The Angeles Wine Agency tasting on January 24th 2006 A couple weeks ago I had the great opportunity to attend the 2004 Châteauneuf-du-Pape tasting put on by the Angeles Wine Agency. Over the course of three hours I tasted and took very inspired notes on over 40 CNP’s from the 2004 vintage. What can I say a this point other than, holy smokes!? I am just getting to know this vintage, and I am already head over heals in love. The vintage, at this point displays fantastic potential. Fruit, richness, acidity and length..these CNP’s have got it all. What is going to make a vintage like this difficult is deciding which one’s you like the most. The following wines were, in my estimation, real standouts. The ETA on these wines will be some time in the late spring/mid summer. If one, or two or all of these CNP’s strike your fancy lemme know, and I will keep you posted as they become available. Please excuse all of the non-sequitors. 2004 Domaine Moulin-Tacussel CNP (80% Grenache, 10% syrah, 7 % mourvèdre, 3% cinsault) Rich and forward but in a more traditional sense. Beautiful concentration of blackcurrant and deep cherry fruit, followed by just the slightest hint of roasted herbs, thyme, and stone. The structure is taught and tannins are fine, not coarse. This represents one of the best values in the lineup. 2004 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Cuvee Tradition ( 90% grenache, 5% mourvèdre, 5% cinsault) Spicy, spicy spicy red fruits and star anise on this puppy. Notes of red plum and dark chocolate. Reminds me of the Dagoba chocolate bar with tiny flecks of chipolte.. Yowzah! 2004 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Cuvee Cuvee de Mon Aieul (100% grenache) Châteauneuf-du-Pape in a long blood red velvet gown. Buxom, fleshy and ripe..but always classy. Hey get your mind out of the gutter.. I’m talking about wine! 2004 Le Vieux Donjon Rouge (70% grenache, 20% syrah, 10% mourvèdre & cinsault) One of my favorite Châteauneufs..always. More on the classy side with dark, purple fruits, a touch of bramble and nicoise olives. Lovely.. 2004 Mas de Boislauzon Cuvee de Quet (65% grenache, 35% mourvèdre) I don’t know if Parker has rated this one, but I bet it will be high. One of the most dense and concentrated of the bunch with an emphasis on black fruits and tea…orange pekoe and lavender. ..shows a lot of class and sophistication despite its big, bad ass proportions. 2004 Cuvee du Vatican Cuvee Tradition (70% grenache, 15% mourvèdre, 15% syrah) Sappy, honeyed nose, with red currant spice box, hibiscus. Lovely balance and concentration and just a hint of earth. Another excellent value for the vintage. 2004 Cuvee du Vatican Reserve Sixtine (50% grenache, 30% syrah, 10% mourvèdre, 10% other..) My favorite super cuvee. Mon Dieu! AWESOME POWER AND GRACE. This cuvee straddles the line between new world seductiveness and old world sophistication. I predict that this one will age as well as Sophia Loren, however the scary thing is that something this intense and breathtaking tastes good NOW! That’s all I can say about this one. Talk amongst yourselves. 2004 Bosquet des Papes Cuvee Tradition (75% grenache, 11% mourvèdre, 9% syrah, 5% cinsault, counoise and vaccarese) Along with Vieux Donjon, Bosquet is always one of my faves. The 2004 Tradition definitely “represents”. Red currents, roses and hibiscus come through on this one. More feminine and elegant rather than big, thick or muscular.. This is no wimpy wine… do not overlook.. 2004 Bosquet des Papes Cuvee Chante le Merle (70% grenache, 10% syrah, 15% cinsault, 5% mourvèdre) Bosquets super cuvee. Big, bold but not bad ass. Try this one with the Boislauzon Cuvee de Quet and see who wins. 2004 Domaine des Relagnes Cuvee Tradition (80% grenache, 10% syrah, 10% mourvèdre & cinsault) If you are into purity of fruit, ethereal beauty, wine that dances on your palate, flirts, no teases you with its charm and delicacy (note: I am not saying thin) then you must try these wines. As far as being the “package” in terms of price, quality, and accessibility Domaine des Relagnes over delivers. Cinnamon stick, red fruits, blackcurrant tea.. 2004 Domaine des Relagnes Cuvee Vigneronne (65% grenache, 20% syrah, 5% each mourvèdre, cinsault and other..) Black cherry, rosehips with a bit more depth than the tradition. Very subtle notes of stone and that “tar” thing. 2004 Domaine des Relagnes “Les Petit Pieds d’Armand” (90% grenache 10% syrah) Relagne’s super cuvee. Up there with the Chante le Merle in terms of depth, concentration and elegance. Definitely age-worthy but showing beautifully right now, with fine tannins and a silky texture. A few of these will definitely find their way into my cellar/closet! —Mulan Chan
