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

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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

2005 Federico Crianza Ribera del Duero

13 November 2011, 100 Jane Street, Manhattan

We needed a wine to sip on after a long day of watching football.  Nard and I ordered Cuban take-out for dinner and opened a bottle of Ribera.  Wooj and Manoj came to watch the night game and helped us finish it:

2005 Federico Crianza Ribero del Duero

Deep purple color and had a decent nose. It smelled like meat/leather to me although there wasn’t strong agreement with the rest of the group.  Despite the color, I found the wine to be very smooth and approachable – did not need decanting to be enjoyable but it did change over time in the glass.

I did a little research on the vineyard and producer and learned the following:

  • Bodegas Federico was founded in 1986 in Pesquero de Duero, Valladolid within Ribera del Duero by Federico Fernandez Perez
  • 100% Tempranillo is grown in the 70 acres (30 hectares) of land which has low rainfall and extreme temperature differentials
  • Federico makes traditional Ribera wines and produces a Roble, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva (based on how long they are aged in oak barrels) – the Crianza is aged for 12 months in oak and several years in bottles before release
  • Recommended with lamb dishes although it went well with the beef and pork dishes we had

Federico vineyard in Ribera

** 2005 Federico Crianza Ribera del Duero, $30