April 25, 2010

The silent dinner

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Tonight's the first official scoring MNSC of the year, with a newer format where all guesses are not silent and blind.  Our host chose to go back to the French Window for this meal.  I must admit that I was looking forward to the wines more than the food.

We started with a trio of amuse bouche - a "sandwich" with liver paté filling, a small cup of mushroom soup, and some creation involving a cherry tomato.

Carpaccio de boeuf super prime rossigny, foie gras et truffle noire - basically the same dish as my last visit, except that the chef decided to remove the foie gras at the last minute as someone complained that he's already had the dish 5 times... Honestly the dish just isn't the same without the foie, in spite of the really tender beef.

Raviole de caille, foie gras, consommé de legumes - this was pretty nice.  The small raviolis were pretty tasty with foie, and the vegetable consommé was very light.

Saint Jacques de la Baie Saint Georges compote de choux vert, sauce truffle - very nice, and the presentation was very pretty.  The scallop was nice, but I really liked the bed of shredded cabbage as it's one of my favorite vegetables.  The truffle sauce on the side didn't really add much, though.

Filet d'agneau poele, pomme de terre fondante, pesto du Moyen Orient - the weakest dish of the evening.  The lamb was bland and uninteresting.  The rings of deep-fried potato were much more yummy and fun to play with.

Canard du Challans au sang de Chez Madame Burgos roti, sauce bigarade - very nice and tender duck...pink and juicy.  I was happily cutting away and feeding my hungry mouth.  The sandwiches were a nice touch...the toast was very yummy, with a spinach and black truffle(?) sauce filling.

Assiette de fromage selectionner par Philippe Olivier, l'un des meilleur ouvrier de France fromager - well, the restaurant may claim that Philippe Olivier is one of the best in France, but we only get a small selection of 3 types of cheese...  Saint-Philippe, which was very nutty with a slight bitter finish and heavy ammonia on the rind; nice Mimolette; and Bonde de Gâtine, which I also had on Friday.

The dessert consisted of two parts:
Piña colada sorbet with pineapple wafers - the strong coconut oil flavor came out on top of the pineapple, and it's no surprise given that the sorbet was made with Malibu.  Very tropical and refreshing.

Chocolate sensation - not bad, with something similar to Nestlé Crunch at the bottom with rice crispies.

But tonight's really all about the wines...and our generous host treated us to some truly old and interesting bottles.

1983 Dom Pérignon - nose of honey, caramelized apple, grass and straw...beautiful but died relatively quickly.
1945 Aldo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino - color was so incredibly light...and the nose was very oxidized... like a brandy or Port, with preserved plum.  Completely flat on the palate.

1945 Seguin-Manuel Charmes-Chambertin (ex-domaine) - nose was really sweet, with tropical fruits and very light body.  93 points.

1945 Léoville-Las-Cases - nose was grassy, a little cooked, with forest, mint, a little sweetness.  Smooth on the palate with a short finish.  93 points.

1945 Pavie - much more concentrated, with a medicinal nose and notes of sous bois, smoke, cigar and mint...beautiful!  But it died completely after a while.  95 points.

1961 Pape Clément - a little bit of brett, chili pepper, ripe, sweet and alcoholic.

1961 Chapoutier Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Bernardine - very Rhone-like, with floral, violet notes and bacon fat, fruity, a little chemical / dishwashing detergent notes... very sweet with tropical fruits like lychee.  95 points.

1961 Talbot - obvious nose of manure with farmy and smoky notes.

The food was pretty decent, and needless to say the wines were excellent.  Unfortunately with our new format, there was a lot less discussion about the wines during tasting, which makes it less fun for me.  Hopefully it gets better with time...

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