2nd Annual Hobo's Winetasting Dinner - a Niederauer Production

Plumed Horse Restaurant, Saratoga, California
Tasted Thursday, May 7, 2009 by Richard Jennings with 443 views

Introduction

David Niederauer is known in wine circles not only for his showcase cellar, love for d'Yquem and tremendous generosity, but also for his sometimes diabolical blindtasting stunts and general sense of fun. Last year he hosted a dinner on tax day that he dubbed "a Hobo's dinner," and got Chef Peter at Plumed Horse to create some stunning dishes with whimsical hobo-inspired names. The results were too good not to create demand for a sequel this year. This time David had a little help with the wines from Howard Graham, of Graham Family Vineyards, who supplied a flight of '01 Montrachets that were double blind to the rest of us. Red Restaurant Sommelier Jason Heller, who is developing a reputation as a highly talented blindtaster, also joined us this year.

Besides the lovely Montrachet flight, other highlights for me this year were the red Burgundies in two blind flights of Pinot (unexpected, since David has only lately started collecting Burgs), a terrific flight of Diamond Creek Cabs, and a beautiful bottle of Massandra. On the food side, besides usual Plumed Horse favorites like the black pepper and parmesan souffle with uni and Dungeness crab fondue, the standouts for me were foie gras dumplings, roasted squab breast with morels, and a beautifully prepared Sonoma lamb loin with ricotta gnocchi and fava beans. All in all, another fun, tasty and memorable evening with David and company.
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Flight 1 - "Cosmo" cocktail (1 Note)

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Turned out to be chilled SQN Rose, clearly a little tannic for a Cosmo. (Some of us let it warm up over time, and it was a lot tastier chilled.)
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  • 2006 Sine Qua Non Autrement Dit 90 Points

    USA, California

    Dark cherry red color; tart cranberry and berry nose; big, tart cherry, sour cherry, tangy, concnetrated, ripe cranberry, orange palate with an herbal note; long finish 90+ pts. (55% Grenache, 45% Syrah) (tasted better served cold initially, as a faux "Cosmopolitan," not as good as it warmed up to room temp)

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Flight 2 - "Monty Python" - '01 Montrachet Flight (4 Notes)

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Served with "Fishmonger's Stew": Shellfish Bisque and tarragon creme fraiche
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  • 2001 Marquis de Laguiche (Joseph Drouhin) Montrachet 94 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru

    Light golden yellow color; nice floral, white flower, lemon and mineral nose; rich, delicious, luscious, poised ripe lemon, integrated oak and mineral palate, with more oak showing as it warms up; medium-plus finish 94+ pts.

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  • 2001 Etienne Sauzet Montrachet 93 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru

    Light golden yellow color; tight, minerally, buttery nose; tasty, tart lemon, mineral butter, saline palate, very Chablis-like, with good acidity; medium-plus finish

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  • 2001 Bouchard Père et Fils Montrachet 91 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru

    Light medium golden yellow color; nice floral nose with a touch of green; tart, tight, citrus and orange palate, with silky texture; medium-plus finish

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  • 2001 Domaine Jacques Prieur Montrachet 92 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru

    Light medium golden yellow color; a little oxidized, orange nose; tangy, orange, orange marmalade, tart lemon and mineral palate; long finish 92+ pts.

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Flight 3 - Black Glass Flight (3 Notes)

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The Novy Blanc de Noir, which I'd had before (with David in the Russian River last fall), really threw me. Best I could guess was a tart Riesling Kabinett. But I and others guessed that the other two wines were SQN white Rhone blends.

Served with "Pepper Pot Soup with Vegemite": always delicious Chef Peter speciality Black Pepper & Parmesan souffle, uni and Dungeness crab fondue
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Flight 4 - Foie Gras Flight (2 Notes)

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Served with "Three Gold Balls with Queen Bee Jam": Foie Gras Dumplings with orange marmalade
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2nd Foie Gras course
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  • 1975 Château d'Yquem 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    Light medium orange color with red light and clear meniscus; nice orange, light apricot, orange marmalade and tart green fruit nose, with possible light touch of TCA; tasty, youthful, tart lime marmalade, lime, tart apricot palate with poise and medium high acidity; medium-plus finish 93+ pts.

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  • 1955 Château Sigalas Rabaud 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    Medium dark amber red color with clear meniscus; coffee, mocha and burnt caramel nose (with "white birch," per Renee); tangy, tart apple butter, lemon marmalade, orange marmalade, kumquat and mocha notes; long finish

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Flight 5 - Mature Blind Flight (2 Notes)

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Served with "Grilled Sneeze Sandwich": Epoise fondue, braised oxtail and toasted brioche
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  • 1985 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands-Echezeaux 88 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Grands-Echezeaux Grand Cru

    Light medium red color with clarity and clear meniscus; bretty, barnyard nose, that cleans up some after 40 minutes or so, to more of a horseradish and dried red fruit nose; chlorine, brett, tart, mature cranberry and rosehips palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 88+ pts.

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  • 1947 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva 92 Points

    Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo

    Bricking light orange red color with clear meniscus; earthy, dried mushroom, dried red fruit nose; tart, light-footed, dried red fruit, cranberry and tobacco palate with good lime acidity; medium-plus finish 92+ pts.

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Flight 6 - "Hearty Burgundy" blind flight (5 Notes)

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Served with "Seagull Road Kill with Crushed Fritos": Roasted squab breast, confit squab leg
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Flight 7 - More Hearty Burgundy Blind flight (5 Notes)

Served with "Monkey-cooked Goat with Mother Ant Jam in Weasel Juice": Sonoma lamb loin, ricotta gnocchi and fava beans (delicious dish)
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Flight 8 - Old Diamonds in the Rough Blind flight (3 Notes)

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Served with "Mystery Meat Sandwich with Weasel Juice": Filet Mignon "French Dip" slider, with garlic aioli and truffle jus
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Flight 9 - Someone found this old bottle (1 Note)

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Served with "On Top of Old Smokey, all Covered with Snow": frozen vanilla parfait and orange sorbet
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Flight 10 - More blind wine (2 Notes)

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Served alongside "Hot Pile of Shit": Chocolate souffle, hazelnut brittle and Valrhona chocolate ganache
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