Dinner at Anthony and Jennifer’s

16 November 2012, 222 Park Avenue South, Union Square

Before the holiday season got into full swing, Anthony and Jennifer invited Dan, Sul, Diane and I over for dinner at their place. As part of their wedding registry, they had several wines they chose at New York Vintners and they opened several of those bottles they received from us for this meal!

The Lineup

The Lineup

  1. *** NV Krug Champagne Grand Cuvee – a perfect aperitif paired with some cured meats, this champagne was light, floral and crisp. We quickly went through two bottles before sitting down for the meal.
  2. *** 2007 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino – from one of my favorite producers in Tuscany, this wine was drinking surprisingly well at a relatively young age. The wine was decanted for many hours before the meal and had the typical leather and tobacco aromas of a well-made Brunello. Smooth tannins and very strong fruit on the palate. Great to drink now and I think will continue to develop for over a decade.
  3. **** 2001 Guigal Cote Rotie La Turque – allegedly the middle child among the three great Guigal wines of Cote Rotie (La Landonne and La Mouline being the others), this wine typically has a small percentage of Viognier for added aromatics. Huge fruit, big body but with a lingering but somehow light finish. Doesn’t leave your mouth coated or blown away like most California Syrahs – much more elegant and refined.
  4. *** 2008 Chateau Rieussec – my first time having this Sauternes, delicious, young, vibrant and a long life ahead. I don’t have much experience with Sauternes but this was the closest in balance – acidity, mouthfeel and sugar – that I’ve ever had when compared to d’Yquem.

As is always the case when they have us over for dinners, the food at Anthony and Jennifer’s was incredible. I took no notes but vividly remember each course today, over two months after the meal:

  • Assorted cured meats: my favorite meats were the jamon and bresaola – an air-dried, salted and aged cured beef.
  • Tagliatelle with white truffles: the most decadent dish of the night, fresh pasta with butter, an egg yolk and shaved white truffles – an unbeatable dish for the Fall/Winter.
  • Roasted leg of lamp: seasoned with garlic and spices, a perfect main for the big red wines we had lined up.
  • Mixed green salad with a mustard vinaigrette
  • Cheese course: I had my first taste of an incredible cheese, Mont d’Or. This rich, creamy cheese (only available in winter months) is held in an oak encasing. Anthony told me you typically leave it on top of the oven to heat up and serve slightly warm. Made from cow’s milk, this  is incredibly rich with a woody taste imparted by the encasing.
  • Assorted cupcakes and banana cream pie from Magnolia

Another Dinner at Dan & Sul’s

14 June 2012, 27 N. Moore Street, Tribeca

Dan and Sul hosted another dinner at their place, catered by New York Vintners and Chef Ryan. It was an incredible meal and wine pairing, again, in a beautiful apartment and great company:

1. 1990 Louis Roederer Cristal (provided by Dan and Anthony) with cured meats and cheeses: this wine was discussed at the last big wine meal we had at Dan and Sul’s apartment. Simply incredible depth and complexity that changed my mind on Champagne.

2. 2010 Schafer-Frohlich Schlossbockelheimer Kupfergrube Riesling Grosses Gewachs (Magnum – brought by Diane and I) with three summer ceviches – spicy tuna, rock fish and watermelon, scallop and cilantro yuzu:

2010 Schafer-Frohlich Schlossbockelheimer Kupfergrube Riesling Grosses Gewachs

Crisp, lemon acidity with an aroma or pear. Firmness on the palate with a taste that lingered and changed depending on the ceviche it was consumed with. Good, though not terribly complex wine that was a perfect pairing for the food (Jesse from NY Vintner’s recommendation).

There were two main courses, with sides, and two reds accompanying them – splitting them up in no particular order:

3. 1997 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (Magnum – brought by Matt Schwab and his wife) with marinated flat iron steak and raw kale salad with parmesean, citrus, and dried cranberry:

1997 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

Full-bodied, opulent, fruity and perfectly integrated at this point in it’s life. The tannins reached a level of sweetness with the meat and the age added earthy aromas. Delicious wine.

4. 2003 Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste (Magnum – brought by Anthony and Jennifer) with seared tuna and Napa cabbage with a side of a marinated bean salad with citrus:

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste

Lighter body, brighter and more subtle than the big California Cabernet. I had this wine a few years ago and the bottle age has made this much more enjoyable as the tannins are less awkward and upfront.

5. 2003 Pax Cuvee Moriah (Magnum – brought by Diane and I):

2003 Pax Cuvee Moriah

69% Grenache, 18% Syrah, and the balance of Mourvedre, Counoise, and Roussanne. Dark and full-bodied and striking similar to a Chateauneuf du Pape. Drinking extremely well with tons of fruit and smoothness – not paired with any course and a wine we sipped on after the main courses were done.