Last week I was in New York for a tasting of 2004 Burgundies (more on that later). While I was there I ate at wonderful restaurant I wanted to share with you all. It is in Tribeca, and is called Landmarc, at 170 W. Broadway. (http://www.landmarc-restaurant.com/ ) The food is simple, but wonderful, with lots of French favorites on the menu, but plenty of more modern items as well. I was impressed by the food and the ambiance, but overwhelmed by the wine program. Prices for wines appear to be only about $5 above retail, and the selection is an excellent one, with Nicolas Potel Burgundies, Jolivet Sancerre, and lots of interesting wines to pick from. They do not have any wine by the glass program, since their half bottles are so reasonably priced. In a town where Beringer founder’s Merlot went for $10 a glass at my hotel, $15 for a half bottle of Nicolas Potel’s Bourgogne Rouge is just a steal. Every table had a good bottle of wine on it, as you would expect with prices like these. Kudos to proprietors Marc Murphy (formerly of le Cirque) and his wife Pamela Schein Murphy for a wonderful place and an extremely fair concept on wine. If I lived nearby, this place would be a regular hangout. -Keith Wollenberg (K&L Burgundy buyer)
I was fortunate to have dined at quite a few nice restaurants in Paris during my three trips there in 2005 and would like to share a few recommendations with you. One of the perks of being in the wine business is that wine goes best with food (but both are rough on the waistline!). Hiramatsu *(52 rue de Longchamp in the 16th) is fantastic. This restaurant gained its first Michelin star faster than any other. Ph from france 1-56-81-08-80. closed Saturday and Sunday. $$$ Guy Savoy*** (18 rue Troyon-in the 17th) a *** Michelin and one of the best restaurants in the world. In france dial 1-43-80-40-61. Closed Saturday and Sunday nights as are most all 2 and 3 star restaurants in Paris. $$$+ Atelier de Maitre Albert (1 rue Maitre Albert in the 5th-across from river on right bank.. no lunches Saturday or Sunday) for great roasted chicken or lamb shanks. Also it is now under the direction of Guy Savoy. Fax: 011331 53 10 83 23. $ If you saw and enjoyed the movie “Something’s Got to Give,” go to the bistro Le Grand Colbert (2-4 rue Vivienne-behind Palais Royal in the 2nd). Thanks to the movie and the delicious food, it is one of the hot spots on the bistro scene. Owner Joel Fleury. Le.email@example.com $ If you love caviar, Kaspia (17 place de la Madeleine-right bank high rent district in 8th) is a must stop. And try one of their Russian vodkas with the caviar. www.caviarkaspia.com. Phone: 01133 1 42 65 33 32. $$$ And on the left bank load up at Petrossian (on 144 rue Universite in the 7th). Closed Sunday and Monday. $$ The rather new Astrance ** (4 rue Beethoven-in the 16th across river from Eiffel Tower) was fabulous (only about ten tables) Closed Saturday and Sunday. Phone: 01133 1 40 50 84 40. $$$ La Tour d’Argent** (15 Quai de la Tournelle in the 5th-great view of Notre Dame) did not disappoint. What a great wine list and quite reasonably priced for Paris. They listed but were not serving any wines younger than 1999. Closed Monday and Tuesday lunch. One of the few Paris two star restaurants opened both Saturday and Sunday night. Phone: 01133 1 43 54 23 31. $$$ The new l’Atelier (Joel Robuchon) in the Hotel Pont Royal at 7 Rue de Montalembert (7th) is worth the wait as they do not take reservations-all counter seating, but exquisite food. $$ And if you like Indian food try Yugaraj (14 rue Dauphine-close to Pont Neuf in the 6th)-spicy food-very few tables and good value wine list. firstname.lastname@example.org. Closed on Mondays and lunch Thursdays. $-$$ A few good ones in the 7th on Rue St Dominique: #79-Thoumeiux for great cassoulet and good hearty meals. email@example.com$ #129-Fontaine de Mars. Great bistro cooking-very friendly. Great “Tete de Veau” and southwest France cooking. firstname.lastname@example.org $ #135-Violon d’Ingres* is a very affordable starred restaurant in Paris. Closed Sunday and Monday Also very friendly owners and staff. email@example.com $$ Also in the 7th, Le Divellec* at 107 rue Universite specializing in seafood. Closed Saturday and Sunday. $$ In the 6th or 5th, some favorites: Rotisserie d’en Face (2 rue Christine off of Rue Dauphine in the 6th) $ owned by Jacques Cagna whose own restaurant Jacques Cagna* is at 14 Rue Grands Augustins, across the street. firstname.lastname@example.org $$ Brassiere Balzar (49 Rue des Eccoles in the 5th) Phone: 01133 1 43 54 13 67 is a bustling French bistro-noisy, crowded, good steak tartare. $ $$-Expensive $$-Moderate $-Good Value *** Three Star, of course! —Clyde Beffa
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