The League of Gentle Men Drink and Dine at Restaurant Nizza
Our first meeting of the year was held at Nizza restaurant, one of our favorite places. Chef Andy D’Amico prepared a tasting menu, matching the food with our wine. Each member brought a bottle of either champagne, white, red or dessert wine. The results were: one bottle of champagne, two bottles of white, four bottles of red and two dessert wines. This made it easier for the chef to pair the food and wine.
The champagne was the Krug 1996. I cannot say enough about how good this was. 1996 was a great year for champagne and this had all the best qualities that Krug has to offer.
The first white was the Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2005 from Edoardo Valentini I decided the wine had to be decanted and that it needed to “warm up”. It was a very cold night . This wine can age for 15 years or more and, like a great white burgundy; it should be served only slightly chilled to bring out all of its flavors and aromas. This is my favorite Italian white wine and in my opinion may be the best white wine produced in Italy.
Bourgogne Blanc 1999 from Domaine Jean Francas Coche and Dury- it is very difficult to find wine from this producer on the market. This is his least expensive white wine and it reminded me of a very good Meursault
Cornas 2003 Domaine Clap 100% Syrah. We decanted this wine also. It was a big wine and could have used five or six years more before it would be ready to drink. 2003 was a very hot year in France but this wine had very good fruit flavors, but was not jammy.
Chateauneuf du Pape 1995 Lucien Barrot et Fils. This wine is so traditional that the grape bunches are not destemmed before crushing and is fermented in concrete vats.
Aging takes place in large barrles for about 1-3 years depending on when room is needed for the next vintage. Over the last 20 years there has been no fining or filtration. Here is a wine that gives new meaning to the term terroir and to the true flavor of the grapes. We also decanted it but it could have used a few more years of age. It was my kind of wine.
Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (Pauillac) 1982. Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with lesser amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc,and Petit Verdot. This is a great wine in a great year and it lived up to all our expectations
Chateau Cheval Blanc 1978.(Saint Emilion) Made from Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The Mouton was a difficult act to follow but the Chevel Blanc was also right on the money.
Chateau d’Yquem 1991 Made mostly from Semillon with some Sauvignon Blanc. 1991 was not a great year for d’Yquem but it was a very good year. The wine was showing very well and still had many years left.
Tokaji 1993 Aszu Essencia Disznoko It is made from the Aszu grape. The grapes are late harvested and some are “attacked” by botrytis. The wines of Hungary are becoming more and more popular as the quality has improved since the fall of communism. Tokaji has always been a great dessert wine but suffered in those years. They are now back in top form. The Essencia is the rarest and the process in very complicated.
We drank the d’Yquem and the Tokji side by side and both were great but I gave the edge this night to the Essencia.
We always dine well at Nizza and tonight was no exception. I especially enjoyed the mortadella, eggplant involtini, calamari fritti, the porchetta and the veal scallopine. Last time I was there with Michele we did not like the pizza but this time it was terrific and we tried a number of different ones!