Category Archives: Cote Rote

Champagne, Old Wine, and Lamb for Easter

With temperatures expected to be in the 80’s on Easter Sunday, we invited friends to come for lunch at 2:00 PM so we could sit on the terrace and enjoy our Champagne and appetizers al fresco. It was windy but we managed by holding on to the Champagne glasses. Just as we finished, it started to rain so we had to go inside to enjoy the rest of the meal. 

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1993 Millesime Rose is made from 100% Grand Cru grapes and produced only in exceptional years. The Chardonnay grapes come from the most renowned vineyards of the prestigious Côte des Blancs, and the Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims. Only juice from the first pressing is used in order to ensure the structure and long aging potential that is essential to this exceptional Champagne. 12% of the Pinot Noir is blended in as still red wine. It was showing its age but still with some red fruit and brioche in the finish and aftertaste. It was very drinkable.

Bourgogne Aligoté 2005 Domaine Bachelet 100% Chardonnay This is an elegant wine with citrus fruit aromas and flavors, livery and fresh with nice minerality and showing no signs of age.

Mazoyères-Chambertin 1945 100% Pinot Noir  Chanut Frères. It was drinking very well for a wine this old.

With this wine we had risotto with porcini mushrooms and sausage

Gevrey-Chambertin “En Pallud” Domaine Maume 100% Pinot Noir. The vines are 70 years old and the soil is clay and limestone. There is separate vinification of individual parcels. Clusters are 100% destemmed. The wine is aged for 18 to 20 months in mostly older barrels and is bottled without fining or filtration. This is classic Burgundy at its best.

With it we ate lamb chops in a crisp breadcrumb and Parmesan crust with sauteed green beans and carrots.

Còte-Ròtie “Còtes Brune et Blonde” 1981 E. Guigal 96% Syrah and 4% Viognier. The average age of the vines is 35 years. Fermentation in closed stainless steel tanks, temperature controlled for about 3 weeks with automatic punching down. The wine is aged for 36 months, 50% in new oak. This is for the more current vintages. I do not know how they made it back in 1981! This is a wine with hints of raspberry and blackberry with a touch of spice. It is a complex wine with a lot of red and dark fruit aromas that are striking for a wine this old–the fruit still comes right at you.

We had this with two cheeses: Parmigiano Reggiano and Fontina Val D’Aosta.

For dessert, Michele made a flourless chocolate cake topped with whipped cream and raspberries.

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Filed under Burgundy, Champagne, Cote Rote

The Return of the League of Gentlemen

I have not written about the League because it has been over two years since we last met. Then last week I received an e-mail for a “pop up” meeting of the group to be held at Barbounia Restaurant on Park Ave South in NYC. The message also suggested that we dig deep into our cellars and bring our best wines.  Six of us attended and the wines were fantastic.  The food at Barbounia was very good. I believe they may make the best thin pizza (Roman style) in NYC.

The Pizza

The Pizza

The WinesIMG_3415

Champagne Salon Brut “Le Mesnil 1997– vintage blanc de blanc, prestige cuvee in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger 100% Chardonnay. The grapes come from 100% rated village (Grand Cru).  This is all they produce.  In his book “Champagne for Dummies,” Ed Mc Carthy says the following:  “this is a massive, complex champagne that uses almost no dosage, but tastes so rich that you do not miss the dosage. With age it takes on aromas of walnuts, honey, vanilla and coffee. It is a superb example of the grapes of the Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, the greatest Chardonnay village in Champagne. It can age for a very long time.” Ed is right on the money!IMG_3421

Chablis Grand Cru “Les Clos” 1995 Dauvissat 100% Chardonnay. This is my favorite producer of Chablis and it was everything and more than one would expect from Chablis.IMG_3418

Corton Charlemagne 1994 Vincent Girardin 100%. Chardonnay The grapes are harvested by hand and are sorted twice-when picking the grapes and on the sorting table.There is a light pressing to get a slow extraction. After a gentle racking of the must, the wine is put in French oak casks (between 10 and 35% of new oak depending upon the appellation) The primary and malolactic fermentations can then begin with wild yeasts, which are on the grape berries. The aging is long on fine lees, between 14 and 20 months(depending on the “cuvees”).  They follow the lunar calendar for bottling.IMG_3414

Chateau Cheval Blanc 1970 St. Emilion 66% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot and 1% Malbec.IMG_3411

Chateau L’Angèus 1966 St. Emilion  60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot.

Both of the Bordeaux wines were in excellent condition. There was a discussion as to which one was drinking better and it was a split decision.IMG_3413

Côte- Rôte 1994 “Côte- Brune” Gentaz- Dervieux Syrah with a tiny addition of Viognier. This is a wine I have only had once before. It is a traditional classic style Côte-Roti. The vines are 100 years old and there is fewer than 2 hectares of vines.  The wine is aged in old oak barrels. It is a complex wine with hints of cherry, a touch of apricot, a mineral and savory component and it needs more time to develop. I was very impressed with this wine.  IMG_3410

Barbaresco Riserva 1978 Borgogno 100% Nebbiolo. Borgogno is noted for their Barolo but they also make an excellent Barbaresco. 1978 was an outstanding vintage. This Barbaresco is drinking very well now and is at its peak.IMG_3427

Domaine de Trevallon 1994.  Made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. I have never had this wine before but really enjoyed it.  The winery is located in Saint-Etienne du Grès in the Bouches du Rhone. They use no pesticides or insecticides, only sheep manure. The use of close pruning methods reduces the yield and prolongs the life of the vine from 20 to 50 years. They believe that it is best to do as little as possible in the cellar, no use of exogenous yeasts and no corrections for acidity. The whole process is completely natural, either by punch over by foot, or pump over to aerate the wine. The wine is aged for two years in oak.

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Filed under Chablis, Champagne, Corton Charlemagne, Cote Rote, Domaine de Trevallon, French Red, French White Wine, French Wine, Gentaz-Derieux, Italian Red Wine, Salon, Vincent Girardin