TN: TWEC (TM) Returns to Langdon Hall

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Tran Bronstein
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TN: TWEC (TM) Returns to Langdon Hall

#1 Post by Tran Bronstein »

Berserkers,

It's been a long time coming but the original four members of the Toronto Wine Elitist Cabal (TM) -- Mike Grammer, Michael Wright, Jay Shampur and yours truly -- reunited in person for our 9th anniversary (where does the time go?) at one of our favorite spots, Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario. Langdon Hall is a spa and resort famous for its architecture, amenities, and dining halls and its popularity as a wedding location. In fact, the first thing we saw upon entering the grounds was a couple taking their wedding photos. Nice to see those returning.

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First off the bat were the requisite original cocktails. Michael Wright and Jay both had the Lady Pauline (not pictured) made with Gin, lime leaf tincture, pineapple juice, Bittered Sling Lem-Marrakech bitters and egg white. I had the Wilks' Pool Club made with blanco Tequila, créme de banane liqueur, pineapple juice, and coconut flavor La Croix sparkling water.

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We started our meal with a trio of appetizers. First up was the Warm Coddled Egg with confit garlic, anchovy lemon vinaigrette, parmesan crumble and fine herbs on a bed of foraged greens. Our server Emily told us the classic Caesar Salad was the inspiration for this dish.

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We also had the Chilled Lobster with coconut, passion fruit and cilantro.

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Our last appetizer was the Glazed Carrots with crispy buckwheat, ricotta salata and bee pollen.

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Our main courses started with the Beer Battered Cod with savory chubby chips, Worcestershire powder, egg and caper remoulade.

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The next main was a Ora King Salmon with dry sherry, honey, green onion and mushroom nage. The honey used in the dish is commissioned exclusively for Langdon Hall and the Salmon comes all the way from New Zealand and is 100% certified sustainable.

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The third main was the Chicken Cassoulette, a chicken, white vegetable and Northern bean stew with smoked bacon and duck fat herb crumbs.

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The last main was the Beef Short Rib with roasted shallot, creamy pommes purée, parsley, smoked pecan and bacon ragoût.

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Last came the scrumptious desserts. First up is the Coffee Almond Cake with chocolate sauce, butter cream and roasted coffee bean ice cream.

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Next was the Milk Chocolate Special. A specially commissioned 40% chocolate from France is used to make the crémeux, cocoa fudge with roasted yogurt crumb. Executive Chef Jason Bamgerter traveled all the way to France himself in 2019 to taste every individual chocolate blend before settling on this one and having it imported exclusively.

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Next was the Apple Rhubarb Crumble topped with housemade vanilla ice cream.

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Last was Jay's Créme Brulée which he couldn't finish so I had the pleasure of finishing this beauty off for him.

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So of course we had some exceptional wines to go with this. Jay ordered two beautiful Champagnes off the house list to share to start us off with. First off was the Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne 2011 "La Haute" Lemble Lieu-dit Blanc de Blancs. This 100% Chardonnay sparkler had a beautiful brioche and baked apple flavor with a ton of crispness.

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Next was the Delamotte NV Brut Rosé. Lots of crisp cranberry on this one but also much less complex than the Bouchard. 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, this Champagne uses the traditional maceration winemaking technique that is rarely used in Champagne. Interesting that this sparkler which is quite reddish-pink in color photographs as orange in bright natural daylight.

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Michael ordered the Valdicava 2005 Brunello di Montalcino from the list. This was a beautiful red in perfect drinking condition that went superbly with my Short Rib main. Plum and black cherry, integrated tannins and the telltale trademark cedar, pine needle and slight menthol notes that make Brunello instantly recognizable.

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Our last wine the Mas Amiel 1980 Maury Millésimé. This stunning dessert wine is a fortified Maury that is brick red in color, opens with rancio and freshly stewed red fruit compote flavors that never let up and then suddenly hits you with a blazing Riesling like searing acidity that bowls you over. I actually looked this up on CellarTracker and I'm telling you the notes do not do this justice or make clear just how stunning this is. I have never had any red fortified wine with this high of an acidity level ever before. This is made with Grenache which is of course the famous component of Chateauneuf du Pape. Now, that's a delicious red wine style but nobody ever notes CdP for blazing searing acidity and they certainly don't note Maury or Banyuls for it, either. In fact, I've had much younger Banyuls that had nowhere near this level of acidity. I was expecting a Vintage Port-like experience and instead got a fortified nirvana.

