TN: Belated Peking Duck House notes. Mostly Rhone, some Burgs, Champagne & Ca

Figured I’d get some notes up from a dinner at Peking Duck House in July before Paul Jaouen gets his buddy Tommy “no nose” out of Bayonne on me.

In mid-July, Paul, Bill Lawrence, Richard Mavricos, Drew Skroback, Christine Huang, Ray Tuppatchsch, Keith Levenberg and I ate some duck together. Here’s what we drank.



1979 Piper-Heidseick- Champagne Brut Rare
Yellow-colored and a bit oxidaized, but not too much so. A little dirty/musty on the nose, though not in a corked way, with yeast and apple aromas. While I’m not a big fan of Champagne, this is pretty impressive. It has a light bead, but what really stands out is the mouthfeel which is rich, creamy and velvety. I wish more Champagne would have as harmonious and lavish a presence in my mouth. Nice flavors of apple, mineral and biscuit with a stone fruit chaser. Just lovely. A-.

1992 Colin-Deleger- Chassagne-Montrachet "En Remilly"
Hmm. There’s a lot of oak showing on the nose and palate that I was only able to get that after all the sulfur blew off. Wait a minute. Below the oak there’s a bit of mineral and pear compote showing. It’s a little light in the acid department and just too oaky for me. Others liked the wine more than I did. B.

1995 Hubert Lignier- Chambolle-Musigny "Les Baudes"
While there’s some cherry fruit, bark, earth and light spice notes, don’t be fooled by the siren’s song. There is a big wall of tannins and a gaping hole in the mid-palate that clearly suggests this wine is closed down pretty hard at the moment. B/B+ with some potential if there’s actually enough fruit left to stand up to the tannins once it softens up. I think it’ll always be a hard wine, though.

1989 Pierre Gonon- Saint-Joseph "Les Olivieres"
I brought this as I wanted a few folks at dinner to try it as a local wine shop had just gotten in a little more of it into stock. As I’ve stated before, some bottle variation with this wine. Some wines have shown stellar, others a bit more muted. This one, unfortunately, was a subdued bottle. Quite a bit of Brett present with cherry, cement dust, horse manure and leather, but the flavors weren’t melded. Good bottles show an abundance of fruit with the other components playing nice together and backing up the fruit wonderfully. Not so here. B+.

1989 Vieux Télégraphe- Châteauneuf-du-Pape
This is a classic, masculine, lean and austere CDP. I personally prefer their style post 1993, which while remaining classic in style, is more fruit forward and less tannic and herbal, though this bottle is showing nicely. It’s compact and muscular in the mouth with firm tannins and good acid levels for a CDP. Black fruit with plenty of garrigue, iodine and mineral. Best with some food and I’m not sure the fruit will outlast the structure here. A-/B+.

1964 Chante Perdrix- Châteauneuf-du-Pape (from 375 ml)
Ray tasted us double blind on this little surprise and made us guess what it was. It’s light and feminine on the nose and palate with desiccated raspberry, cherry and spice cake and light earthy notes. Resolved, but with an enjoyable silky texture and enough fruit to make me smile. The fruit here reminds me of the sweetness one often gets from an old Bordeaux, though the mouthfeel reminded me a little of an old school Rioja and not having a lot of experience with pre-'78 CDP’s, after hemming and hawing a bit, I guess '60’s Bordeaux. A lovely treat and great showing from a half bottle. A-/B+.

1988 Chave- Hermitage
Whaddya know? I completely forgot I had this when I wrote my note about a bottle Chris Kravitz brought to my place a week ago. Funny enough, the notes are almost identical. The wine is really in a beautiful place right now. Shows a ton of class and elegance and has great length and persistence across the palate. This bottle shows a little more peppery spiciness than the one over Labor Day and a little bit more of a mélange between black and red fruit, but the meat, herb, lavender and iron are still there. Gorgeous wine. A.

1998 Jamet- Côte-Rôtie
I don’t recall this wine ever shutting down since release and it doesn’t seem like it has evolved much, either. There’s still a bunch of upfront, sweet black fruit, plenty of black pepper and garrigue, but while well-made and tasty, there’s something missing from this wine. I always want a little more personality to show. Maybe a little funk, or something in its structure to come out and nip my heels. I don’t know. I like drinking it, but find it a little staid. Low A-.

2001 Rayas- Châteauneuf-du-Pape
I know it’s a bit-overused and cliché to say that Rayas is Burgundian, but, yeah, this smells and tastes a bit Burgundian. It’s harmonious and elegant with a satiny feel to it. There’s wonderful sweetness and purity to the raspberry, cherry and strawberry fruit that doesn’t have the over ripeness that Grenache can sometimes show. Lovely spiciness that’s more cinnamon than black pepper and a touch of licorice and earthiness. Delicious. A-.

