TNs -- TWEC (TM) Tasting Menu at CORE Restaurant in TO: Champagne, Pinots, & Tokaji

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Tran Bronstein
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TNs -- TWEC (TM) Tasting Menu at CORE Restaurant in TO: Champagne, Pinots, & Tokaji

#1 Post by Tran Bronstein » April 26th, 2019, 7:22 am


NOTE: I will be leaving to the US shortly to visit board member Humberto Dorta for DortaFest VI soon. If this post is unfinished I will continue from the US when I can.

The Toronto Wine Elitist Cabal (TM) returned to CORE restaurant on Queen West in Toronto last night. Board members Jay Shampur, Mike Grammer and myself met up with the trio of board members Peter Papay, Sean Provencher and Dylan Provencher whom we hadn't seen in a while and properly rectified that mistake last night for some amazing food, laughs, and of course great wine.

Floor manager Alex served as a wonderful host and the kitchen staff led by chef-owner Hyun Jung Kim delivered under somewhat trying circumstances. The night before, they had been broken into by a thief probably looking for a quick alcohol fix who amazingly bypassed their laptop and expensive liquor and settled for some opened bottles of white wine. Naturally, they'd been up all night dealing with police into the day not to mention cleanup, repair and insurance hassles. I called and offered to reschedule but they said they were good to go and confirmed our numbers and that Jay was coming with his special dietary needs. I confirmed and also told Alex we'd be bringing a gift to help alleviate their major headache and hassles today, referring to the theft, and without skipping a beat she replied "No worries, we're used to dealing with Jay." [wow.gif] For that zinger alone, she has my eternal gratitude and undying loyalty. On to the wines and food:

NICHOLAS FEUILLATTE 2008 BRUT CHAMPAGNE -- My contrib. Crisp, chalky and lemony. Very refreshing, probably the best of the three Champagnes we downed in that characterstic, but the body was surprisingly light with very slight bubbles. Pretty good. I lived up to my rep as persona non grata in Princess Jay's presence when I offered Alex a taste and she politely declined as we had brought her the Champagne gift. No sooner does this happen that she goes and tops Jay off, he offers her a taste, and she accepts and toasts with him with MY champagne!!! [swearing.gif] Did I say something about eternal gratitude and undying loyalty before? She's dead to me now!
Nicolas Feuillatte 2008 Champagne

Rather than bring one contrib, Dylan made it fun by bringing what I officially dub Dylan's Interactive Multiple Choice Grab Bag of Wines (TM). He brought several completely different wines and had us choose his contrib for him in a democratic vote.
Dylan's Interactive Multiple Choice Grab Bag of Wines (TM)

PIERRE GIMONNET 2009 BRUT CHAMPAGNE -- The first winner was this champagne. Far more bread on the nose than the Feuillatte. Less crisp but more rich bread and baked apple flavors. Really surprisingly, I found the body even slighter than the Feuillatte. Enjoyable vintage but I felt it could've shown better.
Pierre Gimonnet 2009 Champagne

PEARL MORISSETTE 2012 CUVEE JP CHARDONNAY -- Gunpowder nose, gorgeous bright gold color, very creamy texture, a touch reductive but great citrus notes and bursting with fruits. Mike calls them as banan and plantain. Peter notes it has a Cali Chard profile and is fully mature. I disagreed as I think it will last much longer but it's drinking beautifully right now. Easily the match of a 1er Cru Chablis. Exceedingly well done for Ontario Chardonnay.
Pearl Morissette 2012 Cuveé JP Chardonnay

