My eldest daughter sets up in Paris the French subsidiary of an American law firm. One of the American partners in the headquarters of the parent company is in Paris. My daughter tells me he loves wine. I propose a dinner with this partner, his wife, my daughter and me at the restaurant Pages. The idea comes to me to choose wines from 1945, a year that solidified the ties between our two countries. The wines were delivered three days ago and I open them at 5 pm. No problem arises so I will read a book at 116, the bar next to Pages and is a subsidiary. I drink a Japanese beer Asahi with a plate of Edamame. It is a preparation of soybeans still green, of Japanese origin, in their pods covered with salt, which is sucked to extract the beans. It’s delicious with beer and it increases the turnover because you have to order a new beer!
Vicky and Ben from Washington DC arrive on time and Ben brought a wine to share without knowing my program. The Champagne Vilmart & Cie Brut 1945 is from Rilly, south of Reims. The level is low because the bottle has lost nearly 20% of its volume. There is no pschitt because the cork is too narrow and the color is very amber. This makes us fear the worst, but if the attack is very tired, the finish is of a beautiful refreshing presence that suggests that the champagne will wake up. And that’s what happens, the champagne becoming more and more joyful and golden, even if objectively it is a tired champagne. The end of the bottle is very nice.
The Riesling Schlumberger 1945 presents itself in an extremely dusty bottle so that one does not see what is written on the thin collar at the top of this bottle very tapered. But the main label is clearly legible. The glass is blue as it existed during the war. What a surprise to see that the liquid that Thibault the sommelier pours me is a light yellow color of a young wine. The opaque bottle did not allow to see that. The nose is very expressive, sharp and lively, and the Riesling is tall, pure, expressive. On Ozaki beef in tartare, this wine is a treat. It is a wine of amazing accomplishment and serenity.
As we are told that there is a fish that will follow a dish made with squid, I let open the wine of Ben, a Chablis Premier Cru Montée de Tonnerre Domaine François Raveneau 2001. The nose of the wine is of a great wealth. The fruit is joyous. This wine is the archetype of good chablis. It is brilliant but does not under any circumstances shade the delicious riesling which one would have difficulty to give an age as it is of infinite precision.
The Château Beychevelle Saint-Julien 1945 is of a color that does not have a gram of tile. The wine is of a glorious bright red. The nose is intense, deep and I see notes of truffle. On the palate, it is confusing of vivacity, richness and nobility. It is a perfect wine. We look at each other amazed and for our American guests we feel that certainties are faltering about wine aging. At the menu that is common to all the tables, Chef Teshi has added for us a pigeon with a sauce where dips of wood strawberries. The harmony is miraculous. The wine will continue to shine by offering other facets on two pieces of absolutely delicious matured beef. It is one of the greatest Beychevelle that I had the opportunity to drink.
For dessert, I brought a Château Gerbay « Grandes Côtes » 1945 from Castillon on the Dordogne. At the opening, the sweet white wine had a delicate nose of sweet wine that would have swallowed its sugar. Now, the nose is charming, floral, light, discreet sweet. On the palate the wine is incredibly fresh, especially in the final. The dessert is a test that I had developed with Dorian the highly skilled pastry cook of the Pages team, who only had red fruit offered bananas and hazelnuts. The dessert does not work but the sweets are of extraordinary charm. It is so delicate, fresh, so fluid in the mouth that I would be tempted to make it the winner of the dinner wines, even if the Beychevelle is of another stature. What is certain is that all the wines have delighted us. So many subtle coolnesses in a Bordeaux Superieur delight me.
As usual the Pages team under Teshi’s authority has made a remarkable menu with three very high-level dishes, fish, pigeon and beef pieces that are well worth two Michelin stars. Our American hosts were conquered by the wines and the meal to the point that Ben insisted to pay the bill while he was my guest. The strawberries that accompany the pigeon and the incredible Côtes de Castillon are still on my tongue as I finish writing this review.
(pictures are on the following article in French)