June 23, 2024

89-year gap

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Although I enjoy an occasional light bullying of the Candidate - which usually involve forcing her to taste certain wines that are not to her refinedpicky palate - I do acquiesce to her demandsrequests from time to time. Today was such an occasion.

We saw a couple of weeks ago that Caprice had gotten themselves a few bottles of William Kelley's wines. These are very young, produced in minute quantities, and have been totally hyped up. The candidate had gotten her own allocation, but given the limited number of bottles around, she was reluctant to pop her own bottles when the wines are so young. At the same time, she wanted to have a taste of the wines now to see whether the wines live up to the hype.

While I was here three nights ago, I was informed that the restaurant was down to their last bottle of the Gevrey-Chambertin. So I immediately made a booking for lunch today, and hoped for my friend's sake that no one else was interested in the bottle before we came in.

Luckily for my friend, it seems that no one else was as interested in the wine as she was.

As usual we start with a trio of amuses bouches presented in the boîte à bijoux:

Lobster roll - this was pretty nice.

Green pea tart - the tart shell was very hard and crunchy, and the flavors of the peas were very prominent.

Pita with curry chicken mousse - the pita was extra crunchy today. Maybe they're made during the day and then the humidity makes them soft at night?

Panna cotta d'églefin et pommes de terre, daikon et caviar de brochet de la Maison Petrossian, caviar osciètre de La Maison Kaviari, caviar Kristal de La Maison Kaviari - my second time enjoying this dish but with variations today. The Norwegean haddock was smoked and then made into a thin layer of panna cotta, and I really loved this. The potatoes received some subtle flavors from being cooked in shellfish stock, then filled with some cream and topped with three types of caviar: clockwise from top - pike, oscietra, and Kristal. The pike caviar was especially smoky and salty.

Japanese tomatoes, pickled cucumber, burrata - one is always assured of tasting beautiful tomatoes here, and this presentation of Japanese tomatoes is no exception. The sweetness of the tomatoes, the acidity from the pickles, and the creaminess of the burrata all worked in harmony. This also had the added benefit of freshening the palate after salt and smokiness lingered after the previous dish.

Japanese squid carbonara, Australian black truffle, culatello - this really is one of my favorite dishes from the Hairy Chevalier, and actually it was the first version of this dish back in his Macau days that really impressed me and made me want to pay attention to this up-and-coming chef. This has evolved and now the current iteration uses squid in lieu of abalone.

This is, of course, a carbonara so we have a quail egg yolk, culatello di zibello from Spigaroli, Parmesan, the onions are caramelized, and finally chiffonade of black truffle (from Australia, I presume).

I am always giddy when I get to have this dish, because everything just works so, so well together. The sugar from the caramelized onions just highlights the dish, and of course I would never, ever complain about how much black truffle I am given for this dish. It may be gratuitous for some dishes, but here it just absolutely works.

Oh, it paired wonderfully with the bottle of old Napa cab I brought.

Roasted Racan pigeon with cherry and black truffle, chocolate sauce - Hairy Chevalier does pigeon very, very well... especially when they come from his home region. Today it came with an Amandine potato glazed with pigeon jus, and a chocolate and raspberry vinegar sauce that they do very well.

This was just... beautifully done. A thick, juicy, and flavorful breast. Delicious skin. Black truffle shaving was icing on the cake.

The Romaine lettuce was stuffed with a mix of pigeon leg, cherries, and ginger. Pretty interesting combo but I felt maybe the ginger was a tad too strong.

I only wanted one cheese today and that was Brillat-Savarin. I didn't expect such a big slice...

Tropical caramel, hazelnut and chocolate crémeux, salted caramel ice cream - I've had this once a couple of months ago, and it was really rich and delicious. I love every element of this dessert.

As the team knows it was my birthday yesterday, they very kindly presented me with a cake. Of course it was best that we take it home, and even better than I shared half of my cake with the Candidate to take home to her mom.

But today was actually about the wines... or more specifically, one bottle of wine.

2015 Jean Vesselle Pur B3, bouteille n° 838/1700, dégorgée 15 Fevrier 2023 - a little sweet and a little yeasty on the nose.

1970 Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve - this bottle was more mature than the others I had tasted in previous years, and was showing a very savory profile on the nose with lots of soy sauce as well as smoke. Very nice and silky smooth after more than 50 years, and still got sweetness on the palate. Also showing some lovely spices on the nose.

2020 William Kelley Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Elelois - the wine was definitely too young and this showed, as the nose was definitely pretty jammy and metallic, showing black cherries and also eucalyptus. Tannins were very obvious. A second pour after an hour after opening still showed plenty of metallic notes, more black cherries, and now also some violet. This was definitely infanticide and the wine was drunk far too young.

1931 Toro Albalá Don PX Convento Selección, from imperial - the nose was very complex and showed plenty of savory notes, along with dried herbs and plenty of nuts. Very rich and viscous on the palate, and very sweet on both the palate and the nose.

A very happy lunch, and grateful for the team taking such good care of us while the Chevalier has gone off galloping around in France. I hope my friend was happy that she got to taste the wine she wanted, and how interesting it was that the two reds were 50 years apart while the PX was 89 years older than the pinot!

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