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Thursday, August 23, 2007

How To Get Your Restaurant Wines Jusssst Right... helps when it's a Rhone from the 2001 Vintage!

I don't know how many of you do this, but I highly recommend calling your restaurant ahead of time (depending on the bottle you are interested in) to kindly ask them to begin decanting the wine that you'd like to order for your dinner reservation. I find two, blatant benefits to doing so:

1). Most top notch restaurants have their wine lists available via a PDF file on the internet (how often they update them is another story). Analyzing them ahead of time means that you will not miss out on any dinner dialogue due to having your nose firmly glued to the local wine bible. You'll no longer be the anti-social wine'll be elevated to resourceful wine geek status immediately.

2). Most reasonably priced wine on restaurant lists is on the younger side and in need of a oxygenating kick in the rear. I'll tend to order younger wines based on my wallet, or based on sheer curiosity. This inevitably leads to disappointment, considering my tastes, as the wine will usually be withdrawn and stubborn until the last glass offers a glimpse at 'what could have been.'

Decanting ahead of time allows the wine geek to be social, interactive and content w/ how the wine has evolved. Most restaurants that are equipped with sommeliers will happily do this for you, assuming you leave a credit card number over the phone for security reasons. If this is old news, feel free to tease my redundancy and scroll on down to the wine as it is definitely worth the foreplay.

2001 Domaine Charvin
The second this was poured in the glass, I knew I had to firmly fasten my seat belt and embrace myself for a heady, Provencal ride. The deep, dark purple appearance was nearly opaque, a stark comparison to the majority of its peers. The scents don't tickle, nor do they tease...authoritative notes of cigar box, roasted chestnut and spice rubbed beef eject themselves through the nostrils like a shuttle at launch. You couldn't help but imagine a dry fermented port was to follow, and boy was it! Huge, immensely proportioned in the mouth, pumping out piles of dried figs, melted licorice, rich black currant and plumb sauce saturate every single inch of the palate. While the textures were nothing short of plush, the wine was layered, richly tannic and massively endowed. The elements of garrigue reverberate on the finish, as if they were magnified w/ fun-house mirrors that cascaded like dominos.

I expected a sense of feminine power and was greeted w/ this stunning model of masculine opulence, epitomized by low acid decadence. A dazzling accomplishment! While I've had the Pegau Reservee 2003 4 times this year, this '01 effort could get toe to toe w/ it every step of the way. 97 points.
Another Domaine that subscribes to only one regional bottling (a rouge and a blanc, as opposed to multiple cuvees showcasing best barrels and old vines) is Clos des Papes. Although there are plenty of classic examples from producers like Janasse, Pegau, Vieille Julienne, etc. that showcase success utilizing multiple bottlings, this is a single estate Rouge week (it also happens that neither of these wines sees ANY new oak whatsoever).

The 2001 Clos des Papes appears more transparent in color than the nearly opaque Charvin, but shows lovely deep ruby specks throughout its base....blah blah blah, who cares about the color!? Dive in and you'll see why she's special, in beguiling spades. The scents offer a gateway of subtlety, which evokes notions of grilled beef, sage, kirsch, rose and raspberry ganache. The palate tap dances the line of the savory spectrum, while flirting w/ the pure natures enjoyed in freshly crushed fruit. Glossy and subtlely explosive, this vintage of Clos des Papes reveals its pedigree initially, but builds classical momentum in short time. Provencal elements lurk in the hauntingly pure finish, leaving me breathless & salivating.

Yeah, I dig it. 96 points, certainly enjoyable (decanted for 2 hours) now but I’d be keen on watching her purity strike an even more profound chord in time.

2001 was one of the watershed vintages in the Southern Rhone's consecutive string of winners from '98-'06 (save for '02). Several Chateauneuf produced from this year have elevated levels of tannin, leaving them mired in pro-longed dormant stages since they were bottled. I believe these two Domaine bottlings are unique in their approachability, polish and early generosity, relative to the nature of 2001. Don't let that fool you though, these wines will continue to evolve and impress for at least 2 more decades to come.

What magical wonders lay w/in the Southern Rhone?!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The same diversity in their ways of formation and the same rules for its solution hold good also for the innumerable medley of dream contents, examples of which I need scarcely adduce.. Besides those symbols, which are just as frequent for the male as for the female genitals, there are others which preponderately, or almost exclusively, designate one of the sexes, and there are still others of which only the male or only the female signification is known.. She always manages to bring together those persons that are best fitted to enjoy each other's conversation.. Won't two do ye? I ain't got but six bedrooms in th' house.. The second remark, I don't know that arose in a very different connection.. Through this free transferability of the intensities, moreover, and in the service of condensation, intermediary presentations --compromises, as it were--are formed ( cf. It wanted but a quarter of eleven, when Jane rose from the piano, and was congratulated by her mother on the excellence of her music.. The thing to do, Pink, is to have your prices reg'lar, and make people pay up reg'lar.. I cannot pretend to recount all that he told me, but I gleaned from what he said that he was a genius who presided over the contretemps of mankind, and whose business it was to bring about the odd accidents which are continually astonishing the skeptic.. Horner to puzzle her, for the credit of his own school.. One youngster made a political speech from the top of the table; another impersonated Hamlet; and finally Elder Brown was lifted into a chair, and sang a camp-meeting song.. This presentation is frequently a reversed one, the beginning of the dream being the deduction, and its end the hypothesis.. There came a break in the run of customers, and the spruce young man, having swept the foam from the marble, dexterously lifted a glass from the revolving rack which had rinsed it with a fierce little stream of water, and asked mechanically, as he caught the intense look of the perspiring elder, What syrup, sir? Now it had not occurred to the elder to drink soda, but the suggestion, coming as it did in his exhausted state, was overpowering.. All the qualities which we esteem in our mental operations, and which distinguish these as complicated activities of a high order, we find repeated in the dream thoughts.. After a pause he added, delicately: But were these attentions--er--confined to--er---sacred precincts? Did he meet you elsewhere? Useter pass our house on the road, returned the girl, dropping into her monotonous recital, and useter signal.. For this reason it is rare for him to have his wishes realized during sleep in the short psychical way.. Through the qualities of this system, consciousness, which had hitherto been a sensory organ only for the perceptions, now becomes also a sensory organ for a part of our mental processes. He was a powerful man, with a good-humored face, and, in spite of his unfelicitous nickname of The Bone-Breaker, had a kindly, simple, but somewhat emotional nature.. They were close to the Tutt House now, and her limp, that had entirely disappeared as they emerged from the woods, now became quite perceptible.. At this moment the dreamer must have succeeded in prolonging his sleep despite the disturbance, for when he woke he no longer heard the noise; he concluded rightly that some one must have been beating a carpet or bed...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007  

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