It was a busy and eventful year so we had a lot of things to celebrate this year and some incredible wines to match.
21 December 2014, Gotham Bar & Grill, Manhattan
One year earlier, I had proposed to Diane and we went to dinner at Gotham Bar & Grill to celebrate. A year later, I surprised her by having her parents and my brother join us. In addition to a superb seasonal menu, we had:
The same wine we had in Piedmont at La Ciau del Tornavento – it remains my favorite Champagne I’ve ever tasted. His solera-style Pinot Noir based wine is utterly profound with huge textural depth and richness. It develops over time in the glass as the Champagne warms up to room temperature. Floral and fruity armoas overlay the biscuity/brioche flavors of the wine. 98 points
Our white for the evening was from one of our favorite producers in Burgundy:
Still very young and tense with a piercing acidity that made me think of Chablis initially. Mainly lemon and citrus at this point as I believe this is still too young to hit its proper stride but still a good wine. 90 points
We finished the meal with the wine that was a turning point for both Diane and I:
We tasted this wine for the first time 4 years ago and it was the first “wow” wine we shared together. It immediately made Giacosa one of our favorite producers and Barolo one of our favorite regions to this day. This wine was in top form with the perfect combination of sweet candied fruits with the complexity of leather, cigar box and damp earth that age adds to Barolos. Don’t think this improves much more although I think it will continue to hold on for another 5 years at least. 96 points
24 December 2014, 222 Park Ave. South, Manhattan
We were fortunate enough to share Christmas Eve with Anthony, Jennifer, Jennifer’s mom and Nicolas at their apartment. An incredible meal of smoked salmon (from Scotland!) and rack of lamb with potatoes was delicious as always. As is becoming a bit of a tradition this holiday season, we started with our favorite Blanc de Blancs:
The tasting notes from our visit to the winery are still relevant here. An incredibly complex wine that’s still an infant but shows freshness as a result. 96 points
For the smoked salmon, we moved on to a Champagne with more Pinot in the blend:
Again, the tasting notes from the Chateau visit are relevant here although as we spent more time with this wine during the meal, I felt the wine started to open up more, possibly hinting at its potential down the road. White stone fruit and more textural depth than the Ruinart. 93+ points
The piece de resistance of the night was the red Anthony opened for us – the best Bordeaux experience I’ve ever had:
You can taste the large portion of Merlot with the great body. It still has huge structure as you’d expect from Palmer but in this instance with the tannins balanced and smooth and the entire palate in perfect harmony. I’m not sure if Bordeaux can get better than this … but in case it can: 99 points
25 December 2014, 100 Jane Street, Manhattan
Our Christmas dinner was spread out over a few hours as we moved from cured meats and cheeses to the various courses of the meal. The highlight of the food was a 4 oz white truffle which we paired with several courses but the wines made it special.
With our cured meats and cheeses, we had:
- N.V. Veuve Clicquot (Yellow Label) – a great entry level wine that’s simpler than its vintage brethren. Good acidity and citrus fruit with just minor hints of bread. A good aperitif. 89 points
- 2004 Veuve Cliqcuot La Grande Dame (see note above) – showed just as well one day later. 93+ points
For our first course, we had baked eggs with white truffles. I wanted a lighter but medium bodied white to pair with the truffles here so we went with a 2010 Emidio Pepe Pecorino. This was my first experience with a Pepe white and I wasn’t a huge fan of the fairly oxidative style although the pairing was decent. Golden yellow color with some honeysuckle and peach on the palate. Too much air for a 2010 in my opinion. Curious to see how this changes in bottle although I’m not sure it’s going to get matierally better. 88 points
For our pasta course, we had the simple tajarin with white truffles, paired with a wine Nard brought, the 1996 Eraldo Viberti Barolo. Drinking perfectly now from a strong vintage, the Viberti has everyone you want in a Barolo of this age, it just is lacking the extra “it” factor to make it an exceptional wine and I think it’s at the peak of its drinking window at this point. 90 points.
The main course featured a roasted pork shoulder, green beans with almonds and Diane’s famous mashed potatoes. This paired with a second bottle Nard brought, the 2003 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo that was drinking exceptionally well for an off vintage. Great complexity on the palate and a lingering finish – I’m not sure this gets better but it might so I’m going to wait before trying another one. 92+ points
We’re going to have to open some serious wines on New Year’s Eve to top this …