TN: A little pre B-day Celebratin'

Six of us had dinner at Bistro LQ (I’m the wine director). Before I worked with Laurent Quenioux I was a huge fan of his daring approach to food. LQ takes classical French cooking with Michelin 3 star technique, add flavors from Mexico, Thailand, India, Arabic & N. African and you get an idea of the masterpieces he is capable of. The food is daring, provocative and exciting. When a chef pushes the envelope in experimenting, at times the outcome can be less than stellar. This was not the case last night. As J. Gold said in his recent LA Weekly piece when discussing a colleague, “Bistro LQ has been responsible for both the best meal and the worst meal she’s eaten all year.” Our 9 course dinner was perhaps the best meal from him since the stunning no holds barred meal he assembled for our wine group a few years back when he had Bistro K. As we like to say, “Viva le Bistronomique!” On to the wines.

Half the table had vegetarian courses, I can only include the details of the other courses here.

This first wine paired with our amuse of seared Hamachi with yuzu glaze on micro greens and our first course: Venison Tartar, Quail Yolk, Juniper Berries, Celery Root Slaw, Tortilla Crisp, Espellente Piment

1999 Philipponnat Champagne Grand Blanc - France, Champagne (12/17/2009)
A very good wine. Well made with clean flavors, soft texture and good length. Some toasty notes with freshly baked biscuits and green apple. I enjoyed this one. Ropom for further development.

This paired very well with a new dish that was sublime: Seared Diver Scallop, Fois Gras, Chantrelle, Udon Noodle, Cilantro, Miso Broth.

2001 Jean Boillot & Fils Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchère - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru (12/17/2009)
Color was good with no pre-mox notes. Amazing that any white Burgs I drink first get this screening. This really was a super wine for me. Very nice flavors of crush flowers, a little marzipan and a touch of citrus. Well put together in terms of minerality vs acidity vs fruit. Superb length on the finish. Very happy to own another bottle of this.

Next up: Salmon 2 Ways, Poached in Olive Oil with a Chipotle Lobster Infusion, and Tartar Style, Serrano Chile, Basil Seeds

2002 Huët Vouvray Sec Le Haut-Lieu - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray (12/17/2009)
This bottle was from .375ml. Color shows a bit of salmon to the golden hue. There’s a distinct sherry note, Pre-mox CB, say it ain’t so??? The sherried note settled down with time. I believe if we had followed a full bottle this would have subsided though I bit cautious as to it’s further development. It was peculiar though. I liked this wine a lot. It showed a zippy acidity that I enjoy in Vouvray. Flavors of pear, a little lemon peel and verbena. Not as viscous as some Huet Sec’s can be.

Next: Lamb Composition Roasted Chop, Sautéed Sweetbread, Roasted Fennel, Spinach, Jus Roti with Lemon and Star Anis

2000 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (12/17/2009)
I’ve had this wine quite a few times. Some bottles have been stunning and others have been just good. This was very good but did not hit the highs of past bottles. I decanted this for 3 hours then back in the bottle. In hind sight, decanting may not be the way to go. The last stunner was a pop’n’pour. The nose was very shy with only occasional hints of CdP notes. At times it seemed like the wine was coming around aromatically only to retreat back to it’s shell. The flavors were more pronounced than the aromatics with many of the usual suspects: kirsch, iodine, blood, olive, garrigue, lavendar and a touch floral. The palate texture is velvety smooth and something I’ve learned to expect with Pegau. Very little barnyard in this bottle. It paired very well with lamb.

Next: Cote De Boeuf (Rib Eye) served medium rare a jus.

1999 Château Pavie - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru (12/17/2009)
Drank from .375ml. Decanted in a wide decanter for 3 hrs then rebottled. I’ve had this wine several times. It is maturing at a snails pace. This is a modern expression of Bordeaux with toasty oak flavors that tend to overwhelm the fruit. The fruit shows a dark profile of cassis and chocolate without any mature flavors. It’s full bodied and rich. The tannins are rounding a bit but still present and somewhat sweet. I’m down to only a handful of the .375mls. Thinking of waiting a few years before I open the next one.

With an amzing array of Goat, Sheep & Cow Cheeses

2006 Carlisle Zinfandel Pietro’s Ranch - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (12/17/2009)
I opened this bottle the day before it was to be drunk to slow O2, it then received a 3 hr decant then refilled in the bottle. This is a big, lush, extracted wine-exactly wht I wanted to have with our cheese course. Mike has a way with hiding the high alc and this bottle was no exception. The balance of fruit, acid and some tannin hides the 16% abv. very well. This is mouth coating, thick stuff. It has some of the brambly zin berry characteristics, spice and a little menthol. I can’t stand menthol in wines but this was subtle enough that it did not distract. I’ve seen it said before and this wine was certainly representative, but some of the Carlisle wines seem to push the envelope as far as possible without falling over the edge, flirting with excess. Just when you think there is too much, they back off. I can’t drink these regularly, but enjoy them when the time is right.

Dessert for some was: Dark Chocolate Composition Soufflé style, Scheshaun Peppercorn; Kaffir Chocolate Mousse; Marshmallow with Chocolate Milk Fondant. Others got Baked Pear with Quince Creme, “Pear Samoussa” Quince Ice Cream. There was also a try of various Petit Fours. No sweet wine, just a Cappuccino.

This was a great meal and I would probably eat here more often if I didn’t work here 2 days a week.

Great report, trip-G. I really need to get to Bistro LQ!!!

Sounds like an incredible dinner Gregg! Cheers!

Glad you’re feeling better, and see you got to try at least a couple of 99’s. Hopefully Cris will put notes up on the excelllent 99 dinner we had last weekend.

Coincidentally, I oppend the 2006 Pietro’s on Tuesday. This is one of the best Zins Mike has made. I enjoyed it most in the first hour; as it received more air, the tannins became more noticeable. One more bottle, and I’m planning to save it for several years.

And Happy Birthday!

Thanks all.

David - So far, I’ve enjoyed the '06 Montafi the most. I still have about a case of various Zins, so I’ll get a chance to try more. As you know, I’m a bigger fan of Mike’s Syrahs & 2 Acres.