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And They Gave Their Corks For France

August 24 2003 at 3:39 PM
jkingston  (Login jkingston)

How does one top a perfect evening of food and wine????

As they say in the sports broadcasts "to the tape". So let's start with the photo of the wines.

Not a loser in the bunch and one of the rare times we have combined burgundy and bordeaux during a meal.

Started off with amuse bouche of crostini with goat cheese and figs. Knowing what was coming, we laid off the champagne and stuck to sparkling water.

Then a rarity: white Alaska wild silver salmon, slow roasted with an herb crust. It is a shame that outside of Alaska, Seattle (sometimes) and Berkeley Bowl this wonderful delicate variety of wild salmon cannot be found. I coated it with a finely chopped mixture of parsley, fresh tarragon, chives, shallots and a very little olive oil to bind it. Coat the top and sides of the salmon and roast in a slow oven at 275. What emerges is a delicate, vaporize in the mouth extraorinarily refined salmon, made all the lighter by the herbs. What better to pair it with than perfect white burgundy, in this case 90 Sauzet Puligny Les Combettes. Sorry to say, most of the Grand Cru white burgundies I have had would have be hard pressed to top this wine. Rich with incredible extract it had a heady roasted citrus nose and layers of vanilla, fruit and spice. It was utterly perfect.

Then onto the main course. Gigot of Niman Sonoma lamb, rattatouille of all organic vegetables, and roast organic red potatoes with garlic and rosemary. Again we are blessed here with Niman lamb. It could duke it out with agneau pre sale or agneau de sisteron. Rattatouille when every single vegetable is perfectly ripe is a joy. The secret to cooking it is to cook every single vegetable separately, then assemble. That way one avoids the "stewy" aspect that many preparations have.

Front and center: 82 Haut Brion. I confess, when it comes to the first growths from the left bank, Haut Brion is my favorite. The wine was broodingly dense with a wonderful earthy tobacco nose (which you expect from great Graves) followed by incredibly rich plummy fruit and an endless velvet finish. Truly a monumental Haut Brion whose time has come.

Onto cheese. Here the shipment had come in and we had a selection of reblochon, tomme de savoie, beaufort (does it sound like we should have been in Talloires?), st. nectaire, ste. maure, forme d'ambert, affinois and montagnard (from the vosges). Taking care to be sure that the Haut Brion was completely gone, it was off to burgundy with the 85 Mugnier Musigny.

Riveting. Musigny at is best is perhaps burgundy's greatest wine. It combines power and delicacy in a way hard to imagine. This wine had a fabulous spice nose and a softness in the mouth which is hard to describe. 85 is a simply lovely burgundy vintage and this wine showed it. I love the 85s for their ripeness and wonderfully sweet fruit. This wine was a poster child for the vintage. It was also a perfect capper for an evening of 3 wines, each a superstar in a super star vintage.

Desert: Seasonal. A cobler of plums and white nectarines.

Who needs to go to fancy restaurants?????

Coming soon: the article on my shop at Berkeley Bowl.


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