Dinner with Guillaume

It just so happened that fellow Board member and world traveler Guillaume Deschamps was in town last night as he wraps up his extended tour of the U.S., so I took the opportunity to join him and Alex & Lisa Anthopoulos at one of my favorite BYOBs in the area, Alba. As I realized this morning, conversation must have been very good, as Guillaume and I did not spend one minute debating/discussing the NBA [wink.gif]

At any rate, we started with two white Burgs:
2002 Henri Boillot Meursault Les Charmes
2002 Henro Boillot Meursault Les Cras
If you like your chardonnay young & vibrant, I am beginning to think that 2002 has got to be one of the best vintages around for current consumption, and based upon the showing of the wines last night, Boillot did very well in this vintage. Both wines kept changing in the glass for us as we enjoyed them. The nose of the Cras had just a little hint of diesel/petrol that I find so alluring, and it initially came across slightly fatter/unfocused on the palate (although possessing laser-like focus on the nose), but I think we all concluded that was more due to the wine being slightly warmer on opening than ideal. Once we chilled it down, both of these wines were a thrill to drink side-by-side. At the end, to me there was just a little more in the Les Cras, but I would enjoy drinking either again.

We tried to have a flight of three red wines next, but the 1999 Jean-Luc Columbo Cornas Les Mesjeans would not cooperate. Alex discerned that the first bottle was slightly corked - I was never able to pick this up myself, but over the years I’ve learned to trust Alex’s sensitivity to this issue, and it was undeniable that the wine was muted on the palate, not really showing much. No problem, I thought, as I reached for my trusty back-up bottle. Unfortunately, that bottle was more corked than the first [soap.gif]

So we proceeded on to a flight of two reds:

1990 Beaucastel CdP
1981 Ridge Monte Bello Cab
Quite frankly, with the way these two beauties drank, we never missed the Cornas. The Ridge was especially impressive, mature and perfectly balanced, and of interest both from the bouquet as well as on the palate. Really nice, and a treat to drink. I felt the Beaucastel was just a step behind this wine, although it to had a lot to offer.

We finally closed things out with a 375 of the 1990 Rieussec that was really hitting on all cylinders last night, the wine nicely mature in this format and displaying that carmelized maturity I love in Sauternes. Not overtly sweet at this stage, but a real pleasure to drink.

Great company, fascinating conversation with Guillaume last night as he discussed his jaunt across the states, and some good wines & food to round out the evening. Next time, we’ve got to do this over pizza in Ardeche grouphug

Excellent posting, thanks Bob! Sounds like you had some lovely wines. Funny that, but I noticed just a bit of heat from a Puligny 05 by Henri Boillot tasted last year, but chalked that up to the vintage and perhaps drinking too early, in part. Not much experience withi his wines, but I visited his negociant HQ in Meursault earlier this year and he was really keen on communicating his non-batonnage to explain in part the premox issue. He said that too much batonnage prematurely ages white Burg. Anyway, it was a very interesting visit, and I came away rather impressed with his 07 lineup of whites.

It seems that this cork curse is lurking back? Alex? LOL.

Never had a Ridge Monte Bello 81, sounds great. I have had the 90 Beaucastel, and loved that wine, so the Ridge must be a beauty.

Chrs, Panos

He probably knows you’re a Knicks fan and took pity on you.

Bob, thanks for joining us and for your generosity. I also realized this morning that I didn’t manage to have you say that the Spurs were the overwhelming favorites this year to win it all. Too bad. And you had Alex confused at first when you dubbed me “Parker’s lost brother”, he racked his brains to see which Parker you were talking about and the best he came up with was some obscure wine critic, I think located in New England or something. Anyway, it was a nice touch for you to show up with a Giants cap in a Philly restaurant… from the XLII superbowl–I was hoping for a XXI or XXV cap but of course they must be quite expensive on eBay for a bandwagon fan [grin.gif] But you are excused because I wouldn’t resist taking the piss out of disgruntled Eagles fan either (at every opportunity I’d get).

The evening was just great. The conversation was lively and entertaining, going in to the intricacies of which beef sandwich is better between the Italin beef sandwich from Chicago (did I get that right?) and the world-famous Philly cheesesteak. Apparently Chicago lost again in this fine-dining matchup!

On to the wines. The 2 Boillots were very different but I can’t really decide between the two. Same as you, I’d be happy to drink any of them again. The Charmes had more minerality and felt fresher but was overall a simpler wine, although the finish was quite long. The Cras was about the opposite, fuller and somewhat bigger with a more prominent oak profile, maybe a bit less my style of wine but it made up for it with more complexity–so in the end both were equally interesting. And as you pointed out Boillot definitely did a good job on these 2002s.

Too bad for the Cornas but with only 4 of us around the table it’s not like we didn’t have enough wine anyway. Bummer though that the backup was really badly corked, what’s the likelihood of that happening?!?

The 1990 Beaucastel was a treat (and spot-on as far as my preferences go) and I enjoyed it tremendously, but I’d still give the nod to the 81 Ridge–thanks to Dick Krueger for nurturing it for all these years. It’s as good as any cali cab I’ve ever had, to be honest. Great flavor profile with juts a hint of sweetness to give it a cali character.

Thanks for the 1990 Rieussec, hard to go wrong with 1990 Sauternes. Just loved it and it paired perfectly with the peach pie and vanilla ice. I enjoyed the wine on its own but it really shined with the dessert.

Quick addition from me, more thoughts later … it looks as if sadly The Curse has returned … having had the Colombo 1999 Cornas several times over the past few years, I knew that the first bottle was slightly off (TCA was more pronounced as the night wore on) but the second (back-up) bottle was atrocious! [swearing.gif] I can only hypothesize that the two bottles were side-by-side in the corking line and that the TCA-taint residue from the horribly tainted cork infected the next cork as well …

Alex

Alex thought I was referring to that OTHER Parker?? Doesn’t he know you are a big Eva Longoria fan [wink.gif]

Back to the wines. I thought it would be interesting to taste the two Boillot 1er Cru Meursault 2002 wines side-by-side as one of those Burgundy terroir “experiments” – same producer and vintage, same region, different vineyards. As Bob and Guillaume have already indicated, both wines were very nice and both kept changing their respective profiles over the course of the evening. Incidentally, I took the same two wines to London with me last April where they did not show as well – I have relearned the lesson about travel shock – give wines at least two weeks to get over the journey! (The trip from my cellar to Restaurant Alba is a bit less distance than from my cellar to London!).

Pity about the TCA-tainted Cornas wines … all I can say is that I hope The Curse leaves Malvern with Guillaume. [stirthepothal.gif]

The 1990 Beaucastel was a treat, as was the 1981 Ridge, which had the table asking why did so many Cali Cab producers change from this style of winemaking? (A topic for another thread). The 1990 Rieussec paired well with the peach cobbler dessert.

All in all, a very pleasant way to spend a rainy Friday night, and I trust that Guillaume will visit us here again soon.

Alex