I was nervous about having a wine-collector extraordinaire over for dinner. You know, the kind who does verticals of DRC or flies to Tampa just to eat at a restaurant with a big wine cellar. But the invitation had been accepted, and Scott Manlin was to find himself in our shabby abode last Sunday. So all I could do was cook for my life and choose a few apposite bottles from our cellar.
Things got off to an amusing start when, as I stood in the kitchen, Scott came to the kitchen door, looked around, and said, "Where's your kitchen?" Uhm... Apparently I was standing in his line of sight and he couldn't make out the stove and oven behind me. (I am not as wide as all that, be assured.)
Two 1986 Bordeaux had made the trip with Scott; he graciously added them to the evening's libations.
1999 Henriot Rosé - I like this elegant young vintage Henriot rosé, and am in general a fan of the house style. We quaffed this with some slices of andouille sausage and rillettes. I wrote a tasting note about this in January, mentioning "the briochy notes and the light notes of gooseberry, raspberry, citrus, and some floral elements" - here it seemed less elegant, curiously, more straightforward and even a little brazenly fruity, darker pink.
At the table, I had made a chaudrée aux palourdes - creamy soup with tiny clams and chunks of bacon, onion, celery and thyme.
2002 Jobard-Morey Meursault 1er cru "Les Charmes" - This young Meursault 1er cru was playing tricks on my palate with its acidity; it seemed out of balance, too lemony.
Next course was sweetbreads with cèpes in brown sauce.
2001 Clos des Lambrays - This was the first bottle of this I'd tasted. From other notes on the Clos des Lambrays, I was expecting something light, elegant. Here, I found the 2001 austere, dry, with its back up. Barky, woodsy, maybe some dark berries, but not in any red-fruit pinot noir style.
1999 Rossignol-Trapet Chambertin - Hard and none too generous. Two young grand cru Burgs and neither was open for business. Firmly closed. A lot of body, but also very austere, tannic. Hm.
So we switched to the Bordeaux, and also moved on to a cheese platter with a Savoie-region Tomme de chèvre, Morbier, Saint-Félicien, Saint-Nectaire, and a round Loire chèvre called Taupinette.
1986 Pichon Comtesse de Lalande - Corked. Well, damn, blast. Behind the light cork taint was some elegant stuff going on; smooth, well-integrated tannins and length and plummy, tobacco-y notes. But marred by the cork.
So we opened another bottle:
1986 Lynch-Bages - Somewhat closed and austere at first, with woody, leather and tobacco notes, this started to open with dark stewed fruits and a robust body - very young seeming.
And continued on with a chocolate mousse with pink peppercorns.
And then I inelegantly disappeared, as Arnaud and Scott were talking. It seems I was next door, in the dark, lying down on my bed. I believe I had a few too many sips of wine. So I never formally said good evening to Scott. But am glad he graced us with his transatlantic presence and enjoyed the '86s and the excellent company! And we didn't even make him suffer through any Loire wines!