WTN: Fine food and some First Growths at Impressions

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WTN: Fine food and some First Growths at Impressions

Postby Jay Labrador » Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:43 am

Clem is in town for his yearly vacation and naturally we took it as an opportunity to gather the troops and have a wine dinner in his honor. Since Noel highly recommended the Pigeon Pithiviers of Chef Cyrille Soenen at Impressions, we readily agreed to have the dinner there. Good thing, too as Cyrille was about to unveil some new menu items which we were able to try.

As an aperitif while waiting for everyone to gather, we started with some Jean Milan Grande Reserve 1864 Blanc de Blancs NV. Jean Milan is a tiny house situated in Oger, in the Cotes de Blancs with just over 5 hectares and a production of about 7000 cases a year. 1864 refers to the date the house was established. Fermentation is done in oak and they grow only chardonnay. The bottle is rather unique in that the cork is secured by string and attached to the bottle by a wax seal. The server had some difficulty removing the string to get at the cork. The wine is light gold and was rather lively. The mouthfeel is remarkably silky and lush. The oxidative quality comes through loud and clear. It’s a rich wine but is so soft it sits lightly in the mouth. Good complexity here. Orange rind and white pepper dominate but there is also a suggestion of yeast and toast. It seems a little primary at this stage. Maybe a bit more aging will bring out more nuances. Try again in 3 years but for now, excellent.

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Jean Mila 1864 Grande Reserve NV by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

After everyone had gathered, Cyrille introduced his new degustation menu which we all agreed to have. An amuse of ravioli of smoked salmon with uni foam and caviar got us started followed by the first dish of a tuna and oyster tartar quenelle with caviar on green apple aspic, another champagne was called for. You can always count on Clem to bring special bottles and this time was no different as he produced a Krug 1995. Krug is probably my favorite champagne and I very rarely get to drink the vintage wines as they are not available in Manila so this was a rare treat for me. The Krug was crisp and very young. Green apple in the wine mirrored the aspic, while the dominant lemon rind notes was a classic and natural partner for the fresh seafood flavor. There are hints of some honeyed richness coming through but the fruit is dominant at this time. Still a baby, this wine needs some major time in the cellar. I would say give it at least another 5 years but I’m pretty sure it can go on for a considerably longer time without any trouble.

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Ravioli of smoked salmon with uni foam and caviar by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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Krug 1995 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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French oyster and tuna tartar with caviar on green apple aspic by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

With the next course of roasted scallops, puree of cauliflower with mashed potatoes and bacon in a reduction of court bouillion and orange whipped with butter, we switched to a German wine; Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 2007 from the Mosel. A big wine, quite rich and sweeter than I expected. On the palate, it seems rather soft. Maybe lacks a little in acidity. Mostly grape, peach and mango. A decent match for the scallops but more suited to cheese, I think. Still, a very good wine overall. This dish was outstanding. Lots of ingredients but put together very well. The flavors are quite subtle so they don’t overwhelm the natural sweetness of the scallops.

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Roasted scallops, cauliflower puree, reduction of court bouillionand orange whipped with butter by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 2007 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

The main event of pithiviers of French pigeon with duck liver and mushrooms, fricassee of morels, asparagus and mini carrot in Perrigeux sauce followed and so we finally had a dish to go with the impressive lineup of reds. Noel came prepared, his bottle of La Fleur Petrus 1996 opened and decanted at home so that we would be sure to drink it. Dry and soft with a lot of dried fruit character, this wine is probably at peak now.

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La Fleur Petrus 1996 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

The second red I tried was courtesy of Clem; the only burgundy on the table, Dominique Laurent Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 1997. I was informed by Vince that this producer is famous for his double oak treatment. If I understand it correctly, he ages the wine for some time in 100% new oak then transfers it to more barrels of 100% new oak. Sounds like a decidedly New World technique. This is a big wine, at least by Burgundy standards. Rich and fleshy with a nice backbone of acidity lending it some support, I think it handles the oak quite well, absorbing the wood without too much trouble so that it doesn’t seem oaky at all. Raspberry, strawberry and sour cherry make an appearance here. It still seems young to me and can probably take a bit more aging to develop more complexity. Very interesting and quite good.

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Dominique Laurent Cos de la Roche 1997 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

One of the most anticipated bottles was Alex’s Chateau Latour 1971. The fill, just at the bottom of the neck, was remarkable for such an old bottle. Classic Bordeaux profile of pencil shavings. A touch of earth, tea and tobacco. The fruit is already dried out. Medium-bodied. Surprisingly, there is still a bit of tannin holding it together. Some bitterness on the finish but the length is impressive. Although past peak, it still has some fight left in it. Best to drink up, though.

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Latour 1971 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

The pithivier, a pie made from puff pastry, stuffed with the pigeon, duck liver and mushroom, was a flavorful and hearty serving. It’s a beautiful dish with lots of earthy flavors but be warned, it can sit heavily in the gut. I figured I would have been happy with a portion maybe 2/3 the size of what we had. Still, it was so good I finished the whole thing.

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Pithivier of pigeon, foie gras and mushrooms with morel fricassee, asparagus and mini carrot with Perriguex sauce by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

Although there was also a Chateau Palmer 1986 and a Beaucastel 1998, we prudently decided that we had best stop at the Latour. After a couple of minutes of chatting though, Clem’s Chateau Cheval Blanc 1983 on the table was just too tempting to ignore. We ordered a cheese platter and soldiered on. Good thing we opened this as it trumped the other reds. This wine was ready right out of the bottle, with a captivating nose of fragrant wood, camphor and baby powder. Although I found the acidity slightly high, this is a minor quibble as the wine was singing. Medium-bodied with dusty tannins still evident, dried fruit cigar and cocoa powder all making an appearance. This is about perfect now. Excellent.

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Cheese platter by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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Cheval Blanc 1983 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr

Although I brought a Navarro Gewurztraminer Late Harvest Cluster Select for dessert, it turned out that the mostly chocolate dessert would not have been a good match for the wine so we decided to forgo it. The dessert itself was very good. The dessert was dubbed chocolate royal with vanilla gelato, berries compote and hazelnut crumble. The chocolate was certainly fit for a king. The lava cake in the center was one of the best I’ve tried but I thought the chocolate mousse along side it was even better.

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Chocolate Royal, Vanilla gelato, Berries compote and hazelnut crumble by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
Finally a couple of mignardises appeared just to make sure we were stuffed to the gills. I favored the truffles and the chocolates made with Tequila Rose.

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Mignardises by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
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Vince, Cyrille and Clem by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
We stayed a bit longer to finish the dregs from the bottles while Alex, Noel and Clem made plans to meet up at Kipling’s for some single malt. Although I was sorely tempted to join them as I don’t go to Kipling’s as often as I’d like, I reluctantly called it a night and went straight home.
Jay Labrador
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Re: WTN: Fine food and some First Growths at Impressions

Postby David M. Bueker » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:31 am

Lovely.

Big fan of the 1995 Krug here, though I agree it's very young.

I have not had the '71 Latour in 7 or 8 years, and it was past peak then, so I am glad your bottle showed as well as it did.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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