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Dinner with Bouchard, Pegau, Billecart-Salmon, Cristal and more

March 11, 2016 Leave a comment

A friend from abroad was in town this week so we ended up having dinner at a favorite for me now: La Brasserie Bistro&Lounge. As we both fancy wine, there was a good line-up prepared and as usual there were initially planned 3 bottles, but eventually we ended up having more between our small group of 4.

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Started the night with this 2003 Bouchard Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus that was popped and poured and barely had time to breath over the 1 h it lasted. This is a most unusual Pinot Noir in the sense that it has the mark of the hot 2003 vintage with ripe fruit and medium to low acidity. The color is deep ruby red. Nose is already expressive and developed well into a complex mix of sweet blue and red fruit, Asian spices and some discreet shades of undergrowth, keeping fresh. It has a denser than you might expect mouth feel, with a fleshy texture where velvety and smooth tannin mixes well with lavish layers of ripe red fruit and tea leaves, preserving balance and freshness. Long finish, aromatic tea leaves and red fruit jam. Really enjoyed it. (94/100)

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A bottle of 2010 Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du pape was opened and left to breath since lunch time so it had about 8 h to aerate. Nose was interesting as usual but the mouth feel was bad. There was just too much VA in it to be able to enjoy it. Certainly not the wine that I had several months ago. (Not rated)

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Decided to shift palates to more tension and bubbles so a 1999 Champagne Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart was served. This is a wine that I had several times already this year and I like it more and more. It feels the wine is in the right spot today and should be holding well for several more years, but why wait when it is so good. It’s got a rich mousse with plenty of tiny bubbles and a nose that sports intense aromas of smoky citrus fruit, caramel and biscuit. Very tense and razor sharp acidity after the reds, with smoky seashell and bright grapefruit palate. Long. (93-94/100)

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Decided to stay on a similar note with high acidity and citrus fruit so a 2013 Christian Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Valmur was opened and decanted. Yes decanted. This has lots of chalky minerality, citrus fruit and Granny smith apple aromas. Mouth watering acidity, it combines very well ripe citrus fruit, wet stone minerals with riper flavors of grapefruit and chamomile. Medium plus long finish, lively citrus fruit. (92/100)

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When in doubt and want some tenser and riper refreshment go for a rose sparkling, preferably a Vintage. Champagne Bollinger La Grande Annee Rose 2004 is a Champagne for the long run and mostly a keeper. Some Champagne should be decanted. We did not do it, but I would recommend it. Light coppery color with small and rich bubble. Complex from the beginning it just got better in the glass in time. Intense and fresh nose filled with pink grapefruit skin, small red berries, citrus fruit and minerals. Very tense on the palate, it feels it has a Baroque type of structure of tannin and acidity that still hides its aromatic layers. Good potential here. (94/100)

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Last wine of the night was Champagne Cristal 2007. This punches the nose with smoky aromas of seashell, dried meat and citrus fruit. Razor sharp acidity at this stage, it needs time in the glass to get softer to reveal lively lemons, slate minerals and smoke, with a clean and sharp focus. Medium plus long finish, very fresh and a weightless mouth feel that makes it so easy to drink. (94/100)

Ended the evening quite late and had a hard time finding a cab to get home. That was a first and very unpleasant to stand up in the cold street waiting for a taxi to take my order.

French themed dinner June 2015

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There are dinners and there are exceptional dinners. Sometimes life can play tricks on you. It happened to me this week when it seemed I was the victim of my own luck. I had two wine dinners that I attended in two consecutive days and that seemed to be a bit too much. First one was a Romanian wines themed dinner that ended too late in the night and as a result the next morning was very slow, during the day it was more of a gradual recovery and by the time dinner was getting ready to start it finally felt more normal, but not fully recovered.

This was a very intimate dinner for 4 people where I acted as an organizer and tasting and enjoying the wines was one of the perks of the job. Absolutely outstanding experience, where some of the biggest and most interesting wines from France were served.

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Champagne Krug Grande Cuvee NV has a golden color with rich and tiny bubbles. A very expressive nose with flint, citrus peel, saline sea shell, it opens up with sweet caramel and lactic notes. Very tight on the palate, focused, with citrus and white peach fruit, it is a Champagne that needs at least 45 minutes to breath to open. Long finish with rich citrus fruit freshness. (94/100)

There was a great match with the oysters as both shared the saline and sea shell aromas.

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2011 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc is one of the grandest dry whites from Bordeaux I tasted. Before this, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc 2009 was my favorite, but that is history now. Medium yellow color. This has an intense and impressive nose, but simply put is Wow. There is a rich yellow melon aroma that gradually leaves room to tropical fruits: tangerine, mango, papaya, very exotic and exuberant nose all sustained by very smart oak, some flint and smoke but always the exuberant sweet fresh tropical fruit holds the center stage. Lots of vibrant yellow fruit, ‎tropical fruits, very fresh palate with almonds, still tight but very promising. Long, long finish. What strikes the most in this wine is that in spite of its rich extract and abundance of fruit, the wine has an almost weightless texture that I find it as a common denominator in some of the grandest wines. I could drink this everyday. (96/100)

It was a great match with Sea Bass and Tuna Tartar but again this wine is good with anything.

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1993 Chateau d’Yquem comes from a difficult vintage for all of Bordeaux wines. However tasting this wine you can understand why this is a Premier Grand Cru Classe. It has a light amber color. Very expressive and sweet nose of orange marmalade, saffron, peach, ginger and honey comb. This is certainly not the richest or the most opulent Yquem, but it is a very elegant wine that delivers a lot of pleasure today. There is still some richness on the palate, with vibrant orange marmalade, ginger spice and honey, unctuous and lovely. Long finish. (93-94/100)

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2005 Vosne Romanee 1er Cru ‘Les Suchots’ Bouchard P&F needs about 4 h to breath in order to start to open up. It has a medium ruby red color. The nose is all about fresh pine needles, sweet red berry fruit, coffee bean and sous bois, a nose of profound subtleties. Medium to full body, there is texture and layers of vibrant sweet fresh red fruits, aromatic tea leaves, sappy tannins. It still feels tight and points to a good development in the next few years. Medium to long finish, red currant and black tea flavors. (93/100)

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2003 Chateau Leoville Poyferre is a wine I tasted several times in the last 4 years and it was always a great wine. The color is red garnet almost opaque. The aromatic profile feels to be the best of two worlds: the ripe and sunny fruit you can find in the finest Super Tuscan’s and the freshness and complexity from the best red Bordeaux. Complex and intense aromas of cassis, blackberry, red paprika, coffee bean, mineral pencil shavings, all make a very expressive nose today. Rich and opulent on the palate, it has ripe and velvety sweet tannins that give balance and freshness to all this dense texture and abundance of flavors. Long finish, sweet lingering fruit. An impressive wine for the vintage. (97/100)

An absolutely outstanding wine dinner experience.

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