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Grand Tasting Dinner

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Last TUE evening on May 5th I attended a special dinner at Le Bistrot Francais near Ateneu organized for 10 people that included some fancy wines paired with a tasting food menu. Each wine was matched with a dish meant to enhance the overall culinary experience.

The tasting food menu was: Cinco Jotas Jamon Iberico de Bellota 36 months aged, Special Oysters Daniel Sorlut No1 and La Perle Blanche No 3, Fish carpaccio, lime flakes, crispy chickpeas sticks with rosemary, Braised sea bass, mashed potatoes with olive oil, truffles sauce, “Crispy-fondant” pork belly, ravigote sauce, crispy vegetables, potatoes puree, Wagyu entrecote, potatoes puree à la Joël Robuchon, Exotic fruits, coconut sorbet, meringue, Dried plums ice cream with Armagnac.

The food was again top as my last visit here, my favorites were the Special Oysters Daniel Sorlut No1, Braised sea bass, mashed potatoes with olive oil, truffles sauce and “Crispy-fondant” pork belly, ravigote sauce, crispy vegetables, potatoes puree.

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Champagne Duval-Leroy Authentis Cumieres Brut 2003 is made from 100% Pinot Noir de Cumieres (Premier Cru), organically grown grapes and aged in fut de chene. The color is a light amber so there is a clear oxidative character to this wine that hits you the moment you smell the glass: quite intense aromas of apple cider, caramel-toffee, nuts, brioche and dry citrus fruits. There is intensity and tension on the palate but the 2003 hot vintage shows its mark by a lower acidity. Quite an opulent style and this is an acquired taste Champagne that divides opinions. For me a bit too oxidative. (88/100)

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Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc 2009 was served next to oysters and its intense smoky nose seemed to be a good choice. The color is deep gold. Very intense and opulent nose as the palate, with strong aromas of smoked vanilla, tropical fruits and peach, vibrant fruit on the palate but again it feels the medium to low acidity starts to lose the balance with the lush sweet fruit. Long finish, elegant and complex wine. (93-94/100)

IMG_20150505_203534Fish carpaccio, lime flakes, crispy chickpeas sticks with rosemary

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2009 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Clos de la Garenne” was a refreshing Chardonnay, its aromas jump from the glass. An initial flinty character gradually leaves room for aromas of fresh citrus, apricots and wet stones. There is intensity on the palate, with lively citrus fruit and flint and overall great freshness. Long finish. (93/100) Pairing with fish carpaccio was a happy choice.

IMG_20150505_205657Braised sea bass, mashed potatoes with olive oil, truffles sauce

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Domaine Abbatucci Cuvée du Général Jean Charles Abbatucci 2012 from Corse is a blend of 6 grapes: 25% Carcajolu Biancu, 25% Paga Debbiti, 20% Riminese, 15% Rossola Brandica, 10% Biancone, 5% Vermentinu, aged in 600 L demi-muids and is labelled as Vin de Table. Quite a pricey Vin de Table as it averages around 100 Eur. The color is medium yellow gold. The first nose when the wine was the coldest reminds of a German Grosses Gewachs Riesling due to its petrol-kerosene nose. However, when the wine warms up in the glass it gets a Southern France – Chateauneuf du pape blanc profile, with intense dry yellow fruits, dry apricots and Asian spices: turmeric aroma is really strong. The palate is rich and heady, the same dry fruits are sustained by medium acidity and as it getter warmer starts to lose a bit of balance. A heady and opulent white wine. (90/100)

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Chateau La Grande Clotte 2002 made by Michel Rolland was not on the initial wine list and was a spontaneous offer from the host. The color is amber and the wine shows strong signs of being too old. The same apple cider aroma as the Champagne but more intense and overwhelming. There is bright acidity on the palate but you have to be generous to enjoy it now. Probably a strong cheese pairing as was suggested at the table would put this wine on a better spot.

IMG_20150505_213537“Crispy-fondant” pork belly, ravigote sauce, crispy vegetables, potatoes puree

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Pork would probably not be my first choice to pair with a Pinot Noir but tonight’s pairing was a brilliant unexpected surprise. Hospices de Beaune Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru ‘Cuvee Madeleine Collignon’ from Joseph Drouhin has a medium ruby red color. It has a refreshing, elegant and complex nose that includes fresh raspberries, red cherries, sous-bois and potpourri in its aromatic profile. Medium to full body, with sappy tannins and a savoury sweet and bright cherry fruit on the palate, and a medium to long fresh finish that leaves a flavorful  black tea aftertaste. (92-93/100)

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Another spontaneous offer from the host. Made by Michel Rolland and named after his niece from one of his properties in Argentina in a very limited amount: only 600 bottles made, pure Malbec from a very high altitude, over 2000 m, that was offered for sale at around $3000 – at least this was the story version offered by the generous host. Mariflor Camille 2007 has a deep red garnet purple and opaque color. There is high intensity of aromas, the rich and profound nose shows plenty of sweet blackberry and mulberry essence, bacon fat, spices, rich dark chocolate. Opulent and lush on the palate but still fresh and elegant, with powerful tannins, layers of sweet black berries and dark chocolate, with a long and lingering finish, refreshing sweet tannins that stick to your gums. Very expressive even if it was open on a short notice. (93-94/100)

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Chateau Margaux 2001 is an event wine by itself and does not need further introduction. Deep red garnet color. It was open 3 h in advance. Rich, elegant, intense and complex wine. Strong aromas of smoked paprika, cassis, pencil shavings on the nose with pure and clean aromas. Full bodied, silky smooth but assertive tannins, rich flavors on the palate, similar to its nose with additional caramel and fresh espresso, but changing nuances with every sip. Very harmonious and balanced, with an overall impression of class and esteem elegance. Long finish. (94/100)

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Chateau Leoville Las Cases 2007 (St-Julien) was another spontaneous wine not appearing on the initial list. This is already drinking very well. The color is red garnet almost opaque. This is showing the exceptional pedigree of this producer that even in a poor vintage like 2007 made a stunning wine. The most striking difference between the Margaux and Leoville Las-Cases is that the smoky side is more prominent in the Margaux, while the Leoville has a bigger and more intense mineral side. The nose is very intense and complex, the graphite – pencil shavings seems to have been liquified and poured over fresh and sweet cassis, red bell pepper and anise seeds. Medium to full bodied, assertive tannins, quite rich and intense flavors, with plenty of cassis, chocolate and tea leaves. Medium to long finish, refreshing and mineral. (93/100)

Exotic fruits, coconut sorbet, meringue were paired with a 1996 Chateau Rieussec from Sauternes, a wine that I last tasted about 2 years ago and I enjoyed tremendously. It has a deep amber color. Very rich and intense nose, quince jam, Asian spices, saffron and orange marmalade just steal your senses. Rich and opulent on the palate, the 1996 was the first vintage when they started to use barrel aging for the wine. Long and intense finish. (93/100)

It was great culinary experience, a line up of top wines that puts me in a great challenge to pick a top 3.

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