6. 1990 Chateau d’Yquem (provided by Dan and Sul) with assorted Takahachi desserts: also discussed in an earlier post when Dan and Sul brought a bottle to a dinner hosted at 100 Jane. As is typically the case, my wine of the night – can never get enough d’Yquem.

**** 1990 Louis Roederer Cristal

** 2010 Schafer-Frohlich Schlossbockelheimer Kupfergrube Riesling Grosses Gewachs (Magnum), $240

**** 1997 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (Magnum)

*** 2003 Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste (Magnum)

*** 2003 Pax Cuvee Moriah (Magnum), $125

**** 1990 Chateau d’Yquem

Pre-Summer Celebration

19 April 2012, 27 N. Moore Street, Tribeca

As summer approaches, that means planning for the summer house share with our usual crew – Dan and Sul, Nick and Michelle, Diane and I, and Cliff with his date, Michelle. Dan and Sul offered to host a dinner at their new apartment in Tribeca and it was easily one of my most memorable wine meals ever. The food was prepped by New York Vintners and everyone brought a bottle of wine to share with the group.

We started off with a bottle of 1990 Louis Roederer Cristal to accompany the cured meats and cheeses:

1990 Louis Roederer Cristal

62% Pinot Noir and 38% Chardonnay –  floral nose with a crisp attack. Perfect balance of acid, yeast and stone fruit; incredibly smooth with a long finish. One vote for wine-of-the-night (Diane).

The second bottle of the night was a white Rioja, the 1991 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonio Gran Riserva Blanco:

1991 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonio Gran Riserva Blanco

Served at cellar temperature and reminds me of the “orange” wines of Friuli in it’s mouth feel. Earthy with mild oxidation and delicious as a pre-dinner aperatif.

With our first course of the night, a yellow beat salad with walnuts, was a Grand Cru white Burgundy, the 2002 Henri Boillot Batard-Montrachet:

2002 Henri Boillot Batard-Montrachet

Decanted just prior to serving. Floral nose but without the power I expected from a Grand Cru – heavy stone fruit and a touch of vanilla on the palate. Medium finish with good balance but hadn’t developed any tertiary flavors or complexity yet.

Our flight reds began with two red Bordeaux to accompany our pasta course. The first a 2000 Chateau Kirwan:

2000 Chateau Kirwan

Full decant for 12 hours. To me, this wine is a great example of both its varietal and region. Full bodied, big dark fruit with a long finish – plenty of tannins and mouth grip at twelve years. I thoroughly enjoyed the wine but was a bit surprised that it was five people’s WOTN! (Dan, Sul, Michelle, Cliff, Michelle)

The next Bordeaux was a Grand Cru, 1986 Chateau Latour:

1986 Chateau Latour

Full decant for 2 hours.  Brown tinges on the rim, dark, earthy nose. Mild red fruit on the palate – has probably peaked at this point but had a subtlety due to bottle age that was missing in the first Bordeaux we had.

Our next red, along with the prime rib, was a 1990 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Villero:

1990 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Villero

Decanted into a clean bottle for about 12 hours before. Incredible nose – tobacco, earth and tar. Very sweet, red fruit on the palate – continues to have structure though with perfect integration of the tannins. Loved it – hands down one of the top five Barolos I’ve ever had. One vote for WOTN (Nick) and would’ve been mine were it not for the last wine we had.

With the dessert course, a 1989 Chateau d’Yquem:

1989 Chateau d'Yquem

Apricots, honey, elderflower and some spice. Impeccable balance and finish – just a perfect wine. My WOTN.

A perfect meal hosted by Dan and Sul. By the end of the night we were all full, happy and ready to pass out:

Panchito, ready for bed

**** 1990 Louis Roederer Cristal, $450

*** 1991 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Riserva Blanco, $90

*** 2002 Henri Boillot Batard-Montrachet, $280

*** 2000 Chateau Kirwan, $75

*** 1986 Chateau Latour, $440

**** 1990 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Villero, $275

**** 1989 Chateau d’Yquem, $300

Dinner, Wine and Friends

7 January 2012, 100 Jane Street, Manhattan

Recently, Nard, Clair, Diane and I cooked dinner and invited Dan, Sul and Manoj. Food and wine pairings below:

the five wines of the night

1. 2004 Agrapart & Fils Champagne Blancs de Blanc Brut

My first Blanc de Blanc and it was delicious. Agrapart is made from 50 year old vines in Les Robarts and La Voie d’Epernay. The winery uses organic farming and fermentation with natural yeasts. The champagne explodes in your mouth and felt cleaner to me than regular champagnes. Minerality with good acidity and a light but lasting finish.

