During lunch at SD26, Ed said that they were thinking of flying to South Carolina because Mary needed to acquire more miles to qualify for a gold frequent flyer card from an airline. Their plan was to stay overnight and return the next day.
I suggested they go to Florida instead. Ed said, “why Florida?” Travis answered Bern’s Steak House. We all knew about Bern’s but only Travis and Nicole had been there. After a very brief discussion, Mary and Ed decided that they liked the idea. Travis then said, “Why don’t we all go?” So that is how a group of 8 of us flew to Tampa, had dinner at Bern’s on Sunday night, and returned to New York for dinner at my apartment on New Year’s Eve.
Bern’s Steak House may have the largest wine list in the world. They have over 1,250 wines on the list, 6,800 different wines, and a total of over half a million bottles.
Travis had contacted Brad Dixon, one of the sommeliers at Bern’s Steak House, so he was ready for us when we arrived. We discussed the wine list with him and he also made suggestions that were not on the list and told us all about them. He is very knowledgeable and was a great help when it came to Burgundy.
Since Ed always starts with Champagne, he ordered the Perrier-Jouet “Fleur de Champagne” 1996 in magnum to start. Made from 50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier, it comes in the popular and beautiful “Flower Bottle”. 1996 was a great year for Champagne. The wine was just starting to come around and will last for many more years. It was a perfect start to a great wine evening.
Rully Domaine Faiveley 1982 100% Chardonnay. The exposure is east and the soil is clay and limestone. Perfectly mature grapes are harvested and transported to the Faiveley winery in Mercurey. The must is extracted using a pneumatic press and settles in a vat overnight. Vinification lasts for 4 weeks. The wine is aged in vats for 11 weeks and the lees are stirred regularly. The wine is racked in Mercurey and transported to Nuits-Saint Georges, the headquarters of Domaine Faiveley, where it is prepared for bottling. This is how the wine is made today though it may have been different 30 years ago. This wine was showing its age but was still drinking well. It will not last much longer and I attribute its lasting this long to the excellent storage facilities at Bern’s. This wine was under $50. Bern’s has a large selection of older wines from Italy and less known parts of France for under $50.
Echezaux 1959. This is a negociant wine from T. Thorin
and the label indicates the location of his offices which were in the village of Pontanevoux. Domaine Romanee Saint-Vivant 1962. 100% Pinot Noir This is 9.54 hectare vineyard just above the village of Vosne. At one time, over half was owned by Domaine Merey-Monge but the vineyard however was tended by and the wines made by Romanée Conti. Domaine de la Romanée is now the principal owner with 5.29 hectares. There are 11 owners altogether.
Bordeaux Haut Batailley 1959. I believe it is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot and a touch of Cabernet Franc depending on the vintage. Mary paid for this wine to thank us for supporting her quest for miles. It was wonderful.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1961 in Magnum Delas Freres This is a northern Rhône negociant that buys juice for their wines in the southern Rhône.
1961 was an exceptional vintage and this was the best Châteauneuf-du-Pape that I have ever had. In fact a number of people said that it was too young! Today it is owned by the Champagne house Roederer.
Cossart Madeira Sercial 1905 – the oldest shipper of Madeira wine, established in 1745. Made from the Sercial grape. Sercial Maderia is the driest of the four classic varieties of Madeira. It is also the lightest and most acidic and delicate expression of Madeira and takes the longest to mature. Maderia Sercial is a white fortified wine made on the volcanic island of Madeira, which belongs to Portugal. Of the two Madeira Sercials that we drank on two consecutive nights, the 1910 Leacock (New Years Eve) was showing slightly better.
After dinner at Bern’s Steak House you are taken to the dessert rooms, set in empty wine barrels! They offer an array of interesting desserts and a full range of dessert wines to go with them.
We all had a great time and it was worth the trip!
We are back on I-Italy|TV: This Saturday at 11:00 PM repeated Sunday at 1:00 PM.