TN: A Casual Monday Dinner - Ayala, Cotat, Gilles

I met a friend Mr. L for a very casual dinner of onion soup and salmon and duck rillette at Maison Kayser on the UWS last night. Two people, three bottles, a lot of bread.

Conversation was vinous and far ranging as usual, but as is also typical, French far-ranging. A rare night with Mr. L: no red Bordeaux on the table.

2013 G. Gilles Cornas. Nathan and Keith have pushed me toward Gilles with a gentle nudge. This is my first try. This ain’t Juge. But over a two-hour dinner this has purity in a more classic young Cornas mold of purple fruit, cracked and white pepper, olive tapenade, length, firm but not harsh tannin, and a sense of a 2+ decade future. Opens up nicely and eventually a hint of violets emerges. Mr. L liked it as well and surprised me as having already discovered Gilles. Worked well with the soup and duck rillette. A Humphrey Bogart-Claude Rains moment with this Gilles. I’ll check back tonight.

2016 F. Cotat Culs du Beaujeu. Its typical profile (easy to recognize but somewhat hard to describe — quinine, earth, licorice, a hint of varietal gooseberry) in a midweight format. I like it but it’s not Mr. L’s thing. It’s probably not going to be a 2010, 2008, 2004 stunner, but i predict it will age gracefully and improve on its balance.

NV Ayala Brut Majeur. Attractive rich briochey champagne that benefits from its vigorous bubbles. Air makes it a little steely and lemony in a good way in the finish. 7 g/l dosage is a tad high here. It does well at the table as a dinner Champagne.

Is he feeling okay?

Just fine.

You had me worried there for a minute. No Bordeaux…

In the days open so far, ‘13 Gilles has become more savory. A sturdy classic profile. I do prefer my Cornas a little more high toned than this in an ideal world but it’s good.

The 2016 Cotat CdB is holding steady. No early fireworks but handles air easily in the open bottle. I expect it will need about five years in the cellar to get to the start of its prime drinking window. My further thought on vintage comparison is it’s 2005ish, a fine vintage for this wine.

What’s the alc. on that Cotat? The couple vintages Ive had were delicious, but somewhat thick, and 14.5%, iirc. Ultimately, I strongly prefer the La Grande Cote bottling.

Sorry for the delay. 13%. The overripe high alcohol vintages are not kind to Cotat. Those wines are a mess.

I developed (or is it really discovered?) a strong preference for Culs du Beaujeu and Monte Damnes over Grand Cote based on their consistent profiles.