RAPET 2015 SAVIGNE-LES-BEAUNE 1ER CRU AUX FOURNAUX -- This superb red Burgundy at a steal of a price of just $45 CDN per Mike has great acidity, crisp red and black raspberry fruit and a really strong raspberry fruit nose. It was the first of three different Pinot Noirs we had and that may not have been necessarily a good thing as the other two were fine wines that couldn't get out of this wine's shadow. I've argued before against bringing more than one of the same kind of wine at these dinners and this was another reinforcement. Which doesn't at all detract from the fact that this was just great.
Rapet 2015 Savigny-les-Beaune
RIPPON 2013 CENTRAL OTAGO PINOT NOIR -- Smoke and pencil lead on the nose. Black raspberry fruit mixes with what the guys called as bacon, toasted fish scales, and Amaretto flavors. Peter called it a Jolly Rancher raspberry candy. All of this was accurate. NZ Pinot is its own unique thing. The problem is that NZ Sauvignon Blanc has conditioned us to expect it to similar to Burgundy and it's not. This was very good but fell far short of the Rapet which I think is unfair to the wine. But not as unfair as it was to...
Rippon 2013 Central Otago Pinot Noir

FIVE ROWS 2014 PINOT NOIR -- This Ontario Pinot came from one of the worst red vintage years we've had here in Ontario, Canada and still manages to pull off quite the accomplishment for a young red from a bad year. More raspberry fruit than the Rippon but not as much as the Rapet. A little green celery notes in there, highly acidic and a touch chalky. Huge potential here and we had it way too young. We really should've opened the Syrah instead as there was no way this was going to stand out compared to the other two even if it was fun to compare and contrast.
Five Rows Syrah and Pinot Noir
Five Rows 2014 Pinot Noir

TATTINGER NV BRUT CHAMPAGNE -- A palate cleanser ordered off of the menu before dessert. The only champagne of the night to crack above 10 grams of RS/L at 11 grams, it's interesting that the sweetness and richness really stood out for me. I didn't consider standard level Brut as sweet before but we could all really detect it after the two previous ones which clock in at 10 or lower. You wouldn't think that one single gram would make that much of a difference in perceived sweetness but it does. And that's fine, this is a very enjoyable champagne with the richest body and classic baked apple, bread, and lemon flavors I expect from Champagne. An enjoyable standard.
Tattinger NV Brut Champagne
TOKAJSKA VYBEROVA 2003 TOKAJI ESSENCIA -- Brought by Peter's parents all the way from Europe to Canada, this rare SLOVAKIAN, not Hungarian, Tokaji "Essencia" to be honest was more between 5 and 6 Puttonyos rather than true Essencia but was still pretty damn good. Amazing burnished dark bronze color. Huge tropical baked fruit flavors with a touch of toasty lees and vanilla. High lemony acidity. 180 grams of RS/L.
Tokajska Vyberova 2003 Tokaji Essencia
Greetings from the US. Core put together a great tasting menu for us to go with our wines. We started with the house bread and cultured butter:
House Bread & Cultured Butter

Our amouse was a wood charcoal grilled prawn that was delicious and smoky:
Wood Grilled Prawn Amouse

Mike can't have shellfish so he had an apple parsnip soup topped with brown butter crumble:
Apple Parsnip Soup

Our first course was a delicious tuna albacore crudo dressed with radish matchsticks and citrus ponzu dressing:
Tuna Albacore Crudo

Our next course was grilled octopus and cauliflower topped with brown butter crumble:
Grilled Octopus

Next was a delicious and lean leg of pork dresssed with barley and parsnip puree:
Leg of Pork

Our main was beer tenderloin with pickled mushrooms, spinach, mustard seed and scalloped potatoes:\\
Beef Ribeye au Jus

Our dessert was an absolutely delicious fresh lemon tart with poached rhubarb. (not pictured)

What a great meal. Our thanks to Alex and all the staff for providing a great evening under trying circumstances and for understanding that Jay is more of a headache to deal with than thieves are! neener We will of course return
Last edited by Tran Bronstein on April 27th, 2019, 8:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
Tran's the smart one!- M Grammer

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Peter Papay
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Re: TNs -- TWEC (TM) Tasting Menu at CORE Restaurant in TO: Champagne, Pinots, & Tokaji

#2 Post by Peter Papay » April 26th, 2019, 7:33 pm

Thank you for your notes Tran.

