Last night I attended two wine events in NYC that left my head spinning. The first was a wine receiption at the Links Club put on by The Napa Valley Reserve, "a private club and winery." The Reserve essentially functions as a custom crush club, but one where you purchase access to vineyards tended by Harlan Estate's viticulture team and collaborate with Harlan's winemaking team to make private label wines.
The wines are, of course, first rate. The evening opened with nonvintage Krug, at the perfect temperature that cocktail receptions always seem to manage if you get there at the start. Gold color, with a wonderful balance of yellow fruits, pine nuts, a touch of grass and very nice effervescence. The 2004 NVR was very potent on the nose with considerable tannin and substance without losing much charm. Very dark, with some sweet black fruit notes, licorice, and a very mellow hint of spice - overall dense and robust. The 2002 was simply perfect. All the substance of 2004 without the fruit forwardness. Full, and fully ripe, considerable substance without sweetness. Again, blackberry notes, licorice, but here is minerality, balance, life. The 2000 was perhaps a touch more austere, with some varietal notes showing through, less concentration and charm, but still drinking nicely. Whereas the 1997, similar in substance and style to the 2002, was showing still more fruit and varietal notes, and considerable concentration without coming across as too much. I prefered the 2002 overall, and would rather drink the 1997 now. The 2000 should all be consumed soon and the 2004 in fifteen years.
The wines aside, phenomenal as they were, the reception felt awkward. One of the women I spoke to had never heard of Harlan Estate and did not know the first thing about the Reserve. One gentleman was more impressed with the hors d'oeuvres than the wines (I will admit, the food was great). The major topic of discussion was the European "banking crisis" -- Germany and Greece -- government intervention in the capital markets, and, of course, the mini-BLTs that were passed around. I was incredibly out of place.
Afterwards, I went to my club for a "reserve" wine dinner, hosted by the VP himself. This, too, was disappointing. The first wine, a 2003 Chateau Barthe, was corked. And not just one bottle. Each and every bottle they brought out -- they should have tasted these bottles before they brought them to the table. A 2000 Chateau Troplong Mondot **/*** was the sole shiner in the night. Nice shine in the glass. Very nicely concentrated on the nose, with ripe notes and red berries and considerable new oak -- mollases, caramel -- finishes with a short burst of incredible energy.
A 1982 Chateau St. Pierre, by comparison, was tired. A dull dark color, with earth, dry mushrooms and iodine on the nose, tart raspberry in the mouth, no perceptible bite or tannin, and ultimately devoid of life or charm. Similarly, the 1978 Cheval Blanc ("the white horse with velvet tannins") displayed smoke, mushrooms, and sandall wood, paired perfectly with local soft goats cheese, but was boring by itself. Unfortunately the dinner conversation revolved around investment grade Bordeaux and the rise of Hong Kong's merchant princes, the alleged failure of American wines to pair with food, and the "stunning" 2009 Bordeaux vintage.
Why not just stand at the end of the meal and sing God Save the Queen?
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
This 46 year old wine did not taste a day over six or seven. Vibrant light yellow hue, with freshly ground apples, tart soft goat cheese notes, and very mellow honeysuckle and dried apricots on the finish. Young Brie predominates for me as the wine airs. Simply magnificent.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
I love cheese. It is a dietary necessity. I am sorry, heart, because meat I can do without, but cheese I cannot. Now, we are officially entering beer season, so it's a good time to open up the topic of beer and cheese, and if you like both beer and cheese (and who doesn't?) then the idea of artisanally crafted beers matched with local artisanal cheese is intriguing from the get go. Combine that with a meal prepared by chef Ryan Angulo at Buttermilk Channel and cheeses supplied by local cheesemonger Saxelby Cheese, and you have a "must attend" event.
Big thick white head. Very light in the mouth, with some semi sweet notes on the lips and semi tart notes on the back end. Mildly hoppy. Short finish. A traditional German "helles bock." Probably my favorite beer of the night in retrosepct. This you can drink all day. Until you can't anymore. Served with Buttermilk Channel's unparalled "snacks."
Deep amber color. Light and creamy head. Bitter on the nose, then some tart citric notes with a wet hoppy finish? Served with Green Garlic & Spring Onion Soup.
Wow. Light and soupy head. Tart and a touch nutty, semi sweet, gains sweetness as it opens up, with a very long finish. Peanut butter notes predominate as this warms to room temperature. A must attempt beer. Served with Country Ham & Queso del Invierno Salad...superb stinky cheese.
Rogue "Double Mocha Porter" Newport (OR) 8.2% ABV and Brewery Ommegang (my indecipherable hand scrawl obscures part of the
These are the stouts of the evening, paired with Grilled Creekstone Farm Flap Steak. The Rogue is a cola color with a nose of charred molten meats and a long grilled steak charcoal finish. The Ommegang is dark brown amber with a stinky nose and notes of earthy notes. (No pics)
Dark red brown color with notes of sweet red cherries and red wines (no doubt from the barrel aging). I love the complexity on this beer.