On the internet, fifteen years is like a century. In the early 2000s I was writing on an American wine forum and I faced a rather repetitive misunderstanding that a 70-year-old wine could have the vivacity of a 15-year-old wine. But the pleasant side of the forums is the encounters that can be made in the « real » life. When Ed from San Francisco got married, he wanted his honeymoon trip to go through one of my dinners. It was the 14th. When Tim moved to Paris, we deepened our relationships around beautiful bottles. A few weeks ago, Tim announces that Ed is coming to Paris with his wife Lisa. Almost at the same time, Luc, a forever friend whose sensitivity to wine is exceptional wants us to share beautiful bottles. I want to combine the two propositions and we meet all four, because Lisa had to leave towards USA, in the restaurant Le Gaigne of the chef Mickaël Gaignon. As always in this kind of event, it is a debauchery of generosity also we bring, Ed, Luc Tim and I ten bottles for four, knowing that we have all in our musettes rescue bottles.
We decide to take Gaigne’s tasting menu which is not for our wines, but we will adapt. The menu is: dome of peas of Saint-Remy de Provence on a mint sandwich, egg in snow with horseradish / gougère with escargots of Poitou-Charentes in parsley, fall of lettuce and garlic of bears, cashew nuts / large Langoustines of Guilvinec just pan-fried, cannelloni stuffed with boletus and bacon then gratinated, sautéed radish chips and bisque / entrecote Charolaise, sauce with morels, young carrots / seasonal cheeses Quatrehomme, MOF / millefeuille strawberries Cléry des Alpilles and light cream with basil and maniguette pepper, zest of lime.
I arrive before 11:30 am to open the wines and I did well because some need a slow oxygenation time to rebuild. Tim had already delivered his wines and Luc will join me early enough to let me open his beautiful bottles.
The Champagne Waris & Chenayer blanc de blancs Avize 1969 from Luc is unknown to all of us and it is a divine surprise. Its color is very beautiful and young of a clear gold, its bubble is active, and in mouth, it is a festival. What impresses me is its magically controlled acidity. There is lemon, honey opulent and a length almost infinite with a course in the mouth twirling. It is a beautiful and generous champagne.
The first dish has iced parts that are not ideal for the Corton-Charlemagne Louis Latour 1969 brought by Tim. This wine is exceptional. The perfume is permeating as one would not imagine and in the mouth it is an absolute perfection. This is the perfect definition of the Corton Charlemagne, with its rich, racy style. A huge wine that does not have a gram of defect. We are in front of the perfect wine.
On the gougère with the snails we have two Figeac whose 1964 of low level had at the opening a dusty odor that could have been definitive. In fact, the Château Figeac 1964 completely lost its dusty smell. It is a sunny wine compared to the Château Figeac 1961 which had a perfect level and that is a marvel of precision. The 1964 is wide and sunny and the 1961 is straight, precise, rich, a wine of all beauty. Both wines are from Tim. It is with the snails alone that the combination with the two Figeac, especially the 1961, is found.
The langoustines will accompany two Bordeaux. The Château Gruaud Larose 1934 of Luc is a pleasant Bordeaux that would make our happiness, but as in the Saturday parties in province where the local beauty, which one would see miss of the department, eclipse all the other girls, the Chateau Latour 1934 of Tim occupies all the space of our loves. This wine is absolutely perfect, to the point that I concentrate, forgetting everything around me, to capture as many elements as possible of his message. This wine is unbelievably beautiful. Perfectly balanced, he is at once sweet and lively, bountiful and serious. One cannot imagine that it has the slightest defect. I am totally absorbed in his unreal perfection. The wine expresses itself best with the cannelloni aux blettes. It should be noted that this wine whose bottle had a perfect level had a cork glued to the neck, a cork light and friable, which came out in thousand pieces.
The beef is delicious. The Burgundy Reserve of the Chèvre Noire Charles d’Aubigney 1934 of Luc presents itself in a bottle that is not Burgundy and unusual. The wine is clear, the nose is pleasant. I will find a tiny corky taste that my friends will not perceive like me. It is a beautiful burgundy pleasant and very lively for 1934. Beside him there is a Chambertin Charles Viénot 1934 that I bought maybe thirty years ago when Pierre Cardin sold part of the cellar of Maxim’s during high-profile auctions, duplex between Paris and New York. The level in the bottle was low at the opening and the nose was a superb red fruit. The wine appears a little roasted with notes of caramel and coffee, but there is enough of the Burgundian soul for me to enjoy. The morels help this wine to express itself.
On the cheese, we serve the Château Chalon Jean Bourdy 1934 that I brought. This wine is exceptional. He offers a freshness that makes him give twenty years and not four times more. His age shows on the coherence of totally integrated tastes. He has walnut and sweetness. It is obviously on the Comté that the combination is the most brilliant. The fluidity of this wine is incredible.
As I often do, I ask that Ed’s Champagne Gosset Célébris Extra Brut 2002 be opened so that we can see how a yellow wine and a champagne fertilize. And that’s the case. The yellow wine broadens and makes shine the magnificent champagne whose youth seduces us.
At dessert, one of the friends asked why this meal would not be included in the series of my wine-dinners. There are ten wines which makes this meal eligible, provided that everyone votes. This is what we do. All the wines have votes except the Figeac 1964 which had suffered and the Gosset because it is very young. As we are four there are only two wines named first, the 1934 Latour three times and the 1969 champagne once.
The vote of the consensus would be: 1 – Château Latour 1934, 2 – Champagne Waris & Chenayer white of white Avize 1969, 3 – Corton-Charlemagne Louis Latour 1969, 4 – Château Chalon Jean Bourdy 1934, Chateau Figeac 1961.
My vote is: 1 – Château Latour 1934, 2 – Corton-Charlemagne Louis Latour 1969, 3 – Chateau Chalon Jean Bourdy 1934, 4 – Chambertin Charles Viénot 1934.
This impromptu meal will be the 213th dinner of my wine-dinners this time with shared contributions. We drank sublime wines, some of which are absolutely perfect – and this is the case for the first three of my vote – and we have benefited from a highly motivated service. Chief Mickaël Gaignon came to greet us. We chatted with him and we can imagine that at future meetings we will work more the combinations food and wine to make beautiful events. That it is nice to share great wines with generous friends.
(see pictures on the article in French for the same event)