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Noel Ermitano

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Vintage Champagne & Rioja Gran Reserva for a Birthday Dinner

by Noel Ermitano » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:42 am

Today is my second son's, Lorenzo's, 19th birthday. Since he is spending the whole day and into the night with his friends, we had a small family dinner in anticipation of the occasion last night at Impressions - just the 5 of us. Lorenzo chose the venue. He also chose Impressions as the venue for his birthday dinner last year.

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The delectable and visually stunning amuse bouche.

Earlier yesterday, Impressions Executive Chef (and good friend) Cyrille Soenen texted me saying that he had a fresh delivery of special French oysters for dinner that night - which was most timely, as the birthday boy loves fresh oysters.

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All fresh: Gillardeau, Speciales de Claire, & Royale Cabanon.

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Catha prefers hers baked.

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Lorenzo, Mauro, & I had an order each of the excellent as always Tartine Iodée of Scallops, Sea Urchin, & Oysters topped with Salmon Roe & Microgreens, and Sea Urchin Parfait in Cucumber - the oysters, in this case, being fresh Belons also flown in from France that same day.

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With the fresh shellfish courses, we enjoyed flutes of 2002 Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Brut - As stated in previous posts, Delamotte is the sister company of the legendary Salon, both of which form part of the Laurent-Perrier Group. Like Salon, Delamotte makes vintage blanc de blancs (i.e., 100% chardonnay) in particularly years; though, unlike Salon which makes only blanc de blancs, Delamotte has other lines of champagne.

Initially bright, and quite tight, showing exuberant, fine white mineral-laced crisp green apple, quince, with lemon/citrus jutting out a bit (especially towards the back), after around 20-30 minutes of breathing, the subject bubbly fleshed out, and gained rounded heft very nicely - revealing underlying brioche, slight lemon curd, and honeyed & buttery whispers to the dominant fresh green apple, pear, and citrus flavors. Very fine over-all performance. Although still obviously young, it is undoubtedly a beauty that is already enjoyable with a bit of breathing time, and will surely improve for many, many more years (nb: locally distributed by Premium Wine Exchange at P5500/bottle full retail).

While in its initial quince and lemon/citrus tight stage, it went well with the fresh oysters, in its fleshed out, roundedly hefty stage it also paired well with...

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...Catha's Foie Gras course...

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...and Joaqi's Seared Scallop Risotto w/ Sea Urchin Foam course.

The evening's main courses were as follows:

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Catha's Veal & Sweetbreads w/ Cromesquis

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Lorenzo's Magret de Canard w/ Mini Pithiviers

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Joaqi's Pithiviers of French Pigeon w/ Foie Gras & Duxelles

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Mauro's Roasted Lamb Rack & Lamb Tenderloin

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My Grilled Lamb Chops...

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...with sides of Mashed Potatoes & Vegetables (para healthy).

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For the main courses, I poured a bottle of 1995 Bodegas La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 890 - I decanted this for aeration the moment we arrived, so it had been breathing for well over an hour by the time we got to it (the recent past 2 bottles I've had of this - Alex's and J-Lab's - were popped-and-poured). From the get-go, the wine's nose was stylish and proud as always, with rich, spiced dried/dark fruit, laced by creamy coconut & vanilla notes (showing its considerable aging in American oak), and touches of aged balsamico and cedar.

In the mouth, it was, as before, full-bodied, as stylish as its nose, with marked loam, dark minerality, and a bit of fig, balsamico, vanilla, and cocoa in the rich, concentrated dried/well-ripened dark fruit. Long, strong, and confident. Quite a beauty (nb: locally distributed by Premium Wine Exchange at P6500/bottle full retail).

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Cyrille joined us for a glass of the red, and, later, for a bit of bubbly.

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Catha & the boys.

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Nicole explains each of the...

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...mignardises she made for the night.

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This Mini-Layered Red Velvet she made for Joaqi.

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A sparkling birthday cake for the birthday boy!

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The boys have always been very close to Nicole. Always so nice to see that it continues even now.

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Lovely, rich, indulgent, silky chocolate goodness.

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Other desserts were a couple of orders of Crispy Apple...

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...and some wonderful Tentation du Chocolate.

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A couple of Nicole's Dark Chocolate Macarons & Gelato for me.

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Excellent meal as always at Impressions! Great choice, Lorenzo, & happy birthday again! We all wish you all the happiness for many, many more years to come! Thanks again to Cyrille, Nicole, & Team Impressions for yet another wonderful night! Until the next!
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Vintage Champagne & Rioja Gran Reserva for a Birthday Dinner

by David M. Bueker » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:24 am

Happy birthday to Lorenzo!

That looks like a lovely meal (much better than the bagel I am presently eating for breakfast), and the wines sound completely appropriate.

Delamotte's vintage offerings have only crossed my path once or twice. I like them, but can't find them anymore.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Noel Ermitano

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Re: Vintage Champagne & Rioja Gran Reserva for a Birthday Dinner

by Noel Ermitano » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:35 am

Thanks, David, on his behalf.

Delamotte started getting distributed officially here relatively recently (maybe around a year ago). Not in very big quantities, though, as the very good QPR brut nv gets sold out very quickly. The vintage lines move less quickly, though, since Manila is quite price-sensitive, so, at least those are pretty much readily available.

Best,

N
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Jon Peterson

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Re: Vintage Champagne & Rioja Gran Reserva for a Birthday Dinner

by Jon Peterson » Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:12 pm

Fabulous, Noel. I do have the 2002 Delamotte available to be at just under $100.00 and may have to pick up a bottle or two. Perhaps I can take one up to David as I'll be in Connecticut in a month.
I just wanted to inform you that I find you to be very attractive. Thank you and have a nice day.
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Bill Spohn

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Re: Vintage Champagne & Rioja Gran Reserva for a Birthday Dinner

by Bill Spohn » Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:39 pm

Need more details on the foie gras course........ :mrgreen:
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Jenise

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Re: Vintage Champagne & Rioja Gran Reserva for a Birthday Dinner

by Jenise » Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:33 pm

I'm also a Delamotte fan. We're still nursing a few bottles from a stash of the 99--we deployed one for my birthday about a month ago, it was pure heaven.
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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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: Vintage Champagne & Rioja Gran Reserva for a Birthday Dinner

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:27 pm

I just checked and D is available in my area!

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