Sunday, December 28, 2014

A wine and dine Christmas 2014 dinner - French style; and a big Rhone dinner too with 100 point Hermitage La Chapelle wine!

Christmas Dinner - all French fine wines!
We had a fabulous Christmas dinner - French style by Chef Shirley Ross and Bill Tieleman.

We started with French Chaorce cheese from the Champagne regions and pate with crackers with a lovely 2011 Drouhin-Vaudon Vaillon Chablis rated 90 points by Robert Parker; followed by gougeres with smoked Applewood cheddar made Shirley - all with Nicholas FIeullette Brut Reserve Champagne rated 91 points by the Wine Spectator; Bill's seared foie gras with a fig/eau di vie compote and a 2003 Chateau Myrat Sauterne rated 95 pts by the Wine Spectator.

Fresh gougeres

Then our main course: Shirley's lapin a la moutarde - two rabbits cooked in Dijon mustard sauce with white wine and heavy cream, accompanied by a 2009 Saint Prefert August Favier Reserve Chateauneuf-du-Pape rated 94 points by the Wine Spectator.  The lapin was served with roasted garlic mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and - what else - French green beans, along with bourbon-maple syrup roasted mashed yams.
Lapin a la moutarde

After a reasonable break to digest, we went on to a selection of Thomas Haas desserts along with the 2003 Chateau Myrat Sauterne.  For the non-French ending, and then after another period of digestion, a flight of bourbons with a super smooth Evan Williams Single Barrel, put in oak in 2004; a Col. E.H. Taylor Small Batch and a Stagg Jr Straight Cut with 60% alcohol! 

Bourbons after dinner - mmmm!
For those who worry about the amount of alcohol - fear not - small portions and vacuum sealed bottles mean overindulgence was avoided - mostly - though the amount of fat from the cream, butter, foie gras, chocolate and more was significant!  But it's Christmas dinner. 

I was also fortunate enough to have a Rhone wine dinner earlier in December - what an amazing selection of wines!

It was capped with the first 100 point wine I've ever tasted - a 1990 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage "La Chapelle" - simply marvellous.  Robert Parker raved about it and rated it at 100 - a perfect score!  

Parker: "Spectacular aromatics offer up aromas of incense, smoke, blackberry fruit, cassis, barbecue spice, coffee, and a touch of chocolate. As it sits in the glass, additional nuances of pepper and grilled steak emerge. There is extraordinary freshness for such a mammoth wine in addition to abundant tannin, an amazing 60-second finish, and a level of glycerin and thick, fleshy texture that have to be tasted to be believed." 

Amazing wine!

We started with the sole white - a Barville Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Brotte - 100% Rousanne Blanc - rated 91 by Robert Parker - if you have never tried white CNP, do yourself a favour - I hadn't until a five years ago and it's now one of my favourites!  This one was outstanding - apples, pears, almonds and more in a glass.
Our Rhone wines of the evening

We also tasted a 2006 Vieux Telegraphe "La Crau" rated 93 points by Parker; a 2005 Cote Rotie "Les Essartailles" from Le Vins de Vienne rated 86 by Parker but higher by me; a 2004 CNP from Les Closiers rated 90 by the Wine Spectator; a beautiful 2000 Chateau Beaucastel CNP rated 94 by Parker; another 2000 CNP from Domaine Grand Veneur rated 90 by Parker; and the 1990 Hermitage!  You can see them below.

The dinner was also excellent - rack of lamb as the main preceded by arancini, cheeses and crackers, and accompanied by great salads and sides.  

And then a surprise - our gracious host Jim opened a 1999 Turley Petite Syrah from Napa Valley - non-Rhone indeed - that Parker scored 97 points.  That ended the evening with a bang!   

The 100 point Hermitage!

Big Turley 1999 Petite Syrah 


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