This Montclair restaurant is two for two with me now, having had my second great dinner here in less than a month. This last visit the food was spot on again, and a great line up of wines didn't hurt either. Truly family owned and operated, this evening we had the tasting menu which was excellent. We started with one disappointing white Burgundy from the '99 vintage which was showing premature age, then off to the races with the rest of the line-up. While we jumped around from one grape and appellation to another, the common thread through all of the wines was they way they spoke with an understated elegance, each absolutely true to their terroirs, with deft wine making in evidence that let the nature of the wines shine through. Only downside was that we held this dinner about ten years to soon in the case of the reds, each wine quite youthful and really only showing a glimpse of what's to come. Still, a great evening!
Chassagne Montrachet Virandot 1999, Marc Morey - Deeper gold than expected, definite sign of oxidation on nose and palate. Had it just a few weeks before and it showed beautifully, hopefully just an off bottle.
Condrieu Vertige 2006, Cuilleron - Lovely aromatic nose of peach, apricot, hints of fennel, vanilla; concentrated, complex and seductive without being cloying or fat at all. Continued to improve for at least 30 minutes in the glass. Sensational Condrieu. Available at the shop $140/bottle. Had this with a sea scallop crudo, light, fresh, sweet, scallop nicely offset by a very delicate chive/almond vinaigrette - perfect!
Chambolle Musigny Les Sentieres 2005, Groffier - Lots going on here, complex and layered, still such a baby but with extraordinary promise. Smoke, cherry, and a concentration of fruit well supported by ripe tannins and good acids.
Cote Rotie Mason Rouge 2006 Vernay - Medium deep ruby, lovely smoky, perfumed nose, violets, earth, elegant, needed some time in the glass, but it is amazingly supple and fine. 12.5% alcohol. Would love to revisit this in 5-10 years! Available at the shop at $135.
Barolo 2000, Bartolo Mascarelo - No black strap extracted deep purple color here, just medium garnet with even a little brick, this is unrelenting old school Barolo. Surprisingly accessible at first but the tannins actually seemed to come forth as it spent time in the glass. Taut, structured, almost nervy tannins supporting dried cherry, wild herbs (tarragon?), hints of dried flowers. This is a wine to make you take a sip, think about it, and be compelled to come back again and again to it.
Saumur Champigny Le Bourg 2004, Clos Rougeard - Cool Cabernet Franc, focused, intense, tons going on here but right now it is pretty locked down. Has lost what little baby fat it once had and seems to be going into its shell a bit, but still quite impressive. Cool, elegant, textured, but it might be time to leave this alone for 4-5 years to develop. This is the top cuvee here (all are pretty good!), this is the oldest vines (80 years and more), and is aged in 100% new Allier oak made by a local cooper. One note is that when first tasted on release it seemed the oak was more present, now it seems to have been absorbed and integrated into the wine. Organically farmed basically forever. For more on Rougeard, one of my all time favorite wineries, visit Polaner Selections. available at the shop, $105/bottle.
Monbazzillac Cuvee Madame 1999, Chateau Tirecul - lovely amber color, lush explosive nose of creme brulee and caramel, vanilla, smoky-sweetness. Rich, concentrated and delicious! I'd call it poor mans Y'Quem, but it ain't cheap!