackberry fruit on the palate. Medium plus finish with a welcoming light tannic bite that highlights the further aging potential, with flavors of coffee, graphite and cocoa in the aftertaste. Youthful, fresh and intense. I could drink this all day. (90-91/100)
A complete culinary experience spiced up by older Bordeaux wine.