In what has become a truly enjoyable tradition on these trips, Stuart once again set aside some time for me to have lunch with him and his wife Elly. As part of that tradition for me, I chomped on a hoagie from Mama’s in Bala Cynwyd. 4.5 years, no Mama’s. Me HUNGRY. Me happy.
I love having the chance to spend some time talking about so much with Stuart and Elly–we got into some deep discussion about some of the outcomes for work and thinking from Covid and an extended chat about Ukraine and its repercussions. We also know each other a little too well. I brought with me a bottle that he and I enjoyed on my last trip and he opened another bottle that he remembered I had loved.
2011 Pearl Morissette Cuvee Persephone Cab Franc
This is the last of my stash and probably one of the last in existence, since the winery certainly has no more. For some years, I have referred to this as “baby Cheval Blanc”. I don’t think I can quite do that this time, but I was very pleased. While the impact of the wine has become a little distant and attenuated, there is still no denying the classic and classy elegance it displays in nose and mouth. Very sure dark berry and currant fruit are really at the fore and any wood is fully integrated now. Rather surprising to both of us, the fruit woke up in intensity quite a bit once it was paired with the hoagie. There you go—class all the way. I would say that this does have no more than 5 or 6 years left, but we both enjoyed it.
1998 Albert Boxler Sommerberg Tokay Pinot Gris
I loved this the last time we met, it was luminous and beautiful. The years have changed the wine just a bit—it has left some of that luminosity behind but I found the wine to have ratcheted up in intensity of aromatic and flavour profile. Threading through this wine are star fruit and sweet yellow plum with glints of honeydew and pineapple, and while there is more viscosity (just a bit) on the tongue than I remember from the last taste, there is also more than enough acid to carry it through my mouth in a very satisfying way. It was a treat to revisit this.
Thank you again, my friend, for a great afternoon. I hope we can continue this tradition for many years
DINNER AT BLACKFISH
I was happy to be able to organize this and be joined by Christopher and Catherine Koyste (who I had met at Jay Hack’s a little under 3 years ago) and by Dave Kaplan and his girlfriend Marilyn (Dave, hope I am remembering her name—if not, my abject apologies!). I hadn’t seen Dave in—wow—11 years! (I thought it had only been 8!). Around many wines and the usual excellent fare and service at Blackfish (in Conshohocken), we had a marvelously lively conversation about film (I had no idea everyone else at the table was a devoted cinephile), politics, tech and social media and…of all things…minerals (Chris brought a couple of pieces for me, I was truly delighted, had no idea he and Cat were interested, and I was an avid mineralogist in my youth). Thanks to all of you very, very much for a really fine evening of camaraderie.
2006 Launois Special Club BdB Brut
Concentrated yeasty/biscuit/toast. It’s a heady bouquet. This is extremely tasty in texture in particular, with a fine attack and then round yet flashy dans la bouche. There are pink grapefruit and ginger notees. It’s a little on one level but has plenty of activity and assertiveness.
Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne Cote de Berthalin
This is a NV, disgorged in 2014. Really neat, a little anise hit here. Lemon and toast also swirl up the glass. Crisp and strong entry, white–and a little red–berry. Tiny salty note at the bottom of the mouth. This is also an active wine that can age some.
2006 Nicolas Joly Coulee de Serrant
The 05 I had last month was flawed. This one was not. Scents of honeycomb, lanolin and sultana raisin. To taste, there’s almost a peat/gasoline component, with yellow plum and more raisins. This was popped and poured and, as is my usual impression with these when they are in good shape, a very long decant would have helped quite a bit. With time in the glass, it does intensify some. What I do find is that it’s a fun but not always smooth ride on the palate—again, something that I believe a day’s air would help. Many thanks to Dave for bringing.
2018 Kutch Sonoma Coast Chard
Chris comments that he does find this Burgundian in style. For me, this has good acid and carry in the base and mainly lemon and unripe apple for the flavours. I will confess that I definitely like the Santa Cruz Chards better, but nothing wrong at all with this. I’d give it another year in bottle optimally. Went well with my fish main.
2002 Weinbach Schlossberg Clos de Capucins SGN
Chris brought this true treat. Schlossberg is probably my favourite vineyard in Alsace. The bouquet is redolent with apricot, pineapple and papaya. This is still on the young side, with a lot of kinetic, but it also has a dynamic radiance to it. Really excellent textural balance and the backbreathe is pure creme brulee. My WOTN.
Again, thanks to everyone for coming and sharing time and wine and conversation with me.