The 214th wine-dinner is held in the Pages restaurant. Chief Teshi warned me a few days before dinner that he should fly to Japan on the day of dinner at 8:30 pm so the guests will not see him. I went a few days ago to the restaurant to develop the menu, working with Teshi and his assistant Marc trained in the Astrance restaurant.
During the opening session of the wines I often discussed with Marc the recipes of the dishes and he came to let me taste sauces to obtain my agreement. From 17h to 18h15 I open the wines on a corner of the kitchen table while everyone is busy preparing abalone, sea knives, squid, fish and poultry. The ballet is set to perfection and with serenity. The wines all have promising odors. The most discreet are those of Montrachet, of La Tâche and Petrus. The most astonishing of power is that of Lafite 1944 and the noblest is that of Yquem 1945.
My friend Tomo joins me very early and we are going to drink a beer at the nearby Teshi bistro, and we eat Edamame, the beans whose taste I love, that goes well with Japanese beer.
We then return to the restaurant to wait for the first guests and I want them to be welcomed by a young champagne rather than by the first champagne on the menu. I choose on the wine list a Champagne V.O. Selosse disgorged in January 2015. The attack of this champagne is very engaging and I am excited by its generosity and complexity. But very curiously the champagne is very short. It is a sudden pleasure, then nothing. Despite that I like very much this frank champagne that titillates me well.
We will be ten around the table including five Spanish men who came especially for this dinner after seeing a video where I present the philosophy of my dinners. The four other guests are regulars, three Parisians including Tomo and a man from Bordeaux. I present as usual the « instructions of flight », « fasten your seatbelts », etc. And we go to the table.
The menu developed with chef Teshi and realized by Marc is as follows: seasonal appetizer / seafood platter, knives and veal tartare / abalone risotto / mullet with crab sauce / roasted blood duck of the Burgaud family / three beefs (Simmenthal, Angus and wagyu Ozaki) / poached foie gras and its consommé / mango from Brazil.
As for the recent dinner at the Guy Savoy restaurant, I wanted to innovate by breaking habits. This will be reported by commenting on the wines.
From the first sip, we all fall under the spell of the Champagne Deutz 1953. It has indeed an attack of a crazy charm. I confess that I never would have imagined that it had this level of grace and charm. It has discrete fruits yellow and golden, it is fluid and refined. The appetizers are delicious but have very pronounced tastes. It is a mistake to have put such flavors with an old champagne like this Deutz. For those appetizers a champagne of 1990 or 1996 would have been appropriate. With this 1953 it would have needed sweet flavors like foie gras for example.
The 1949 Veuve Clicquot Champagne is decidedly different from the previous one. It has more bitterness and a longer length. Rich fruits appear at the end of taste, with fleeting traces of delicate red fruits. It is a champagne very noble, a bit confusing even enigmatic and it is a great champagne. The combination with the dish earth and sea is very relevant.
The Chablis Grand Cru Moutonne Long Dépaquit Bichot magnum 2002 had a nose of a rare magnitude at the opening. This perfume is always as ample and the wine is wonderful. I love this year 2002 for this domaine. The abalone is a bit hard because it has not been hit but the divine sauce and the risotto create a combination of first size. This chablis that I appreciate is the only wine that will not have votes but it is the fate that undergo the young wines in a dinner of old wines. It is unrelated to its extreme quality of wine enthralling and joyful.
It is one of my coquetries to always associate Petrus and red mullets. Several times Marc made me taste the crab sauce and the result is spectacular. The Château Lafite-Rothschild 1944 has a very strong nose of truffle, announcing a wine of a power that I did not expect. The grain of this wine is heavy and racy. It is a beautiful Lafite of great depth.
Alongside him on the dish, Petrus 1962 presents itself as a very great Petrus. It is subtle, refined, with a finer grain than the Lafite, and Miguel, one of the guests who says that he never had any real emotions with Petrus admits that in this 1962 he finds a Petrus which moves him. Pétrus is a wine that cannot be easily discovered. This one conquers us by its nobility and its persistence aromatic racy. It is a great wine and the red mullet, once again, marries divinely with it.
