Dinner at Tabla (Portland, OR):

Tremendous Dinner last night at Tabla in Portland. Outstanding food, remarkable value and excellent wine service. And the wines were pretty good too.

  1. 97 Vilmart Grand Cellier d’ Or 1er Cru Champagne: racy and floral at the same time. Gorgeous nose of orange peel, squeezed lemon and palate with good acid and cut. Not a blockbuster but damn good. All this from an off vintage? Pretty impressive stuff.

  2. 95 Chave Hermitage Blanc: decanted x 45 minutes (not enough), color of deep golden yellow just slightly browning. Nose extremely muted at first, then gradually unfolded into layers of white flower, honeysuckle. Dense and wound up on the palate but eventually yielded into a terrific wine which somehow complemented the egg and truffle ravioli remarkably well. Nuts, peach, white pepper and touch of sherry, though not madeirized. Not nearly as interesting as the 2001 we drank a few months ago, but no slouch. I think it needs more time. One thing about decanting white wines is that they obviously warm up…anybody out there keep your decanted white wines slightly chilled?

  3. 00 Rostaing Cote-Rotie : deep purple. Nose of elegant but briary fruit, blackberry but not cloying. Palate revealed elegant syrah without heaviness, seamless polished wine but lacked punch one would hope for from this region. While it lacked the meaty intensity of great C-Rs, it was by all accounts a lovely drink; a wine that doesn’t want to be the center stage but an amusing side-show that delights but will be forgotten in time. I’d say drink these up in the next 5 years as I’m not sure the wine will much to hang it’s hat on if the feminine fruit starts to fade.

  4. 96 and 98 Clos Rougeard: OK, this was a fascinating contrast in vintages from a terrific producer of Cabernet Franc from the Loire. First, the 96: brighter nose of cranberry, strawberry and cola—initially could pass as warm climate pinot noir—then the earth and acid poke their heads up and this wine would confuse many of us (me, for sure) in a blind tasting. A delight that doesn’t browbeat the drinker, teases the wine geek and pairs effortlessly with meat, game and the terrific spring Chinook we had last night. The 98 was a much more masculine version of this wine, with density and structure lacking in the 96. For me, this was a more substantial wine that will continue to age whereas it is hard to see the 96 improving from this point on. I think the 98 would have benefitted from an hour or two in a decanter…or a few more years in the cellar. Both wines were perfect “bistro” wines and I love this producer. Note that wine drinkers who love big, chewy, extracted cab/merlot/shiraz may not like or “get” these wines.

Great notes. Tabla is one of our favorite restaurants in town - their prixe fixe dinner is one of the best deals in town, I think, and I appreciate their quirky, well-priced wine list too. Didn’t realize they were BYOB friendly.

My wife and I went to Tabla on our first date. Great place.

Great notes Doug. We’ll definitely be trying Tabla. Portland has such a great restaurant scene. Nostrana last night was spectacular.

Doesn’t this belong in Food and Wine . . . err . . . Epicurious Exploits? newhere [snort.gif]

Doug, Thanks for the notes. Also Tabla is one of my favorite places to go when in PDX on business. Love the Tabla Ravioli and Duck Confit especially.