All blind, with a private dinner and friends at Gabriel Claycamp's Cassoulet Restaurant and Bar.
The evening started with little jars of Henri Bardouin Pastis.
Then Vic got itchy and uncorked this little gem:2010 Mas de Bressandes Costieres du Nimes
: Very dry, with a pleasantly bitter finish. Good rose for food.
While we sipped, waitresses were passing "Pets de Nonne", which translates as "Nun's Farts" for I am not sure what reason, except for the well-warranted connection to The Divine. Essentially a fried brandade, dried salt cod and cheese were pureed into a choux pastry that was extruded and deep-fried. I swore I would limit myself to one, but I think I ate four. Habit-forming!
We sat down then to await our first course, and Gabe pulls out Melissa's white. It's in a bag, but such is the tip of what's showing that it has to be either a Domaine Ott or some kind of Bath Oil. 2011 Domaine Ott Clos Mireille Blanc de Blanc (75% semillon, 25% Rolle):
Fruity, saline, herbs, lovely balance. Very different wine for a chardonnay: I was sure it was a rich style of sauvignon blanc, or maybe even muscadet. Really neat with the passed hors d'ouvres called "nuns' farts". Outstanding.2008 Vieux Donjon Blanc:
Preserved lemon, fennel and sandalwood. Very heavy, more like drinking a red wine than a white after the other two and kind of out of place after the first two wines, because it's neither refreshing nor as well-matched with the food. Not as good as other bottles I've had. (Mine)
Our second course arrives: Raiola de Betterave, chevre affine, persillade sec de roquette. As soon as I see the beet ravioli, I toss out my Vieux Telegraf which is showing a lot like a California pinot right now.2007 Vieux Telegraf:
cherry pie and pumpkin spices with earthy, fungal qualities and better acids than one expects from 07. Complex and bright, it has to be a Chateneuf. Showing beautifully now, but will reward further cellaring. Outstanding. (Mine)2009 Perrin Vacqueyras 'Le Cristians'
. Young and balanced with some warm vintage blue fruit, anise and mineral. Good pairing with the VT. Excellent. (Kasey)
Third course: Tripe a l'Isle Sur la Sorgue: ragout de pois chiche, tomate, et limon confit avec herbes fraiches. Nobody has ever made me like tripe before, but Gabriel worked magic. I loved the dish. 2007 Le Plan G-T-G:
100% grenache, rustic, big bodied, extracted, gritty tannins, blackberry and salt, atypical. Vic is covered in grins because the Bordeaux-style bottle has thrown everyone off, and though we could pin down the grenache easily enough there were all kinds of things in this wine none of us have ever tasted in a Rhone before. I am supposed to tag this wine: ALLEN LIKED IT. 2007 Dom de Piaugier "les Briquieres", Sablet
: Sweet, extracted, lower acid, somewhat international, very Rasteau-like. Drink, don't hold. (Robin's) Another tag: ALLEN LIKED IT.
Fourth course: Gratin d'Aubergine2000 Chateau d'Oro et de Gueles:
Syrah, carignane, grenache and mourvedre. All secondary fruit, and the color shows it's age. On the palate, green olives, dried blood and garrique, and it fades just a bit in the glass. Delightful, but I wouldn't hold other bottles any longer. (Tim's)2006 Guigal Chateneuf du Pape:
Spicey and good, great mouth feel and character. Excellent plus. (Allen's)
Fifth course: Canetons (duckling) Roti avec Petites Navets, lentils aux pommes, lavande et miel2009 Perrin Gigondas:
clearing rim, very polished and glossy, red licorice and sage, a bit grapey and a bit closed right now. Needs more time to come together. (Lori's)1993 Remoissonet Volnay:
A ringer! Fabulously perfumed, aromatic nose with delicate dried cherries, earl gray tea and potpourri on the palate. A bit stunted in the small glassware, but still grand. (Mine)2010 St. Cosme Le Deux Albion:
Rich, grapey, lots of extract, some wood showing, with vinegary volatile acids. Lots of potential but too young to drink for this girl. (Gabe's)
And finally, a delightful dessert: Glace a la truffle blanche, pruneaux agen en Armagnac, noix et menthe
And after dinner, a Reserve Armagnac for those with more fortitude than I.