1998 Chapoutier- Châteauneuf-du-Pape "Croix de Bois"
Smells a bit over-the-top. Indeed, it is. This is just ultra-ripe blackberry jam. I’m not one to shy away from fruit, especially in a CDP, but this is just too roasted, pruney and overdone for me to enjoy. It’s also a bit disjointed and coarse on the palate, to boot. B-.

1992 Edmunds St. John- Syrah “Grand Heritage,” Sonoma Valley
I was really looking forward to trying this treat as I’ve had some killer bottles in the past, but this bottle was not cooperating. It smells a little dirty and while there’s pleasant enough cherry, spice and licorice on the palate, it’s very tough and unyielding with an abrupt finish. B, though this wine usually is in the Solid A- range for me.

Only two pics from the dinner aside from the bottle shots as we were in the main dining room this time and I didn’t want to disturb other diners with a flash.

The group.

Whoah! I’ve never seen this guy smile before!

At last…

Nice notes, Brad. I brought the Chapoutier and was equally dissapointed, or more so. I find 1998 a very hot tasting year in the Southern Rhone, which is exactly why I will tast 07 before I buy.

Still, could just be Chapoutier CDPs. What is the consensus?

I recall being introduced to a lady by the name of Christine Huang at Augie Hug’s pinot dinner at Villa Creek the eve of Hospices du Rhône in early May 2006. I wonder if this is the same lady you mention.

2001 Rayas- Châteauneuf-du-Pape
I know it’s a bit-overused and cliché to say that Rayas is Burgundian, but, yeah, this smells and tastes a bit Burgundian. It’s harmonious and elegant with a satiny feel to it. There’s wonderful sweetness and purity to the raspberry, cherry and strawberry fruit that doesn’t have the over ripeness that Grenache can sometimes show. Lovely spiciness that’s more cinnamon than black pepper and a touch of licorice and earthiness. Delicious. > A-> .

I’ve read many “Burgundian” references to Rayas, and even some other French wines, but, honestly, I never quite understood what that meant. Does the term mean that if served blind it could be mistaken for Burgundy?

I will readily admit that certain vintages of Rayas I have tried were, indeed, “harmonious and elegant”, and certainly very distinctive and more refined than most any other CdP I have ever had, but I do not believe, if tasted blind, anyone could mistake it for Burgundy…maybe I should give it a try blind with Burgs. Could be fun.

It feels like this dinner was ages ago. That was my last bottle of the ESJ and I was disappointed it was not as good as previous bottles. The one I brought to Keith’s BBQ was probably the best bottle I’ve had.

I’m not positive what the group thought, but I don’t think there were many fans of the wine. Fwiw, I’ve never been a fan of their CDP, let alone of the house. I always find their wines a little too spoofed up, especially their Northern Rhones, as well as a bit industrial.



Thanks for the notes - good to finally meet you.

I wasn’t a fan of the Chapoutier, but then again I rarely am a fan of his wines. The only Cdnp that I liked was his '89 Barbe Rac. I think a few of his N. Rhone’s are ok, but nothing like the scores that RP bestows upon them and I don’t buy any.

Glad you liked the Piper, but that was the worst showing of it that I’ve had. Something wasn’t clean with it. As far as you wishing that more champagnes were like the Piper Rare there are plenty of them out there, I just think exposure is the key. After all there’s only so much '81 Lanson one can drink :wink:

There are 6 bottles of the Piper on winebid this week.

Now I’m in the mood for duck.

There have been major changes – for the better, IMO – the past several years.

Take a look at the group photo and see if she looks familiar. I bet it’s her.


Hehehe true dat. Methinks you need to take Abood with you when you go shopping so he learns what good Champagne is. Those '81 Lanson’s he likes to bring ain’t it. [bleh.gif]


If she was good looking, intelligent, knows wine, and tolerates Brad then it was probably her.

Nice notes! We have a group there this Saturday from one of the other boards. Looking forward to it! Haven’t been there since July. Got room for one if anyone is interested. E-mail me at markjahnke AT markjahnke DOT com.

I looked at the photo, and, though it was quite a while back and we were just briefly introduced, yes, I believe that was her I met. Difficult to forget, since, aside from myself, she appeared to be the only Asian-looking person at that dinner.

What’s changed, Claude and what are you liking from them these days?

Nice picture of the dinner. Sad to report that Richard Mavricos has passed away.


Nicest guy in the world.

Indeed. It was very sad news today. Just a great, upbeat, generous and kind soul.

Oh no. Terrible news.

The last time I saw Richard he seemed in good spirits and I assumed he was doing better. In retrospect I guess he was always in good spirits even when he was doing badly.

Yep, my thoughts exactly, I was speechless when I heard. He passed away last night apparently. What a shame.

There’s some info on his FaceBook page.