We put together a plan for dinner when we heard traveling wine geek Matt L would be in town. Matt had his trip postponed, but we went ahead with the dinner anyway.
Several of the locals met at the Old World Deli last evening with the theme of wines Matt would like.
With oysters on the half shell (Pacific and Kumamotos) we opened a 1989 Luneau-Papin Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Le "L" d'Or and a 2006 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Forêt. The L d'Or was a good bottle, slightly darker yellow in color then a new vintage but not full gold. The nose was dominated by lees and yeast, with suggestions of sweet stone fruit at least in the aroma. The mouth emphasized wet rock mineral flavors over any fruit. This bottle had less cut and drive then prior ones I've tried, but still going pretty strong. Any night there is a Raveneau is a real treat. This bottle to me showed that great producers make the most of tough vintages. Lemon zest, lemon oil nose, and the mouth and structure seemed fairly full for Chablis, lowish acids, big mineral side. The structure reminded me a little of a white Rhone. Persistent finish, and opened a lot with air. I thought it was great, but have no idea how it will age from here. Both were good with the oysters, the lemon citrus flavor of the Chablis was my favorite match.
With duck liver pate and a pork/black truffle/mushroom pate we drank a 2007 Houillon Overnoy Poulsard Arbois. This was a pale washed out red color. The nose was great, pure, clean and very expressive. A little VA, but not much dirt. Red fruit mainly. The mouth was a bit rustic with a tiny bit of prickly CO2 and rough acids. Beautiful aroma, very young structure. Nice wine with the pate.
2007 Jean Foillard Morgon Côte du Py Cuvée 3.14 helped finish up the pate and bridge into the next course of wild mushroom soup. The wine seemed young, fully open, with gorgeous deep Morgon fruit and spice with the structure buried under the primary fruit. Great bottle, with a nice future I would guess.
1989 Chateau de la Gardine Chateauneuf du Pape came in a squat shaped bottle but was a very fine mature drink. Nose was sour cherry and garrigue, with some lift from remaining acidity in the mouth and the tannins resolved. It faded pretty quick, but was a nice sip. The back of the bottle said Brunel family. I know little about this but would guess it had a fair amount of Mourvedre in it.
2 younger Rhone wines were opened next to go with a hearty Coq au vin with chanterelles and house made bacon. 2001 Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape had a funky bottle bouquet on opening but with air blew off to an elegant mix of raspberry and some smoke, nice compact structure, and no heat. Not a blockbuster, but understated and pretty, and just getting into some tertiary flavors. The 2001 Allemand Cornas Reynard smelled awful when I opened it a few hours before dinner, highly reduced, burnt rubber with vanilla oak under the stink. A couple hours in a decanter really helped. Still some smoke, meaty, blackberry aromas. Structure was very fine grained tannins and great acidity. I didn't notice much pepper or olive in this bottle. Very young Cornas but even now delicious. Fabulous with the bacon bits and wine soaked chicken. I liked these two bottles a lot, but would wait on opening any more of them for a while.
There was a 2005 Delas Frères Hermitage that I didn't spend much time with. It seemed very fruit forward and new worldish, but it might have been just too young.
2002 Huët Vouvray Demi-Sec Le Haut-Lieu was a medium yellow color. It had the craziest nose of raw oyster juice at first, and I tried another pour in a different glass to see if the glass was tainted, but it was there in both glasses! This thankfully went away soon and left a honeyed, wet straw, more typical smell in its wake. The mouth was pleasant, with a nice balance of extract, acidity and sugar. One taster thought it could have used a bit more cut, but for me it was just about right. The initial aromas were pretty weird though.
There was a 2004 Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Echezeaux opened toward the end of the evening that I liked. Not much green, a mix of earth and fruit and seemed maybe a bit advanced for its age. I wasn't giving it the attention it really deserved at that point.
Hopefully we will get to drink with Matt sometime in the future, but thanks for giving us the prompt to do this dinner. We missed you Jenise!