In the initial program, the Montrachet Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1997 logically followed the chablis, but in discussing with Teshi and Marc, the idea of a duck was mentioned and I immediately said: let’s try with the montrachet, which, it will be agreed, is daring. I had in fact the memory of a mallard duck prepared by Guy Savoy that I had associated with a Montrachet of the same domain of 1976. The tenderness of the flesh of the duck is such that the combination goes well. The Montrachet has no trace of botrytis. It is very dry, fluid and not thundering. It is a wine of strong structure, long as a speech of Fidel Castro, which is powerful but measured which makes even more appreciate its nobility. It is a great wine entirely in keeping with its reputation.
On the three divinely cooked beefs we have two burgundies. The Beaune-Marconnets Remoissenet P and F 1947 has all the delicacy and charm of the light wines of the Côte de Beaune. It is charming.
Alongside him the Musigny Duvergey Taboureau 1949 is a powerful wine, rich and very bourguignon, with bitterness that delight me. I confess that the two seduce me. The votes will go in favor of the richest wine, the Musigny, but both have such a Burgundian charm that I taste them gently to listen to all the subtle notes.
Another audacity in this dinner is to place La Tache Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1986 after the red meats and to associate it with a poached foie gras placed at this time as in meals of the 19th century. This wine had a discreet fragrance at the opening and its cork showed temperature differences where it was stored and where it traveled as this bottle returned from America. The wine is good but does not give the emotion it should. Of course we recognize the markers of the wines of the estate including the salt, but there is a lack of persuasion in this wine. Thus the agreement that had remarkably existed between poached foie gras and Y d’Yquem in a dinner made by Guy Savoy is less relevant with La Tâche. The lobes of foie gras are delicious and small discreet beans bring a note of freshness.
In the kitchen Marc had shown me beautiful pieces of mango and it appeared to me that it should not be diced, to let each guest manage the chew of the fruit to arrive at the best possible agreement with the sublime Chateau d’Yquem 1945. This wine is fascinating. Its color is quite clear when it is 72 years old. The perfume is diabolical, carrying all the spices of Arabia. In the mouth it is gold molten, honey by brewed. This glorious wine is perfect and what makes it so is its correctness of tone. There is not a gram of heaviness, the sweetness is metered wonderfully. The charm acts. The wine is fluid and beautifully complex, eternal. This wine will reap the votes as in a banana republic as it is acclaimed by all.
When we arrive at the time of the votes I have served the wine that I had planned in case, but also so that it put an end point pleasant to this meal. The Champagne Mumm Cordon Rose rosé 1982 presents itself in a deliciously kitsch bottle imagine served at the wedding of a Barbie doll. And this champagne is a very big surprise. Never would I have expected it at this qualitative level, because it is a large warm rosé, richly fruity, gastronomic, which accompanies very well mignardises.
We are ten to vote for ten wines because the Selosse and Mumm champagnes are not on our vote papers. As said before the chablis is the only one to have had no votes. Only two wines were named first, the Yquem 1945 eight times which is very rare and Petrus 1962 twice first.
The vote of the consensus would be: 1 – Château d’Yquem 1945, 2 – Montrachet Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1997, 3 – Pétrus 1962, 4 – Musigny Duvergey Taboureau 1949, 5 – Champagne Deutz 1953, 6 – La Tâche Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1986.
My vote is: 1 – Château d’Yquem 1945, 2 – Montrachet Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1997, 3 – Pétrus 1962, 4 – Musigny Duvergey Taboureau 1949.
It is quite rare that my vote is strictly equal and in the same order, to the consensus vote. This happened only seven times at dinners which are in my files.
The food was superb as always in the restaurant Pages and I appreciated the involvement of Marc and the complicity which inspired the creation of the menu and the recipes. The veal tartar associated with a clam, the risotto of abalone, the red mullet with the juice of étrille and the three beefs are dishes of great precision for the wines. The mango was perfect for Yquem. The beautiful culinary surprises were there. Thibaud made a service of wine without fault and very attentive. Laure presented the dishes with charm and in impeccable English.
It is certain that I shall see the five Spanish crazy amateurs again. The atmosphere was cheerful. It was a very big meal whose star is that Yquem of which Salvador Dali would have said with his inimitable accent that it is « transcendental ».
(see pictures in the article in French below)