Category Archives: Chablis

Dinner Grape Style Part II

The gang was back together again at Aunt and UncleGrape’s house on Saturday night for another spectacular dinner. We were joined by CousinGrapette, BoyfriendGrape, as well as SisterGrape who took a trip from school to join us. Fresh off our trips to Union Square, Eataly, and of course the Wine Library we got to work on dinner. Here was our menu:

Appetizers: Smoked duck breast, wild boar salami, goat cheese with rosemary olive sourdough bread, daikon radish with hummus or spicy brown mustard and Hawaiin volcano sea salt.

Main Course: Roasted boneless leg of lamb infused with garlic and rubbed with spicy brown mustard.

Dessert: Italian cookies with pistachio cream spread and assorted chocolates.

NV Guy Larmandier Champagne2011 Gilbert Picq Chablis

With the appetizers we decided to go with French whites. We started with the NV Guy Larmandier 1er Cru Champagne which was crisp, light, refreshing and had just the right amount of bubbles. That was followed by the 2011 Gilbert Picq Chablis which was similar to the Champagne w/o the carbonation. I probably favored the Champagne over the Chablis and Moby did for sure. I learned that Vielles Vignes means old vines after I butchered trying to say it in front of UncleGrape who speaks fluent French. While the duck  and boar probably could have stood up to a light red the whites went well with everything. The duck was tender with just the right amount of smoke and the boar had an interesting sweetness to go along with good texture. The goat cheese paired well with the bread for a creamy mouthful of food. The daikon was very interesting…to me it tasted like a crunch wafer made of mushrooms and onion but it worked well with the smooth hummus and red volcano salt. All the appetizers were promptly destroyed and it was time to move onto the main course.

April 2013 NJ CdP

Since I got my hands on some 1995 Chateau de Beaucastel recently I brought a bottle and we decided to go a horizontal tasting of 1995 Chateauneuf du Pape.

1. 1995 Domaine de Beaurenard Boisrenard

2. 1995 Chateau de Beaucastel

3. 1995 Domaine de la Janasse

We started the meal a little bit later than anticipated because we didn’t realize the lamb was still partially frozen in the center. Not a problem for the Grape family as we had plenty of wine to keep us busy. We started with the Boisrenard which was surprisingly still tight. UncleGrape explained that 1995’s were historically tight but while it still had solid fruit coming through a bunch of us thought this was a bit too tight still. I’d love to try it again in 5-10 years.

We then moved on to the Beaucastel which had a very distinct old bandaid smell to it. Sounds appetizing right? It was delicious! UncleGrape filled us in on the smell…it’s called “brett”. Brett is a type of yeast called Brettanomyces that can be found on the skin of fruit and therefore in wine. Small amounts of brett are generally regarded as good for the flavor of the wine however large amounts can cause problems. That being said the Beaucastel was very bretty. AuntGrape is notorious for loving bretty wines so it’s no surprise she loved it the most. We enjoyed it too and it was an educational experience.

Lastly we had the Janasse. Our last trip we had the 2000 which was good but not the best of the night however I’d argue for the 95 taking the show this time. I thought it had the most balance but not everyone agreed with me.

We couldn’t come to a consensus on the Chateauneuf like we did last time with the 2000 Charvin stealing the show. Here’s how we ranked them:

colonelgrape: 3-2-1

MobyGrape: 3-1-2

UncleGrape: 1-2-3

AuntGrape (brett lover): 2-3-1

Since Moby and I write the blog we’re going to declare the Janasse the winner but it was a split decision for sure. The one thing we all agreed on though is that the 1989 Parusso Bussia Barolo was the wine of the weekend. The Chateauneuf was great but the Barolo outclassed them all.

Cocchi Barolo Chinato

Last but not least AuntGrape treated us all to a very rare (and previously illegal in the United States) Italian digestif…Cocchi Barolo Chinato. Having never heard of it Moby and I were all in. We learned that Barolo Chinato is a standard barolo infused with spices and most importantly quinine which why it was illegal in the United States as that’s a drug found in prescription medications! The spices and quinine give it a gin like, piney taste to go along with some sweetness. On it’s own we weren’t huge fans but when paired with dark chocolate it was spectacular. Something about the combination worked wonders. We  also had the Italian cookies and pistachio cream spread which was crazy good. The spread was a honey like consistency but had a sweetness to go along with the strong pistachio taste. We liked the wine much better with the chocolate than the cookies and spread but we both would have eaten the spread right out of the jar it was that good.

