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Jim Jones in Tokyo

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WTN: Catching Up Pt. 4 (Dinners Out -- 2 Soave, 1 Wh Burg)

by Jim Jones in Tokyo » Mon Apr 17, 2006 10:16 am

CATCHING UP: COUPLE OF DINNERS OUT - Around Tokyo (4/9/2006-4/15/2006)

Quiet Dinner Alone
A simple night, as we had been to two different parties in the afternoon with an excess of rich food. With sautéed foie gras, a peached lobster, and fricasee of shrimp/stuffed chicken wings/scallops.
  • 2002 Jean Noel Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot 1er Cru - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet (4/9/2006)
    Pretty yellow gold with great depth of color. Nose is closed on initial pouring, with a blend of lightly sweet oak and a floral honey element coming out after a few minutes. The fruit is a little slower to make an appearance, but eventually shows up as freshly appealing apple and stone fruit. The palate is more like a lithe and athletic lass hiding her graces. There is an element of chiseled definition and muscular detail from the very beginning, but for at least half an hour that perfect bone structure is all we get to see. With more time, the flesh is rendered visible in ripely sweet fruit and great mineral presence. The flesh and sap builds over time in the glass and it builds through the palate. The finish is significantly more intense and rich than the entry. She’s only playing JV field hockey now. Behave yourself until she joins the uni team and you’ve got a beauty in store.
With New Friends
With fried zucchini blossoms, mixed cold anipasti, insalata caprese and a kinmedai (a rich kind of sea bream) cooked in cartoccio with lemon, olives, and potatoes.
  • 2003 Leonildo Pieropan Soave Classico Superiore Calvarino - Italy, Veneto, Soave Classico Superiore (4/15/2006)
    Clear and bright light straw color. Nose of that distinctive Soave pear, highlighted by citrus and a light herbal infusion element. Palate shows fresh minerality – the cold water racing over rocks sort – combined with light clear white tree fruit. Thoroughly enjoyable and even a perfect foil with fried zucchini blossoms, but it is somewhat caught in the middle between style and vintage. As always, this shows a bit more of everything than the basic Pieropan Soave – more concentration, more finely chiseled detail, more ripeness and depth. But make no mistake, the Calvarino is always a wine that must win hearts through detail and freshness. In 2003, its detail and freshness fall a little short of (admittedly high) expectations. Cf. the Rocca below.
  • 2003 Leonildo Pieropan Soave Classico Superiore La Rocca - Italy, Veneto, Soave Classico Superiore (4/15/2006)
    A bit darker gold than the Calvarino. Rich and round on the nose with a deep floral element, a hint of tropical fruit, and just a kiss of oak sweetness. When it hits the palate, there is a much more forceful minerality and a roundness and fullness that goes beautifully with the kinmedai preparation. It still shows that typical pear and citrus fruit and has a certain freshness to it, but it wears its oak as an evidently suave cloak. In most years, I prefer the Calvarino, but in 2003 the La Rocca finds a vintage that plays up its strong points. It’s still garganega from Pieropan so even with the ripeness and the bit of oak, it is lengths ahead of most of its peers. But I wouldn’t drink it when I’m looking for traditional Soave freshness and cut.

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Jim Jones
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Dale Williams

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Re: TN: Catching Up Pt. 4 (Dinners Out -- 2 Soave, 1 Wh Burg

by Dale Williams » Mon Apr 17, 2006 10:55 am

Thanks for notes. I tend to like JN Gagnard's wines- modern but not over the top, classy, reasonably priced. Sometimes there's a very good Morgeot rouge, too.

For me, the Pieropan basic is the best deal of the 3, but I've only had the Calvarino once.
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Jim Jones in Tokyo

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Re: TN: Catching Up Pt. 4 (Dinners Out -- 2 Soave, 1 Wh Burg

by Jim Jones in Tokyo » Tue Apr 18, 2006 1:27 am

Dale:

This was my first encounter with J-N Gagnard. As you indicated, maybe a little modern, but not excessively so. I'd be happy to try more.

I love all the Pieropan wines. The La Rocca is the only Soave I've encountered where the oak really works. Then again, I don't normally drink the La Rocca when I am looking for perfectly typical Soave. I don't have much experience with the Calvarino, as I don't see it at retail here. But I jump on it when I see it in a restaurant.

Enjoy,

Jim
Jim Jones
Tokyo, Japan

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