It was a pleasure to meet up with some of the usual suspects to share great food and wine combined with delightful conversation.

I was personally disappointed from the rather diluted showing of the Essencia which also lacked on botrytised notes. Its a shame that the local producer would put their financial profit above the quality of juice they are filling into the bottle.

The Rapet stole the show in the Pinot department but it was an uneven fight. Both cold climate competitors didn't stand a chance albeit their enticing bouquets.

I got just a bit more complexity on the Feuillatte but the Gimonnet was behind by just a hair. Tattinger was a different animal all together.

The only disagreement I have with Tran's notes is on the chard by Pearl Morissette which despises Ontario typicity. Its full mouthfeel and creamy texture together with highly extracted notes reminiscent of banana makes one believe that this is rather a cali chard and not a cold climate one.

Till we meet again.

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Mike Grammer
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Re: TNs -- TWEC (TM) Tasting Menu at CORE Restaurant in TO: Champagne, Pinots, & Tokaji

#3 Post by Mike Grammer » April 27th, 2019, 7:27 am

Thanks for putting the initial notes up, Tran. It was indeed a splendid evening of fun and great wine. Lots of interest to have 3 champers to compare at the same time. I'd had the Taittinger NV Brut last week here at Core and it was consistent with that bottle, pretty structured and sort of strict, but in a fine way. I've also had the 2008 Nicholas Feuillatte Brut recently. An earlier-drinking wine of what certainly looks to be a star vintage, this combined strong yellow fruit presence with a fine mousse and lingering finish with some sweetish hay notes. I have been more and more a fan of Gimmonet as I get to try more and the 2009 Gimmonet Brut certainly qualifies. Terrific drive here with crystalline apple and ginger notes in equal measure. Just kept the line right through the night and was, I think, my WOTN

The 2012 Pearl Morrissette Cuvee J.P. Chard was a vintage of this I'd not had. I know there has been some debate on the board about whether one can "taste" a natural wine, but that is what the sum total was for me when I sniffed and sampled this. In this case, my issue was that nothing came into focus for me here. The use of oak was fairly well-judged, I think, but it just didn't seem to know what it wanted to be. A tad disappointing.

More than a tad disappointing for me was the 2013 Rippon PN that I ordered off the list (and super-hats off to Alex, Raul, Cameron, chef and everyone at Core for cheerfully hosting us after a break-in the night before!) The others were somewhat forgiving. I was not, expecting much more heft and spine and character. It had some decent cherry, chokecherry and earth flavours, but with a definite ceiling, and not a very high one.

I was quite pleased with the (one of these times, Tran will get the year of my wine correct [grin.gif] ) 2015 Domaine Rapet Savigny-Les Beaunes Aux Fournaux, the first wine I can remember tasting from this house. An open 15, it showed real Savigny character with tart berry spine and acidity, yet relatively light on its feet and a kiss of sweetness at the back. Sadly no more of this at the LCBO, but a very good QPR for about $50 CDN. I do have one more. My #2 on this night.

The 2014 Five Rows PN was good to try. It was (IMHO) a rather down year for Pinot in that year in Ontario and this one, while not moving the needle, also doesn't suck--it has requisite freshness and carry, if one-dimensional on the raspberry flavours.

The 2003 Tokajska Vyberova Tokaji Eszencia was a special treat from Peter. I've never even *heard* of a Slovakian Tokaji. We all agree that this was no "Eszencia"---my own call is about 5.5 putts---but I think we all agreed that it was a delightful sweetie with plenty of talking points, apricot, peach and pear butter among them. Very enjoyable for what it was.

Loved seeing Sean, Dylan and Peter again---and of course, Tran and Jay ;) We all vowed to get together again sooner rather than later.
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