FIRST WINES AND NOTES OF 5766 - Jonathan and Samantha's (10/4/2005)
Cathryn and I were fortunate enough to be invited (despite our Linnaean status as goyim anglicanus) to join our friends Jonathan and Samantha for their Rosh Hashanah dinner last night. Nice to see Jonathan and Samantha, as well as a few other folks -- old friends and new. Also nice to enjoy the benefits of Samantha's amazing cooking!
I brought wine, which was the least that I could do for several reasons. First, it's a gracious (and joyful) thing to do when one is so kindly invited to join a celebration. Even more important, on Friday night -- while Jonathan, Cathryn, and I were tasting wine at TAC, then enjoying sake and izakaya fare -- Samantha was rendering schmalz for the chopped liver. She deserved a little fun. She likes Champagne, so I brought a couple of bubbly things.
With chopped liver and pita with hummus, spinach dip, and green olive tapenade. And apples and honey, of course.
- N.V. Monmarthe Champagne Coup de Coeur Extra Brut Premier Cru - France, Champagne, Montagne de Reims - Ludes, Champagne
Nice tight agressive mousse with very small bead. Even with relatively short, broad Venetian flutes, the mousse had good persistence. Color was shaded a bit to the gold end of yellow-gold. Nose had a rich, ripe apple-fig character with a significant sweet leesey element. Lighter notes in the nose included a little toast and brulee. On the palate the wine was quite full and round, with the richness and roundness making the mousse just a pleasant textural prickle. Figs and apples carried through from the nose, along with a little butterscotch, hazelnut, and sweet cream. This cuvee is 50% chard and 50% pinot noir and spends 5 years in bottle before being disgorged. All of this shows very clearly in the wine's body and roundness. This wine had lower apparent acidity than most Champagne, but the bubbles on the front end and the austerity of the long dry finish kept it in balance. Very different Champagne but great with the hors d'oeuvres, especially the chopped liver.
With brisket, ginger-honey carrots, a great green bean dish, kugel, and challah.
- 2000 Bois de Boursan Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Purplish color, just starting to take on lighter rust red elements. Dense but bright in the decanter. As soon as it is decanted, it shows a strong earth and garrigue character supporting dark cherry fruit. With time, a little meatiness and leather come out. The nose is clean and remains very much about earthy fruit throughout the night. On the palate, the tannins are nicely resolved, just barely nipping at the inside of my cheeks from time to time. The cherry and brambley berry fruit is surprisingly dry compared to the last time I tasted this wine. Fruit is enlivened by a little pepper and tarragon, as well as just enough acid to avoid flabbiness. This is absolutely ready to drink. Maybe it will improve a little, but in the last year the whole wine has moved so much from rich fruit and large body to a lighter, earthier, and drier character that I won't be waiting on the rest of my stash. As my friend Jonathan said -- "This just screams of earth and the south of France." And that's a good thing by me.
With a sweet carrot mousse and an apple-frangipane cake.
- N.V. Aimery Sieur d'Arques Blanquette Méthode Ancestrale La Méthode Ancestrale - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Blanquette Méthode Ancestrale
Rich honeyed yellow. Very clear for the type, but quite viscous. Mousse was restrained and almost seemed to vie with viscosity to make it to the top of the glass. Nose of baked apple custard and floral honey with a little spice as well. On palate, quite sweet -- sweet enough to stand up to a very sweet carrot pudding -- but well balanced by a nice dose of appley acid. Primary fruit of apple with a little lightly candied kumquat. Had an exotic stone and honey combination that was reminiscent of Vouvray moulleux, just with bubbles. Texture was evocative of fresh frothy sweet cream. Very low alcohol made this a nice way to finish up a weeknight celebration.
Great night of people and food. Also a good wine night. Nothing was corked; everything showed well, though the CNdP was a lot more advanced than I expected (and I know it had been stored well).
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