Terrific wines with outrageously good cassoulet as the supper club reconvenes.

Christine & Marty's.

Tasted March 26, 2013 by BradKNYC with 223 views

Introduction

After skipping February due to incompatible schedules by too many in the group, the bulk of the supper club, with Paul Jaouen as a lucky fill-in for Sarah Kirschbaum, reconvened the other night for a stellar evening of food, wine and friends. It was Christine's turn to cook and she once again performed magic in the kitchen. Now, while I've not yet had the pleasure of trying BettyLu Kessler's and Don Cornutt's much heralded, indeed legendary, cassoulet, I have now been fortunate enough to have dined on Christine's about four times and there simply isn't a better one in my book. It's just so full of deliciousness that the yummy sounds the group of grown men were making around the table just might be cause for a Congressional investigation. Therapy, for sure. Thankfully, we also had wines that reached the heights that the kitchen did and a most memorable evening was had. A big thank you to Christine and Marty for hosting.

Flight 1 (11 notes)

Rosé - Sparkling
N.V. Franck Bonville Champagne Brut Rosé Grand Cru France, Champagne, Avize, Champagne
Bright, fresh, clean and dominated by delightful red berry fruit with a hint of red delicious apples. It shows terrific minerality and good structure. Maybe a touch more vigor to the mousse than I prefer, but a good way to kick things off. B+.
White - Sparkling
1996 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Grande Cuvée France, Champagne
Shows a rich nose of yellow fruit, brioche, mineral and toasted nuts. While largely fresh on the palate, light nutty flavors are creeping in as the wine develops secondary flavors. Pleasantly tart with nice depth and balance and similar flavors as aromas. A-.
White
2009 La Pousse d'Or Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Le Cailleret France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru
A little too fat and oaky for my tastes. The richness and flavor to the stone fruits, pear and pineapple is admirable, but the butterscotch character is a bit overbearing and the wine comes off as heavy without the proper acidic lift. B/B+.
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Red
1989 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Along with La Mission Haut Brion and Angelus, somehow it seems like whenever an '89 of this wine shows up at dinner, a '90 also makes an appearance. I'm not complaining as the '89 and '90 of all three wines are stellar and tonight we had a terrific showing for both wines. Indeed, this '89 was one of the best showings I've had. Typically lowish fill due to the much talked about problem of poorly fitting corks, the wine showed no ill effects. In fact, the wine was bursting with sweet, but not overripe briary red berry fruit, meat, licorice and spice flavors and aromas with baked earth tones showing up at the back. Fully integrated and seemingly at the height of peak. There's a wonderful softness yet intensity to the wine. A debate broke out, as it usually does, as to whether this is a more feminine wine, or the '90, with evenly split results. While to my tastes the '90 usually bests the '89 in most of the head to head tastings I've had, tonight the '89 eeks out the win. Just a terrific showing. A+/A.
Red
1990 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
A terrific bottle and with a more masculine and serious profile than the '89 as it shows blacker fruit, a less perfumed nose and more muscle to the tannins. There's a strong blood character on the nose and palate, slightly more pepper to the spice blend and more garrigue showing. While the black fruit is ripe and has good depth, it's a bit more subdued than the flamboyant red fruit of the '89. It bears mentioning that both this bottle and the '89 were amongst the cleanest I've ever experienced. No one at the table detected any brett, which is a frequent companion to both wines. A.
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Red
1995 Domaine l'Aiguelière Coteaux du Languedoc Montpeyroux Côte Rousse France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Coteaux du Languedoc Montpeyroux
Showed nicely, but was outclassed by the stellar showing of the '89 and '90 Beaucastel. I didn't get to decant it as long as I would've liked, opening it up at 3:00 pm, put back in the bottle at 6:00 pm and consumed at 8:15 pm, so the fruit wasn't as forward as it normally is with more air, but the aromatics developed nicely and were chock full of the usual violets, lavender, garrigue, game and black and blue fruit character that is a hallmark of this wine. Similar flavors as aromas, but the black fruit didn't quite develop the sweetness it usually shows. Still quite tannic with this bottle showing a touch of oak on the finish. Low A-.
Red
1982 Château Trotanoy France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
I've always loved this wine and this was probably the best showing as we appeared to capture it just at peak. Everything was in perfect harmony. The wine showed incredible balance, depth, integration, power and elegance. Just absolutely seamless with terrific levels of black fruit that have started to take on a more mature profile. The wet earth screams Bordeaux as does the tobacco that came up with air. Secondary characteristics are starting to pop up like mushrooms after a rain. Just beautiful and tied with the '89 Beaucastel for my WOTN. A+/A.
Red
1959 Bodegas Palacio Rioja Glorioso Reserva Especial Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
flawed
Corked, unfortunately.
Red
1955 Federico Paternina Rioja Gran Reserva Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja
Shows red plummy and cherry fruit with blood, spice and old wood. The profile is darker than in many other old Rioja I've had, but the pert acidity is there. Decent fruit levels, but while quite nice and in fine form for a fifty-eight year old wine, it fails to really capture the imagination or hold one's attention and suffers from being in the company of some terrific wines this evening. B+.
White - Sweet/Dessert
1997 Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux 1ère Trie Clos du Bourg France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray
From a half bottle and while still quite youthful, it's matured enough so that the baby fat sweetness has receded to reveal more acidity than I think many might have expected from a '97. Surprisingly open and forward considering it was not decanted, it's rather flamboyant on the nose and palate with a strong honey profile with botrytis notes. Yellow fruited with chalky mineral and while quite sweet, the acidity does its job admirably. Layered, long and thoroughly satisfying. Solid A.
Red - Sweet/Dessert
1997 Philip Togni Black Muscat Ca' Togni USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
Typically muscatty with it's expressive and highy floral, spiced and grapey aromas. Unctuous, sweet and a little low in acid, it's showing more mature notes of figs and prunes to go along with the black raspberry core. Not particularly complex and the alcohol is sticking out a touch on the finish, but it's quite satisfying and a lovely match with the dark chocolate and olive oil cake. Drink up. Solid B+

Closing

Some pics from the evening.

The wines, minus the replacement '55 Paternina and '97 Ca' Togni.


Yellowfin tuna and pink grapefruit salad with Thai basil, mache and piment d'espelette.


Cassoulet!


A tasty plate.


Let's get a closer look at that.


Dark chocolate and olive oil cake.