We concluded our trip next morning by making breakfast with the duck, turkey, and pheasant eggs which was great. The duck was probably the most different having a huge yolk and slightly different texture, the others tasted similar to a chicken egg just different sizes. We learned about brett and Barolo Chinato, had great food, great wine, and spent time with family so all in all it was a great trip. Keep an eye out for that 1989 Parusso!!!

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Dinner Grape Style

When we get together with AuntGrape and UncleGrape we tend to have a fantastic feast and this weekend was no different. We spent the majority of Saturday preparing the food and visiting the Wine Library. CousinGrapette and BoyfriendGrape made guest appearances as well. Here was our menu:

Appetizers: Goat and blue cheese with crackers, Gougere

Main Course: 14 rib pork crown roast with bread and pear stuffing

Sides: Twice baked potato casserole, broccoli with garlic and cheese, fresh gravy

Desert: Individual baked apple pastry

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If you’ve never had gougere you are simply missing out. A light, fluffy pastry made with gruyere cheese, they are heaven right out of the oven. I got the chance to make it myself and it’s not that complicated, Moby and I are most certainly going to be making it again when we host our next dinner.

UncleGrape was generous enough to share some of his wine with us and we were delighted to drink whites, reds, and port throughout the meal. Let’s talk wine!

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To start the evening we opened a delicious picpoul with the cheese and crackers and in my excitement I forgot to take a picture of the bottle. It was light, delicious, and inexpensive. Picpoul is a white grape grown in the Chateauneuf du Pape region of Rhone. When the gougere arrived we opened a 2006 Weinbach Gewurztraminer Cuvee Laurence from Alsace. This wine stole the show for Moby and myself. It was sweet, spicy, and coated the glass with it’s deliciousness. We wrapped up appetizers with a 2010 Dauvissat Chablis which is a chardonnay from Burgundy. It was light and fruity and a nice way to transition to the main course.

White wine rankings:

1: 2006 Weinbach Gewurztraminer Cuvee Laurence. This wine was so delicious that I’ve ordered more to have in the house. 2006 was no longer available but I was able to find 2009 and 2010. Stay tuned for a full review in the future.

2: Picpoul: I wish I had more info on this bottle but we’ll be trying another soon.

3: 2010 Dauvissat Chablis.

Onto the the reds. UncleGrape approached me and said “How about Chateauneuf’s tonight?” I smiled and nodded my head excitedly. Here’s what we had with dinner:

1998 and 2000 CdPs from Paul 1998 Font de Michelle CdP

UncleGrape didn’t let us down and served us 4 excellent CdP’s. We agreed on the first two rankings but we flip flopped on the last two…here’s how I ranked them:

1. 2000 Domaine Charvin

2. 1998 Domaine Font de Michelle Cuvee Etienne Gonnet

3. 1998 Vieux Telegraph

4. 2000 Domaine de la Janasse

All 4 wines were delicious but the Charvin was head and shoulders above the other three wines. A perfect balance of fruit, spice, and body it was the best CdP I’ve had to date…ahead of the 2007 Bosquet des Pape we rated earlier this year. I’m looking forward to trying more CdP from Domaine Charvin in the future.

While I was hard at work on the gougere Moby was slaving over the baked apples we had for desert. Each serving is half an apple stuffed with a mixture of butter, sugar, and spices and wrapped in a pastry crust. We used golden delicious apples and will 100% be making these again. They look like little bowling balls but were one of the lightest deserts I’ve ever had. They melted in your mouth and left you wanting more…serving them with vanilla ice cream made it even better.

With the apples we had a fantastic 1977 Taylors Vintage Port:

1977 Taylor's Vintage Port

UncleGrape started this decanting about 7 hours before we drank it and there was probably a solid 1-2 cups of sediment in the sink after pouring it into the decanter. However, it opened up beautifully…we were all shocked at how much life it still had left. It was ready to drink now but it could easily age longer. It had the delicious raisin taste I associate with port and was even better than the 1994 Graham’s we had earlier this year. Moby and I kept the bottle to add to our collection…maybe we’ll use it as a vase or a decoration in the future.

What a night. Family, friends, and 8 bottles of fantastic wine. We’re looking forward to our next trip already!