December 27, 2009

Frosty window

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Tonight was the last MNSC dinner of the year, and you could feel the tension in the air as the fight for last place was down to the wire between three of the members.  Our generous host Paulo - who was one of the three - chose to host the dinner at the newly-opened French Window.

The amuse bouche was served before we sat down for dinner.  I believe it was French ham that was very fatty and yummy - I was too busy chatting with friends as the waiter was mumbling something.

Beef carpaccio rossigny - very thin layers of foie gras were staggered between the beef, and everything was just oh-my-gawd-it-melted-in-my-mouth... Was it beef that I just ate?  Coz it was so buttery I thought it was pata negra... A very, very good start to the meal.

Potato tower, black truffle - classic combo of creamy mashed potato with the amazing fragrance of black truffles and truffle oil.  The shells of the towers were done very nicely.  This is one dish that makes me want to have lots of mash...and that doesn't happen very often.

Creamy polenta, black trumpets - not that I'm complaining but... isn't this a little similar to the one we had just finished? Anyway, the polenta was super creamy and runny, and very, very delishhh.  I wasted no time lapping it up, and would have picked up the plate to lick the bottom clean had I been in different company.  After all, we were in the private room and out of view of the public...

Roasted pigeon, beetroot confit, spiced red wine sauce - I think this is actually à la royale.  The flavors were certainly very heavy, with lots of spices typical of the winter season.  The pigeon meat that was stuffed into the skin was done very nicely - still red in the center and juicy.  But I think the spices were a bit too much for me and I struggled to finish the meat.  I was more than happy to take the bite-sized beetroot, though.

Cheese selection : aged Comté, Brebis des Pyrénées - the Comté was pretty young and tasted fresh with sweet grass flavors.  The Brebis was actually pretty hard.

While I thought the meal in general was pretty good, and liked just about everything I had on our special menu, the story was quite different outside.  A few of the wives of MNSC members decided to come and have dinner in the main dining room, ordering à la carte.  They were less than impressed with the food.  I did have a bite of the steak tartare and didn't think very much of it.

Worst of all, the staff was apparently rude to the wives.  When one of them tried to choose a selection from the cheese trolley, one waiter apparently barked and told her she could only choose a maximum of three.  WTF?!  When was the last time a top-tier (or pretending to be top-tier) restaurant tried to be cheap with me on cheese?  Most places would only be too happy for me to take a bit of everything.  You won't find me returning with this kind of attitude.

On to the wines!  The theme of the evening - typical of Paulo - was 1969 horizontal.

We started with the 1969 Dom Pérignon pre-dinner.  This was a very, very beautiful wine - lots of straw, oxidized pear, orange marmalade, honey...the nose turned sooo sweet after a couple of hours.  Color was deep golden, and the wine was initially slightly acidic but became much more so with aeration.  96 points.  And I did guess the identity of this correctly.

1969 Penfolds Grange - nose was initially plastic and a bit chalky (this should have given me the hint as old Grange can be chalky), with sweet strawberry notes giving way to coffee and Asian spices.  Pretty smooth on the palate with light tannins.  95 points.

1969 Beaulieu Vineyard Reserve Georges de Latour - very strong polyurethane and burnt rubber nose, with mineral notes.  Tannins a little firmer. 92 points.

1969 Michel Gaunoux Corton Renardes - fruity nose, clearly an old wine, lightly stewed fruit, minerals, and lots of button mushrooms.  Sweet orange notes emerged later, and a little sharp in alcohol.  95 points.

1969 Louis Jadot Chambertin Clos de Beze - beautiful, openly decadent.  Smoky nose with grilled meats, a bit plasticky, amazingly sweet, with lots of bacon and farmy notes.  Very light on body with a slight aciic finish.  98 points and my wine of the evening.  Who would have thought?  A Jadot...

1969 Guigal La Mouline - initially a bit closed and steely, with a very sweet fruit core underneath.  Amazing ripeness.  Was there eucalyptus in the nose?  More structure compared to the Jadot, with a slight acidic finish.  96 points.  What a privilege it was to drink this wine!  And I would have thought I'd pick this as my favorite...

1969 Charles Krug - nose was a bit funky, old and oxidized.  Disqualified from the tasting.

1969 Latour - smoky, grilled meat notes with eucalyptus.  Definitely a Cab.  92 points.

1969 Marey-Monge Romanée-Saint-Vivant - very ripe and sweet with lychee notes. Faded a little with time. 94 points.

1969 Jaboulet La Chapelle - notes of bacon, grilled meats and leather.  Sweetness.  92 points.

This was an amazing lineup of 10 wines that are now 40 years old - what a wonderful way to close out the year!  At the price that the La Mouline is going for, I'm not sure when I'll have another opportunity to drink this beautiful wine again.  The Jadot Clos de Beze looks much more affordable at 1/10 the price...

And congratulations to our host for securing last place in the standings!


Anonymous said...

ah so you were the party of drunkards that shouted expletives and ruined the evening for everyone else in the restaurant.

Peech said...

Guilty as charged. Hence we always dine in a private room and try to minimize the disruption to a minimum. We knew that if we were "normal" customers the restaurant would probably blacklist us immediately... but we do know lots of people in the group/restaurant so you'll probably see us in there again.


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