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Dale Williams

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WTN: '05 Muga rose, '88 La Lagune

by Dale Williams » Sun Jun 04, 2006 4:21 pm

My parents arrived Friday for a short visit. Betsy made trout filled with a spinach/garlic/raisin/pinenut stuffing accompanied by a salad and brown rice. The 2005 Muga rosado was a pleasant if undemanding accompaniment. Light raspberry fruit, moderate acidity, clean but not especially exciting. A little dilute even for rosé. Good enough, but there are other similarly priced rosés out there I like more. B/B-

I should note my parents are not wine people. Since the French paradox report my dad has a glass of wine each night, but at home it's Lake Country red with an icecube. I've tried to interest them a bit, but it's just not their thing. That's ok -they're great parents.

But when they decided to invite us for Saturday dinner at the Ruth's Chris at their hotel (we have no guest room in our little house), I started thinking. I REALLY like a good Bdx or Cabernet with a steak. I knew my parents would just suggest getting a glass. My memory of Ruth's Chris's list was some pricey yet pedestrian wines by the glass, so I asked re corkage when I called- a very reasonable $15. I carried a bottle of 1988 La Lagune (Haut-Medoc)-the only mature Bordeaux on the list was a '92 Petrus. I think the first time my parents ever saw BYO (I explained it's not really cool to bring a bottle of inexpensive wine to save money!).

The La Lagune was the last -and best- of several bottles. Fears of '88 tannins outlasting fruit seemed laughable here. Right from the beginning there was rich blackcurrant fruit. Some earth and leather on top of the cassis flavors. Not a big Bordeaux but certainly big enough to stand up to my rare T-bone. Seemed much younger than other bottles. A very pleasant surprise. A-/B+

Nice evening, though Ruth's Chris's steaks aren't my favorite. But I enjoyed the chopped salad, the creamed spinach, the wine, and the company.

Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.  
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Lou Kessler

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Re: WTN: '05 Muga rose, '88 La Lagune

by Lou Kessler » Sun Jun 04, 2006 9:35 pm

We had dinner with some friends at a Ruth's Chris' last February while we were in the Palm Springs area. There were six of us total and everybody just loved the food except my wife and I who said nothing. Why spoil the evening when other people are so happy? Thankfully I brought a bottle of good CA cab that my wife and I enjoyed. The other people in the group who drank some thought it was an ok wine. Believe me it was the only thing on the table edible that was close to good IMHO. When we go out with people to dinner who are not into food and wine we have a different way of judging the evening. Lou----- PS these people are financially able to spend any amount on a restaurant if they so desire.
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Covert

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Re: WTN: '05 Muga rose, '88 La Lagune

by Covert » Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:29 pm

Dale, what don't you like about Ruth's Chris steaks? I thought they were pretty good, especially paired with rock lobster. But I am not a steak connoisseur. Have you tried Smith & Wollensky's steaks? I walked in and out of that place after confirming their wine list was understandably as American as their high testosterone culture. (Saw the post about the restaurant.)

I'm sure I would have liked the La Lagune. Drank my '83 Talbot on Saturday, which was very nice but not bretty at all, as I believe you said would be the case, unlike some of the beauties from the 70s, which I must try to find pretty fast.

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Jenise

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Re: WTN: '05 Muga rose, '88 La Lagune

by Jenise » Mon Jun 05, 2006 1:03 pm

Lou said:
When we go out with people to dinner who are not into food and wine we have a different way of judging the evening.


Felt exactly that way about my only visit to a Ruth's. Ditto Lawry's prime rib. Or every Chart House in California. You may get a decent piece of meat, but there's no cooking per se for a cook like BettyLu or a lucky husband like you to enjoy.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Dale Williams

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Re: WTN: '05 Muga rose, '88 La Lagune

by Dale Williams » Mon Jun 05, 2006 1:40 pm

Lou,
I could live without the butter on the steak thing (though Lugers does a similar thing-and I love Lugers). Steak was good, not great. Plus the "steak knife" wouldn't cut the strip portion of my supposedly aged T-bone. Betsy split a $9 potato with my dad, she said it was almost cold and the skin separating (like when you do a potato waaaaayyyy in advance). But my parents are the type (non-foodies) who view how you like a restaurant where they are treating as a reflection on them, so we praised it. And had a great time because of being with them (and the stems weren't bad). And the steakhouse chopped salad is one of those things I like but would never think of doing at home.

Covert,
Glad you liked the '83 Talbot. I think it was a great house in 70s and till '86. Not sure if you are saying that I said it would be bretty or not (don
t remember commenting on it), but my experience is that the early 80s Talbots had just a touch of "Cordier funk."

Jenise: re "Chart House." There's one in Dobbs Ferry. Best functions for drinks on the deck, maybe with some raw bar. Never get anything that needs a chef. A friend was writing for the Rough Guide to NY. I helped her do some Bronx stops, including City Island. Afterward she included in the Rough Guide a quote, "Foodies always say 'The better the food, the worse the view' and that holds true on City Island" My view was partially informed by the Chart House.
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Re: WTN: '05 Muga rose, '88 La Lagune

by Covert » Mon Jun 05, 2006 3:25 pm

Dale,

I'm not sure whether you commented or not; I don't trust my memory; but I "remember" you mentioning that after the '70s (and you might have stretched it into the early '80s) the property pretty much cleaned up their Cordier stinker act. But I guess it did carry over until at least 1982, which I have read does show some brett. I usually love a touch of brett, but I didn't detect any in the '83. It was a touch funky, however, from some other divine element.

Re your and Jenise's experiences with Ruth's Chris, I wonder if there is significant variation among the chain's restaurants. I was very impressed overall with an experience in Orlando. My other try was in Birmingham, Alabama, which was closer to average. I thought that both had a better selection of Bordeaux than most steak houses.

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JC (NC)

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Re: WTN: '05 Muga rose, '88 La Lagune

by JC (NC) » Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:58 pm

I've enjoyed the Chart House in Alexandria, VA and Monterey, CA (I think that's where). However, probably not so much for the food as for the people I was with and the atmosphere and being on the water. I don't remember the food being awful--just don't remember it being particularly memorable either. I do recall a make your own "Sundae" line with frozen yogurt. We have a "Chris's Steak House" here (which out-of-towners confuse with the more famous name). This is owned by Greek Americans and I often end up ordering fish there (they have things like baked stuffed flounder or broiled or baked fish with Greek-style toppings which beats the fried and more fried seafood of other restaurants in town).
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Re: WTN: '05 Muga rose, '88 La Lagune

by Jenise » Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:24 pm

JC, the Chart House near our old home in Huntington Beach did a fantastic prime rib. And the sides etc weren't bad, I just think what we're talking about is the fact that most of this can be made by teenagers. It's not bad food, it's just not foodie-food, and therefore not what foodies typically head out for when they want to splurge on dinner away from home. But--as you and Dale pointed out--they're always in great locations. I've been to several and it was always about that and the friends I was seeing there.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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