San Diego WineSpectator.com Offline, 5/24/2012

French Market Grille, Rancho Bernardo, California
Tasted Thursday, May 24, 2012 by Javachip with 236 views

Introduction

We convened at this casual French restaurant to try the $20 lobster special. Accordingly, most of the wines were white tonight. As usual, rankings are by group vote, and point scores are my own.

Flight 1 (7 Notes)

  • 1996 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut La Grande Dame 94 Points

    France, Champagne

    Clear light golden yellow with scant fine bead. Bouquet of quince, ginger, mushrooms, croissant. A sulfurous note of burnt matchstick intruded intermittently but dissipated after 20 minutes. On the palate, macintosh apples, lemon peel, crushed limestone. Elegant, complex, subtle and sophisticated. We agreed that tonight's bottle was more evolved than a bottle from a colder cellar opened last New Year's Eve. My #1 and group's FIRST PLACE for the night.

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  • 2006 M. Chapoutier St. Joseph Blanc Les Granits

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph

    100% marsanne according to SD-Wineaux. Clear light yellow. Delicate bouquet of white flowers, nougat, gooseberry. Faintly bitter palate of herbs, grass, and minerals. Not offering much tonight, to me anyway, so I won't score it. Seems to be in a closed or dumb phase, typical of white Rhones between ages 3 and 12. Nevertheless, the group admired the purity and balance of this wine, and ranked it THIRD PLACE tonight.

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  • 2009 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    Clear light straw color. Delicate bouquet of white flowers and crushed gravel. On the palate, a hint of lime, otherwise similar to the 2006 Chapoutier Les Granits tasted just prior -- seems mute and closed. Will hopefully emerge from its chrysalis around 2021 or so.

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  • 2004 Domaine Bernard Morey et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Embrazées 88 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru

    Clear light straw color. Restrained bouquet of white grapefruit pith, smoke, clean horse stall, whiff of skunk -- in a good way! Much more attractive on the palate, with fresh, pure notes of lemon and minerals.

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  • 2006 Louis Latour Beaune 1er Cru Les Cras 89 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Beaune 1er Cru

    Clear straw color. Fresh clean bouquet of minerals, smoke, apple, lemon. Flinty, chalky, herbal on the palate. Seems austere now, but warrants a re-visit in a few years.

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  • 2008 Sine Qua Non Kolibri 93 Points

    USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County

    70% roussanne, 30% viognier. Clear light golden yellow. Exuberant bouquet of clover honey, tangerine, mango, jasmine. Unctuous, sauternes-like mouthfeel with flavors of nougat, minerals, pear and fresh cream. Tasted like, and paired well with, the crepes suzette for dessert. Also a nice compliment to lobster. I imagine this would also pair well with veal sweetbreads and perhaps foie gras. Tied for SECOND PLACE tonight. It's funny to see how frequently the word "very" appears in SQN tasting notes. All of these wines are "very" something. Except ordinary.

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  • 2000 Château Lynch-Bages 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Decanted and re-bottled two hours before tasting. Clear dark garnet-purple. Wonderful bouquet of fresh crushed blackberries, charcoal, creme de cassis. Similar on the palate, with notes of river stones and grilled herbs. Firm tannins need at least another five years to resolve. Even then, SD-Wineaux and I agreed that this wine will probably never rival the 2000 Leoville Poyferre. But it's an outstanding wine. My #3, group's SECOND PLACE (tie) tonight.

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Closing

The lobster special did not disappoint. Someone described the dish as a French interpretation of Puerto Nuevo lobster, a Mexican favorite. Until next time, cheers everyone!

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