Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A wine-dinner at Chatham's: Guest post by Ron Siegel

A group of seven wine friends decided to get together at the last minute for an impromptu dinner at Chatham’s Place ( a Gayot-described “longtime neighborhood ‘it’ spot serving continental fare” and “a delightful detour from the glitz of nearby Restaurant Row”) last Thursday night.  This is a place that I used to frequent but had forgotten about and so had not graced its doors for a number of years.  The food was well prepared and the  wine service was outstanding. The restaurant was quite busy for a Thursday night and more than met the expectations set by the recommendations from @winORL and @thewinebarns.

We had recently experienced a lackluster wine performance at the Chef’s Table at Victoria and Albert’s and so were anxious to get back into the “wine saddle.”  The wines were scintillating (with one exception) and wiped the V&A experience from our mind as quickly as a hole-in-one causes a bad golfer to forget the triple bogey he/she had on the prior hole.
We started with a very nice Champagne -- Mailly Gabriel Simon Cuvée Montesquieu Grand Cru NV -- which had a slight oxidative note (a characteristic that I love in Champagne) along with some citrus, toasted bread, a nice acidity and a medium finish.  I made a note to buy some of this wine thinking that it would be a nice grower Champagne to own but saw that it retails for over $100.

The whites on offer were a 2005 Meyret-Gachet Chateau-Grillet (100% Viogner monopole) and a 1999 Raveneau Butteaux.  We opted to taste these wines simultaneously for comparison purposes.  Unfortunately the Raveneau was corked (Bummer in that it was my offering).  The Chateau Grillet exhibited floral and citrus notes with stones, seashell, and Beeswax on the palette. 

Next up was another one of my offerings, 1947 Pierre André Chambolle-Musigny.  Wow! Massive red fruits, very sweet, ripe with great acidity. A touch of tomato and protein. @wineORL thought this was all about the acid. This wine showed much younger than its age.

The 1996 Rinaldi Brunate Lecoste Barolo showed red fruits and cotton candy.  It was very floral with dusty tannins. It will become an even finer Barolo with more time in the cellar.

The Berardenga Rancia Reserva Chianti 1995 was poured from a 3-liter bottle.  Nose of cherry, licorice, tobacco and spice. My only complaint was that the finish seemed light and lacked complexity. Maybe it needed more time to open up.

The 1999 Chapoutier L'Ermite and 1990 Les Cailloux Cuvée Centenaire  were opened and tasted together.  The Chapoutier had a nose of blueberry, roasted nuts, pepper, and herbs.  Meaty with a shoe polish finish. These wines will age effortlessly for 50 + years.  I had high hopes for the Les Cailloux (another one of my contributions) based on its Parker score (100) and it delivered. Very sweet and opulent Kirsch fruit. Almost burgundian but more rustic with soy, balsamic, iron, and beef blood in the mouth. I love CdP and this was a great one!

Gruaud Larose 1990 and Gruaud Larose 1982 tasted comparatively.  The 1990 exhibited camphor, gun powder,graphite, smoke and some earth. I liked this but it could not compete with the 1982 tonight. It still needs time and may have benefitted with a decant.  The 1982 showed sweet black fruits with spice, cigar box.  Great aromatics with some barnyard and earth. This wine was reminiscient of the smell and taste of the 1966 La Mission Haut-Brion but was fresher. I feel this is the best vintage of Larose since the 61 and would love to do these side by side.

The Chateau Margaux 1983 bottle looked brand new with a very high fill. This was the best 1983 Margaux that I have had in some time as it was much cleaner and showed less damp earth than my most recent three. Nose of black fruits with camphor, vanilla, truffle and floral notes. Very silky tannins and long finish.  A more masculine vintage for Margaux.

The Pichon Lalande 1986  had a nose of black fruits, cedar,lead pencil, steely.   Classic Pauillac with firm tannins and good acid.
The 1995 Lynch Bages was still very young and tight as are most 95's.  I love Lynch but this just wasn't showing a lot tonight.
Dana Estates Helms Vineyard 2007 was next up.  This was another one of my contributions. Dana was the highest-priced barrel ($70,000 for a 5-case lot) at the recently concluded Premier  Raspberry nose with toasted oak, rich, ripe fruits.  Nice balance between the fruit and tannins. Very opulent and rich. No one would confuse this with an old world wine.

We finished with a 1975 Sauterne that everyone seemed to enjoy.

All in all a great night of food and wine with good friends.  Unfortunately, getting home after 2:30 am on a Friday morning was no fun with my alarm going off at 6:45 am later that day.

© Wine -- Mise en abyme

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