Six of us got together in downtown NYC last night for an astounding dinner. Mike C. took over cooking duties and put together one of the best meals I've had this year, and we opened a lineup of great wines that complemented the food perfectly.
Bulgarian osetra caviar with blini and crème fraîche
Pan browned coturnix quail with seared foie gras
Roast brussel sprouts with bacon
Braised organic California rabbit ragoût with saffron pappardelle
Roasted suckling pig with truffled potatoes and pan gravy
Cheeses and macaron for dessert
1996 Salon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs
Absolute stunner of a Champagne that brought the room to silence for a few minutes. So much complexity and depth here that it's hard to put into words; layers of rich fruit, chalky minerality, doughy and fresh baked brioche, all conveyed with remarkable power, finesse and purity, and amazing length. Wow!!
1996 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon Oenothèque
Tough act to follow the Salon, but this is very impressive in its own right. Richly fruited and framed by layers of autolytic bready, doughy and toasty elements, wonderfully balanced and really enjoyable.
1996 Krug Champagne Brut
Quite a stylistic contrast to the Dom and Salon; more powerful and savoury with smoky, gingerbread and faintly oxidative nutty elements framing the rich fruit here. It's a little restrained initially but with some air starts to really open out aromatically and it's really compelling to sit down with after about an hour or so.
2011 Alzinger Riesling Smaragd Loibner Steinertal
Comes across more dense and ripe than the bottle I had a few weeks ago. Unusually flamboyant for Alzinger Steinertal with a bright floral topnote over rich fruit and minerality, but showing the purity of flavour and finesse I always expect from this wine. It's incredibly primary and youthful right now, but really enjoyable all the same.
1993 F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Loibner Berg
Insane aromatics. Old Grüner can smell so amazing. Smoky, herbal, floral, vividly minerally and wild savoury umami elements all framing rich Grüner fruit, and so powerful yet graceful on the palate. The balance here is impeccable, and it makes me wonder (yet again) why I don't cellar more of these wines.
1993 F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Klostersatz
Quite a contrast to the Loibner Berg; higher toned, more herbal and spicy and trading some of the richness and power for a gentler, more elegant presence. It's more elegant, also very fragrant but at the same time doesn't have quite the same knockout aromatics and the sheer depth of the Berg.
1995 Nikolaihof Riesling Vinothek
Hauntingly pure and delicate; incredibly fragrant and perfectly integrated with white flowers, stone, fresh pear and citrus fruit and herbal, leafy and other savoury elements all coming together into a seamless whole. A thrilling wine to sit down with and follow, as it keeps getting more aromatic and developing more layers and nuances the longer it's open.
1988 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
1988 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese
Great stuff. Comes across a little sweeter and more youthful than a bottle from a month ago, but still really enjoyable with honeycomb, pure Mosel fruit, florality and slate coming together with maturing smoky and creamy elements on a polished, medium weight frame.
2002 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques
Very pretty; incredibly polished and elegant with a core of sappy red fruits framed by gentle spicy, floral and savoury earthy notes. It's still incredibly youthful with the fruit very fresh and plenty of fine grained tannins on the back end, but the balance and purity here make it really compelling to drink even though it's so young.
1989 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
Medium weight and very elegant with pure red and dark fruited flavours framed by cedar, iodine, tobacco and that PLL green/forestal character. This comes across surprisingly youthful; it seems to still be holding a lot in reserve and isn't as forward and aromatic as I remember other bottles being, though this bottle's still excellent.
2001 Château Haut-Brion
Incredibly youthful and full of promise, but very enjoyable after a couple of hours in the decanter. Smoke, gravel and tobacco framing a core of fresh dark fruited flavours; it's not particularly complex now, but it's still wonderful to drink with a remarkable finesse and purity to the flavours already.
1986 Château Gruaud Larose
This is one of the best bottles I've ever had of the '86 Gruaud, and it's just firing on all cylinders here. Incredibly fragrant and so layered with savoury tobacco, leathery Cordier funk, developed cedar and earthy elements, and youthful red and dark fruited flavours coming together seamlessly. There's amazing depth and balance here, with the powerful '86 tannins matched by the rich, sappy fruit, and incredible length. For me, a benchmark Bordeaux that still has years ahead of it.
1994 Raymond Trollat St. Joseph
Overnoy-esque in its pale, slightly cloudy appearance and funky aromatics. Delicate, understated and so elegant with incredibly pure olive and red fruited flavours framed by saline and savoury elements, very light on its feet but with such presence on the palate and wonderful balance.
1990 Marc Sorrel Hermitage Le Gréal
Something's off here. Perhaps a little corked, but it's definitely rather awkward and doesn't seem like a representative bottle.
2005 François Pinon Vouvray Cuvée Botrytis Limited Release
Nice way to end the evening. An essence of Chenin fruit and honey with gentle wooly and floral accents; very rich and youthful but incredibly pure and perfectly balanced as well.
Many thanks to Jake for hosting, to Michael for planning and executing a spectacular menu, and to all for their company and generosity - that was one hell of an evening.
The suckling pig in the oven
The quail with foie gras
Last edited by Salil
on Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.