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