Dinner w/ great wines from Bollinger, 2 stars from Baumard and 5 from Guigal

A recent dinner/ wine promotion was held at the highly acclaimed local restaurant, Opal. The evening was sponsored by the fine local wine shop, Renegade Wines and featured some of the special wines from US importer, Vintus.

Vintus was represented by vice president of brand management and development and good friend, Patrick Will, who brings decades of experience, knowledge and wine savviness to any wine occasion especially from regions such as Rhone, Burgundy, Champagne, Bordeaux and Loire.

On this night, Patrick presented a consistently fine champagne from Bollinger, many wonderful wines from E. Guigal and a highly respected Savennieres and dessert wine from Domaine des Baumard.

Many of the wines came from his personal cellar. Only 2 of the 8 wines poured were available for purchase on this night, the NV Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee and the 2010 E. Guigal Brune et Blonde. There were younger vintages available for some of the others.

The uber conscientious Opal co-owner, Richard Yates, coordinated the perfect food pairings with his kitchen staff and his competent wait staff provided the usual dedicated service to make this a completely wonderful evening.

The menu:

Starter Course 1- Amuse Bouche

Shredded phyllo wrapped flash fried fresh tiger prawn with a coconut curry dipping sauce [a signature dish] and curry vegetable puff pastry empanada with a mild jalapeno cilantro aioli

Starter Course 2

Miso Grand Marnier glazed seared Kurobuta pork belly on mixed gourmet greens with homemade citrus vinaigrette

Starter Course 3

Seared fresh sea scallop on a warm angel hair pasta salad with watercress, sliced avocado, tomatoes and roasted red pepper vinaigrette

Main Courses- a choice of

Herb grilled filet mignon with whipped truffle butter Yukon potatoes and a port wine-Marsala and wild mushroom cream sauce

Pan seared fresh wild salmon with a fresh raspberry beurre blanc with whipped Yukon potatoes and fresh seasonal vegetables

Vegetable Napolean with a Gorgonzola potato cake and wild mushrooms with grilled eggplant, sautéed garlic spinach, grilled polenta and a roasted tomato sauce and fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano


Ice wine poached pear in phyllo basket with a green tea crème anglaise

The wines:

NV BOLLINGER BRUT SPECIAL CUVEE- a blend of over 15 different vintages; I`ve enjoyed many a bottle of this fine bubbly and this bottle shined as many before it have done; at first, it started out slowly and was a bit subdued, then it moved into another dimension and became more approachable but not yet ready to give its all and then finally on the 3rd taste, it revealed its treasures and showed off its attributes of elegance along with rich and full on flavors.

2010 DOMAINE des BAUMARD CLOS du PAPILLON SAVENNIERES LOIRRE- Papillon means butterfly which represents the shape of this vineyard which produces very special Chenin Blanc and this bottle confirmed such; it had bright acidity to compliment the grassy, herbal aromatics and a nice texture that carried the treats through to the back end; it had a medium body with lemon based citrus and green apple notes graciously expanding and a bit of dryness past mid palate with late arriving minerality; loved it and it was so food friendly especially in this instance marrying perfectly with the 1st starter course; our presenter mentioned having part of another bottle at home, capping it and placing in the refrigerator only to have forgotten about it and the re-discovering it 10 cays later and it was even more superb.

2012 E. GUIGAL CONDRIEU LA DORIANE- from a selection of some of the better parcels among the steeply terraced vineyards, this is aged in 100% new oak although that was not readily apparent; what is apparent is this is great wine; it had a hit of bacon in the nose along with some clove and minerals which continued on and was joined by licorice flavored stone fruit notes and served up in a lush, creamy like texture which perpetuated the experience through a long finish; as good as it is now, it has many years to evolve into even more greatness.

2010 E. GUIGAL BRUNE et BLONDE COTE ROTIE- “96% Syrah, 4% Viognier; made with 65% new wood and co-fermented; sourced from a combination of fruit from the hills”; this is really beautiful and elegant, not big but nicely balanced holding a steady course throughout the experience; first, I got a good hit of pepper, then a nice sprinkling of spice came in and stayed the course along with delicious licorice and mild mineral infused blackberry and plum; fabulously tasty and a real treat now and promises to be for a long road down the line.

1999 E. GUIGAL BRUNE et BLONDE COTE ROTIE- it was very interesting to find this almost as youthful and flamboyant as the 10; in fact, it was a good representation of what the 10 can become in 11 years which is a really good thing; vibrant, forward fruitiness abounds with spicy cranberry, black cherry and blueberry notes along with a mild bacon accent and Asian spices; it`s got complexity, depth and a full body with nice length; “made with 20% new oak”; loved it.

1996 E. GUIGAL CHATEAU dAMPUIS COTE ROTIE- Etienne Guigal founded his winery in 1946 among the 2,400 year old vines in the village of Ampuis; aside from the La Las, Ive found this to be almost as stellar every time I visit it and this bottle was no exception, in fact, it was my WOTN; “the first vintage for this wine was in 1995; this was made with 12% Viognier and aged for 38 months in barrel”; the folks behind In Pursuit of Balance [IPOB] would love this one since it exudes the perfection of balance; it was silky smooth on the palate and gave luscious and generous amounts of plum, blackberry and black cherry flavors; the structure suggest this has the backbone to be a major factor for a long, viable lifetime; I`m loving it now.

1998 E. GUIGAL CHATEAU d AMPUIS COTE ROTIE- with an inky, dark purple color, this bottle was pretty intense and seemingly tight and holding back although its easy to see it has great stuffing to please big time in the future; the tannins were stiff and almost stifling, but the redeeming qualities of spicy, mild pepper inundated blueberry, red and black cherry shown through; once the tannins soften, assuming they will, this can be a winner.

2007 DOMAINE des BAUMARD QUARTS de CHAUME LOIRE- 375 ml; this was a sweet treat with an intense perfume wafting out of the glass that included honeyed pineapple, pear and green apple which is what coated the palate in a creamy substance that carried it on through to the back end and then held on for an ever lasting finish; nectar of the gods; should be even more ideal in about 15-20 years.

It`s always a special treat for me to be in the presence of Patrick Will. He is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge in [and outside of] the world of wine and one who I truly respect as the genuine article. He is so gracious and sincere and represents the epitome of what sharing the passion of wine is all about. Knowing many of these wines came from his cellar was extra special since it ensured quality provenance.

Great food, wines, service and people= a stellar evening.


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