2. 2009 Kistler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – roasted beet salad with arugula, shaved parmesan with an olive oil and lemon dressing

My first Pinot Noir from Kistler (I’ve had several of their Chardonnays) and it was probably the best California Pinot Noir I’ve ever had. The wines are fermented with native yeasts, aged in French Oak for 14-18 months and finally bottled unfiltered and unfined. Strawberry, red fruit and surprising earthiness with a medium body. The wine had a complexity that changed on your palate and was great with the salad. This was the group’s wine of the night.

3. 2007 i Clivi Brazan Collio Goriziano – fettucini with a mushroom and onion cream sauce

I Clivi is a vineyard in Friuli that focuses on non-interventionist wine-making using organic methods. A small producer, they make about 1,500 cases of their DOC whites which are blends of Tocai, Verduzzo and Malvasia. The soil composition is a mixture of limestone, clay and sandstone with yields of about 1.0 ton per acre. The wine is fermented with its own yeast, undergoes malolactic fermentation and matures in stainless steel tanks on its own lees for 2 years with no racking or filtration. No oaking or wood of any kind is used to fully express the purity of the grapes.

The wine tastes the way it was made – clean, non-interventionist with subtle hints of stoned fruit. Medium acidity and clean, but short finish. Had enough acidity to keep up with the pasta but not the best pairing as the weight of the pasta overwhelmed this simpler wine.

4. 2001 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili – prime rib rubbed with garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil

I’ve written about Giacosa’s wines before and this was incredible as expected. Upon opening the bottle, it was extremely acidic and fruity with exploding tannins. After a 7 hour decant, the wine was showing in a much more integrated way: a strong nose of spice, Giacosa earthiness and tar. The palate had hints of sweet, ripe red fruit with spice and mustiness. Perfect wine for a red meat roast and still has a lot of years left to develop in the cellar.

5. 1990 Chateau d’Yquem – poached pears in a red wine sauce and brownies with French Vanilla Breyer’s ice cream

The most incredible wine that I think currently made is Chateau d’Yquem. This bottle was courtesy of Dan and it did not disappoint. Exceptional elegance with sweetness, acidity and good body. It has an incredible texture of honey and peach with perfect acidity to balance the wine. The perfect wine:

1990 Chateau d'Yquem

*** 2004 Agrapart & Fils Champagne Blancs de Blanc Brut, $80

*** 2009 Kistler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, $75

** 2007 i Clivi Brazan Collio Goriziano, $25

*** 2001 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili, $130

**** 1990 Chateau d’Yquem

New Year, New Wines

31 December 2011, 140 W 22nd St, Manhattan

At a holiday party this past December, I informed Cohen, to his surprise, that he would be hosting a New Year’s Eve party at his apartment. I had no plans, had no intention of hosting myself, and made Thomas host once already so I figured it was Cohen’s turn – I offered to send out the Evite on his behalf if he didn’t care to.

Not surprisingly, the party was incredible – 14 people total for a seven course meal with wine pairings and some bubbly left over for the midnight ball drop.  A brief synopsis below:

1. 2008 Fontezoppa Marche Rosso

a. Roasted red pepper puree with a ricotta crostini

b. Roasted beet, apple and shallot salad with a champagne vinaigrette dressing

I lump these two courses together as they were accompanied by this same wine, an Italian IGT.  50% Sangiovese, 40% Cabernet and 10% Merlot, the nose reminded me of a Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. The wine is aged in stainless steel for 3 months followed by a cask for 12 months. Very light bodied, fruity however a bit simple and not the most compelling wine of the night:

2008 Fontezoppa Marche Rosso

2. 2009 Brut Naveran Cava – Shrimp and pineapple wrapped in bacon

I’m not a huge fan of super dry sparkling wines – they remind me of bad champagnes that leave a bad aftertaste in your mouth.  Cavas, I find, tend to avoid this issue but often lack the complexity and depth that good champagnes can develop. This cava was as expected – light, refreshing and crisp – just dry enough to not leave a lingering taste and the bubbles were great with the bacon. The cava is made from Chardonnay and parellada with bottle fermentation and 2 years of aging:

2009 Brut Naveran Cava

3. 2010 Yves Cuilleron Condrieu La Petite Cote – Strawberries with vanilla ice cream and balsamic vinegar

For me, the wine of the night. 100% viognier from northern Rhone, the wine was incredibly aromatic and slightly sweet. Went well with this palate cleansing coarse, however, when consumed with salty food, you could easily see the saltiness and fruit. Fermentation is done in oak barrels with natural yeasts. Total annual production is about 24,000 bottles:

2010 Yves Cuilleron Condrieu La Petite Cote

4. 2006 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet – Prime rib roast

