Dinner(s) with friends

Northern Ohio

Tasted May 21, 2006 - May 22, 2006 by psmith with 661 views

Introduction

On Sunday Jen and I headed up north to the lake with some friends for two nights of great food and wine at our favorite Ohio restaurant, Chez Francois.

Flight 1 (2 notes)

We arrived at our B&B thirsty after a long drive and stated off with a simple but tasty (N.V.?) Argyle Brut before moving to some big cabs with pre-dinner conversation.

Red
2002 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
93 points
As a friend of mine recently said, Araujo is somewhere between Cabernet and Cabernet Port. This wine is true to that statement, being decidedly more on the porty side than I thought a bottle enjoyed a couple months back was. Dark, raisin and anise fruit with black Cabernet notes and lots of caramel and oak. Nice purity with a long, flashy, and clean profile with firm young tannins and a touch of alcoholic heat. A really enjoyable young wine.
Red
1999 Jones Family Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
88 points
Dark fruit nose bordering on over ripe. Slutty but cleanly made with smoky oak and slightly bruised fruit. Lacking in backbone, especially in the context of the vintage, but an enjoyable wine.

Flight 2 (4 notes)

By now it was time for a long dinner and some real wines. Dinner was, as always, excellently prepared and featuring fresh Morels and other delicious local produce. The wines we enjoyed were pretty good in their own right:

White
1991 Louis Jadot Le Montrachet France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru
93 points
Quite youthful in color. An opulent, focused nose with buttery minerals and a maturing nutty character. A wonderfully penetrating mineral core and, while a more medium-bodied Montrachet, not lacking in any way. Picks up weight and rounds out well with air. Delightfully oily texture. Really good.
White
1985 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile France, Alsace
91 points
Diesel fumes and a great purity to the nose. Perhaps turning a touch cidery on the finish, but focused with lots of mineral and a refreshing acidity. A really nice mature Riesling in a style I love.
Red
1981 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
92 points
Funky, sweaty Beaucastel nose with meat, leather, and mint notes. A more restrained palate with more elegance than the nose might suggest. Finishes long with a slight astringency that might benefit from a bit more time. Not totally in sync, and while an excellent wine not the equal of a bottle enjoyed a few months ago.
Red
1981 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
87 points
Surprisingly youthful color. A red fruit nose with graphite and some green vegetal notes. A nice, medium-weight palate up front but some coarse, hard tannins that may never soften. An enjoyable wine from a vintage that gave mixed results.

Flight 3 (1 note)

Our friends left Monday morning but Jen and I hung around for another night's dinner. We bummed around Cleveland during the day and had a nice lunch and a simple but enjoyable (and inexpensive) half bottle of 2004 Joseph Drouhin Macon Villages at Lockkeepers, another highly recommended restaurant.

We got back to our hotel with time for a quick nap and Champagne before dinner.

White - Sparkling
1982 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon France, Champagne
94 points
Golden, lager beer color. Ample mousse left. Toasty mature nose with nutty, biscuity notes, apples, and a bit of cider. Still firmly acidiic but with a rich, orange oil and caramelized sugar profile that keeps things quite balanced. Fills out wonderfully with air. Really good.

Flight 4 (2 notes)

Monday night's dinner was the annual Cigar Smoker. We spent an hour or so sipping some Belgian beers before sitting down by an open door for dinner. We had a couple of relatively smoke-free windows to enjoy some great wines, first during dinner (the Beaucastel), and then afterwards on the lakeside deck (La Chapelle). Dinner was, again, excellent.

Red
1990 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
94 points
A meaty, leathery young red fruit nose that's remarkably clean for Beaucastel. Full and expansive on the palate, and benefits greatly from time in a decanter. Concentrated but stops short of being overtly flashy. Some unresolved tannin. The most youthful and best bottle of this I’ve had - still years away from maturity.
Red
1978 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
94 points
Still a deep, red/black with no bricking. A reticent, almost Burgundian charm. More accessible with a couple of hours in the decanter. Peppery, slightly sweet blackberry fruit with anise and mint notes. Deep, elegant, expansive palate with an ultra-hard tannic finish and tart, lasting acidity. Clearly an excellent wine but this bottle was nowhere close to ready - has anyone ever had a mature "great vintage" of La Chapelle?
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