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My fellow TWEC (TM) members were equally stunned and impressed. I was actually going to leave the remainder for the staff and Mike, Jay and Michael were quite adamant in insisting I pour some of the remainder back in the bottle and take it home with me. To place that in perspective, the last two times we were there they couldn't have cared less that I left the staff the remainder of the bottle. Mr. Wright even complimented me on how magnanimous I was. This time he was like "Tran! Take the bottle home!!!" Now usually I pick wines based on their being way too good for sharing with people, but this was a historic TWEC (TM) first -- the other members actually literally agreed with me this time and forced me to take the bottle back! [wow.gif] Nevertheless, I did leave our lovely CAPS certified server Emily with a bit of remainder in the decanter as we really wanted her to try some. Wow. Had I known how good this would be, I would've gotten at least two more bottles. They say there are really no special occasion wines because they're all special occasions but you know what? This was a special occasion wine and was so worth it. I brought an Offley 1980 Colheita Port as a backup in case this bottle was bad and it probably would've come in a very distant second to this. Biased as I am towards my own wine, this was most definitely Wine of the Night for me and probably likely for everyone else as well.

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We'd like to thank all the kitchen and floor staff at Langdon Hall for this tremendous lunch celebration and especially our lovely and gracious server Emily who took fine care of us. We will be returning in November for a birthday dinner celebration.

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Re: TN: TWEC (TM) Returns to Langdon Hall

#2 Post by Brian Pinci »

Sounds like a wonderful time. Thanks for the tasting notes. I’ve never tried that dessert wine
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Re: TN: TWEC (TM) Returns to Langdon Hall

#3 Post by Mont Stern »

Langdon Hall is a place that I have been meaning to visit.

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Re: TN: TWEC (TM) Returns to Langdon Hall

#4 Post by Mike Grammer »

Thanks for starting this thread so vibrantly, Tran, with the wonderful pictures and prose. Yes, it had been a sight too long since Tran, Jay, Michael and me had been able to get together, and we had missed the service and food here very much indeed. Absence makes the zings grow fonder, as the repartee was accompanied by much laughter, good cheer and almost astonished bemusement on Emily's part.

2011 Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne La haute Lemble BdB

I'd had a 2010 Roses about 18 months ago and loved it. This was also a lovable Champers. Apple with perhaps a tiny bit of unripe pear at the corners, this distinguished itself by how poised and balanced it was, both aromatically and on the palate. It was a wine that rewarded repeat sipping. Very good indeed.

Delamotte NV Brut Rose

To contrast it, Jay also ordered this bubbly. This is crisp and pleasing with, as Tran notes, some cranberry and also a li'l sweet rhubarb lurking. It tracks with what I've had from this house in the past and remains great value.

2005 Valdicava Brunello

Although I had brought something, I wanted to order off the list both to support the restaurant and because it's a pretty good list. I chatted with Emily about choosing this vs. the 2001 Giaconda Nantua Chard they had and she felt this would indeed be ready. With an hour's decant and an hour in the glass....it is *just* ready. Still somewhat toddlercide here, you can't deny the tremendous class that this presents, from the first sniff to the last gulp. Wonderful bouquet of leather, violets, dusted cocoa and dark berry fruit. Palate is somewhat stern but very proportional---I confess that it was never going to match with the beer battered cod but the red plums and berry fruit really woke up when tasted with Tran's short ribs. I also will conclude that in the Brunello world, I think I am in the old school camp, because this has every aspect of future beauty to me---in 15 years or so :) But for what was accessible to us today, it was a joy for me to consume.

1980 Mas Amiel Maury

Is it possible? A grenache-based wine that wowed me? (that isn't Rayas?). It would seem so. Dazzling example which, by a long country mile is the best Maury or Banyuls I've ever tried. Intoxicating nose smells like chocolate-infused buttertarts. The acidity is remarkable when it hits my tongue, really keeping freshness as an element throughout the mouth. Elements of dates, black plums, bit of raisin and a very small touch of clove make for plenty of interest taste-wise. Really has a chance to sneak into my WOTY list. Huge thanks, Tran.

A bientot

Mike
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Re: TN: TWEC (TM) Returns to Langdon Hall

#5 Post by Tran Bronstein »

Thanks, Mike. I am sipping on some right now as I write this response and it's changed a little in that there's now some rubber on the nose and more rancio and less fruit are coming through making it more Tawny Port like -- but the blazing acidity has not relented in the least and is still especially strong on the finish.

I forgot to mention I got this as the SAQ in Montreal I believe two summers ago. I looked it up on the SAQ website today and the bad news is that there is no more of this vintage. The good news is that I have two bottles of their 30 year old. The better news is there is.... something else... very very special waiting for me to pick up upon my next visit to Montreal to see the family.... flirtysmile
Click to see spoiler:
They have in several bottles of the 1969 vintage.
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