A delicious main course was the oven roasted prime rib. Cooked perfectly and served with the wine Diane and I brought – a solid Napa Cabernet. What you’d expect – very fruit forward, with sweet, smooth and balanced tannins. Aromas of plums and blackberries – very easy drinking. The blend is 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.  Aged for 25 months in 100% new American oak and 20 months in the bottle:

2006 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet

5. 2010 Patrick Piuze Chablis, Terroir de Chablis – assorted cheeses

Pedro and Christina brought the wine for the cheese course. He asked for a suggestion from me earlier in the day and I sent him to NY Vintners. The chablis was perfect – after a long meal with the heavy meat course right behind us, a lighter wine with citrus and minerality was perfect with the various cheeses:

2010 Patrick Piuze Chablis, Terroir de Chablis

6. 2004 Madame Fleur Sauterne – red velvet cake and other assorted desserts

The last course was a full dessert dish with a Sauternes. I have very little experience with sauternes but tend to find that they typically err on the side of being too sweet and syrupy and lack the necessary acidity to balance the wine. I found the same to be true with this – while a pleasant wine with the dessert courses, definitely needed to be taken in a small portion:

2004 Madame Fleur Sauternes

* 2008 Fontezoppa Marche Rosso

** 2009 Brut Naveran Cava

*** 2010 Yves Cuilleron Condrieu La Petite Cote

** 2006 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet

** 2010 Patrick Piuze Chablis, Terroir de Chablis

* 2004 Madame Fleur Sauterne

Double Birthday Dinner @ Dan and Sul’s

11 November 2011, 27 N. Moore St., Manhattan

Dan and Anthony (my coworkers) wanted to plan a dinner to celebrate two birthdays – mine which had just passed (11/4) and Diane’s which is coming up in a week (11/19).  I need to start out by thanking Dan, Sul, Anthony and Jennifer for an incredible evening.  Dan and Sul were our hosts at their gorgeous new Tribeca apartment (along with Panchito and Nacho).  Ryan from New York Vintners, our preferred NYC wine store, came over with Jesse to cook the meal.  Dukie, another coworker, joined solo since his better half had other dinner plans.  Dan and Anthony provided all the wines for the meal.

Diane and I tried to come up with something useful to bring and after being told the wine was “taken care of”, we decided to go for some white truffles that are now in season:

White truffles before being added to the pasta

We started with some cured meats and manchego cheese (my favorite) with two bottles of Dom Perignon, 1998:

1998 Dom Perignon

I’m not a huge fan of champagne in general – I tend to find them too dry and biting to really enjoy but this was an incredible wine.  Bread-like flavors with an incredibly smooth start and finish – lacks the over-dryness I dislike in most champagnes.  With the first course of the meal, we had two bottles of Domaine Vocoret & Fils, Les Clos Chablis Grand Cru, 2008:

2008 Domaine Vocoeet & Fils, Les Clos Chablis Grand Cru

Perfect example of a great Chablis – a citrus/mineral-like taste and high acidity. Refreshing but also subtle with complexity.  Diane’s favorite wine of the night.

Our meal: mixed green salad with roasted figs, a miso dressing and fleur de sel (a.k.a. crack salt).  Two pasta courses were next – one had three types of mushrooms along with the shaved white truffles, the second was a lamb ragu pasta.  Our first pasta:

The main course were Brandt farm filet mignons.  They were so tender you can easily cut them with butter knives.  Taken down with two bottles of Pianpolvere Soprano Barolo Bussia Riserva, 2000.  Incredibly complex wine –  pronounced vegetal aroma, some oak and spice and an incredibly long finish.  In the Parker notes for this wine, they mention that Bruno Giacosa was once asked what the best terroirs in Barolo were.  The best one? Pianpolvere:

2000 Pianpolvere Soprano Barolo Bussia Riserva

Dessert was two birthday cakes – one for me and one for Diane (Dan noted Diane’s was a yellow cake – har har).  Along with dessert we had the wine of the night for me, a Chateau d’Yquem, 2002:

2002 Chateau d'Yquem

While I’m 100% an Italian wine guy with a strong preference to Barolos and Barbarescos, Chateau d’Yquem is the perfect wine to me.  Its incredible balance of sweetness and acidity, the smell of honey and sweet fruit, and the absolutely incredible finish – no wine can compare.  It’s made from Semillon grapes that are partially “rotting” to increase their sugar levels but somehow, that climate, terroir and winemaker produces one of the best wines I’ve ever had.

Thanks again to everyone for an incredible night.

Wines:

*** 1998 Dom Perignon

*** 2008 Domaine Vocoret & Fils, Les Clos Chablis Grand Cru

*** 2000 Pianpolvere Soprano Barolo Bussia Riserva

**** 2002 Chateau d’Yquem