January 27, 2011

Cos d'Estournel dinner

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Some time ago, I received an email invitation from the Mandarin Oriental by mistake.  The invitation was for a dinner at Pierre featuring the wines of Cos d'Estournel, to be hosted by Jean-Guillaume Prats.  I replied to that invitation, and fortunately they were still happy to have me at the dinner, even though I wasn't the person they had originally intended to invite...

I arrived to find Pol Roger Champagne being served, and realized this was co-sponsored by Altaya Wines.  Hardly surprising, since Paulo has a good relationship with Jean-Guillaume and Cos d'Estournel was our first stop on our MNSC Bordeaux trip 2 years ago.

Poached seabass, "Pierre" olive oil; mushrooms pancake - this was pretty decent, and I especially liked the salsa on top as well as the mushrooms at the bottom.

2007 Cos d'Estournel Blanc - there's very little of this wine to go around, somewhere on the order of 3,000 bottles, so I think this is actually the first time I've ever tasted it.  The Sauvignon Blanc traits are immediately apparent - minerals, pipi de chat, muscat and lemon.  Lovely wine.

Roasted prawn with grilled almonds, grey shrimps; cabbage, ginger bread and "piment d'Espelette" - a little surprising.  The prawn itself was alright, although the crunchy almonds were pretty nice, as was the bed of cabbage with ginger bread crumbs and the slightly spicy piment powder. 

2007 Pagodes de Cos - nose was very sweet, with caramel notes, forest and pine.  Very New World...

Foie gras cream with Meurette sauce, boiled winter vegetables roots - absolutely delicious!  Rich, yummy foie gras balanced out by the acidity of the meurette.  The vegetables were also pretty good, and of course there were bits of lardon from the meurette.  Can I just say again how much I love meurette?

2006 Goulée Rouge - minty, pine and alcoholic.  Later on nose turned sweet with caramel. 

Glazed eel, shredded potatoes with red onions, slow simmered endives, fennel with orange - this dish is totally Asian...  Pieces of eel placed in a "bird's nest" container made of shredded potato...  I do have to say that the eel was a little lukewarm, which added to the "fishy" taste.  The onion compote was totally delicious, and the inclusion of orange rind added an interesting twist.

2001 Cos d'Estournel - smoky, minty, more game meat and alcoholic.  Jean-Guillaume told us that the style had already started changing by this vintage, but nevertheless I found it to be halfway between the newer, riper style and the classic claret.

1996 Cos d'Estournel - very lean, smoky, green pepper, spicy, meaty and alcoholic. This is the classic claret through and through.

Roasted saddle of lamb, black garlic, radicchio, Roquefort and butternut; watercress salad, juice thickened with tamarind - the lamb was soft and succulent, wrapped inside a ring of chicken cream.  The Roquefort in the "swoosh" was overpowering and totally unncessary.  The highlight, without a doubt, were the cloves of black garlic, which I believe were marinated in vinegar before being deep-fried.  These babies were amazing...

1993 Cos d'Estournel - minty, brett, smoke, more fruity than the '96. Nose was open and sweet. Very enjoyable and better than the '96.
Pierre Gagnaire chocolate cake - the cake itself was completely forgettable.  The blackberry sorbet on the side was kinda acidic, but was balanced by the bitter coffee jelly below as well as the dark chocolate cup.

Caramel ice cream, red wine prune marmalade - there was only a small amount of ice cream on top so the caramel flavors were rather weak.  But the prune marmalade at the bottom was unmistakable.  Pretty nice.

Dried fruit shortbread - the lemon cream below the shortbread was slightly acidic, which thankfully helped with my digestion.

2001 Hétszőlő Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos - big nose of polyurethane and acetone, with honey, orange marmalade and alcohol. Surprisingly not like other Tokaji I've had before, in that there was a good balance between the sweetness and acidity.

For the second time in three days, I was completely stuffed... although I'm not blaming it on the delicious piment d'Espelette-flavored Bordier butter this time...

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