Dinner at Joseph’s
I attended a private dinner this week with a relatively small group of friends at one of Bucharest’s best restaurants owned by Joseph Hadad. It was a an event well prepared in advance with a clear list of wines selected by me and the food pairing selected by a friend. As a first time visit to this restaurant the food was excellent and the pairing happily chosen. Food is really at the highest level. There were 7 wines proposed initially but we ended up with 11 eventually.
Champagne Billercart-Salmon Brut Reserve NV was offered as a welcome drink. I like the soft notes of citrus fruit, yeast, its rich and lively palate. (91/100)
First course: Semi-row salmon sashimi, shiitake mushrooms wrapped in seaweed tempura, ginger vinaigrette, coriander, tapioca, mango and maple syrup was a match for 2012 Von Winning Kalkofen GG. The wine has a sweet exotic nose of high intensity, where peach, apricot, pear and pineapple mingle together with discreet shades of kerosene. Lively and dry on the palate, its racy acidity suggests a bit of patience until next bottle will be open. Very intense and refreshing. (92/100)
Sauted Saint Jacques scallops, celery mousse flavored with truffle oil, tomato tartar, chives, smoked duck breast were served next to a great Pinot Noir: 2012 Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru. This is a 7-8 ha Grand Cru monopole owned since 2013 by the famous LVMH group so prices are expected to soar. There is a 60 m altitude difference between the start and the end of this vineyard so there are significant differences between the style of each parcel of vines, differences that actually build the complexity in this wine. The nose is developed and intense, but there is so much elegance and class in it. Fresh raspberry and cherry fruit, tea leaves and subdued undergrowth all make a profound nose. Silky smooth on the palate, with rich red fruit, coffee and savoury palate, there is depth and elegance. Very long finish that lingers. For me it was the wine of the night (95/100). Scallops actually enhanced the fruitiness and somehow gave it even more depth and complexity.
We also tasted an interesting Pinot Noir from Dao, Portugal, a pure un-oaked and unfiltered wine: Quinta de Bella – Dom Bella Pinot Noir 2012 that shows a warmer profile due to its origin, dominated by ripe cherry and sour cherry fruit.
From there on my menu was slightly different than the others as I chose to replace all meat with different fish.
Three wines were served with the next dish. 2011 Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile that stays true to its provenance and welcomes you with the unmistakable aromas of very ripe black fruit and mint into a very forward style (87- 88/100). It was an abrupt fell from the heavenly Clos des Lambrays.
2012 Quinta do Vale Meao was served initially a bit too warm. There is exuberance of ripe fruit and cream on the nose with shades of hot stones and tar, chocolate flakes, beef blood and rum. It is rich and lush on the palate with layers and layers of ripe fruits but well balanced by smooth tannins and acidity. Medium to long bitter-sweet dark chocolate and black fruit liqueur finish. (91-92/100)
Then came the favorite wine for a big portion of the participants: 2008 Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou from a classic vintage. There is sheer class in this wine. Its color is red garnet and opaque. It is not very expressive on the nose for the moment, but you could recognize its Cabernet typicality. There is cassis, paprika, black currant leaf and coffee bean that shine the most today. Full and well structured on the palate, it is a massive wine. Its fine-grained tannins, its rich texture all point to a great evolution in time. Really good. (94/100)
2004 Elio Grasso Barolo ‘Ginestra Casa Mate’ came for me with a dish based on sea bass, eggplant and nuts and it worked very well. There is a lot of pleasure drinking this wine today, however it has a long life ahead. Very pure ripe cherry fruit, dry rose petals, tar and mushrooms are just some of the aromas found in the complex profile. There are firm but smooth tannins with enough fruit and texture to make it a highly pleasurable experience. (92/100)
2000 Domaine de la Mordoree ‘Cuvee de la Reine des Bois’ Chateauneuf du pape is a maturing wine today. The nose and the palate combine successfully pure sweet red Grenache fruit and spices with tertiary aromas of bacon fat, cured meat and truffles. It is intense and complex, with silky smooth tannins, savoury red fruits and spices, Provencal herbs, fresh, but it feels like it is at its peak. Long finish. (93/100)
1998 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du pape was unfortunately corked beyond any chance of revival. Such a pity as I had high expectations to be the wine of the night.
Desserts were quite spectacular and were paired with a Martha’s Porto – Tawny 20 years.
Last but not least there was a bottle of 2007 Chateau Musar rouge with its bretty and gamey aromas, wild red fruits and leather. Firm and structured, with grippy tannins and spicy cherry fruit. (90/100)