The lunch will be the second that I organize at the Apartment of Moët Hennessy where this group receives its important customers. It is thanks to Stanislas Rocoffort de Vinnière that I have this opportunity and the director of the premises, Nicolas Modock will manage the implementation of the meal which will be carried out by chef Teshi, owner of the restaurant Pages with his team. This will be the 271st wine-dinner meal.
The wines were delivered two days ago and I show up at 9:30 to open them. There were relatively few difficulties for the openings. The corks of the three Romanée Conti wines are very tight in the necks and require effort to remove them. The cork of the Chambertin Charles Viénot 1959 released a small break in the liquid. The bottle being opaque I could not spot this small piece that Stanislas later had in his glass. A small incident of the same nature concerned the Musigny 1906 with an even more opaque bottle than that of the 1959.
The most brilliant flavors are those of the Veuve Clicquot 1949, divine when it opens, the Cyprus 1869 wine, the Yquem of course, and the Romanée Conti, already bewitching when it opens.
The perfume of the Hermitage is promising whereas that of the Trapet wine seems a little too shy to me.
The real problem, which scares me, is the scent offered by La Tâche 1990. The neck smells strongly of cork and I’m afraid that this smell will linger. But I feel a few minutes later that an improvement is possible. I then have the idea that ventilation would accelerate the disappearance of the bad smell. By taking a small book and waving it over the neck, we can hope for this improvement. I am surrounded during the opening of the wines by Nicolas, Constantin and Charlène who work in this place and are curious to see my way of opening the wines. I offer Charlène to handle the fan and after several minutes, the bad smell has completely disappeared. I still think that La Tâche will not be at the level of perfection it should be, but at least it will be pleasantly drinkable and I was pleased that it got five votes in the final ranking at the end of the meal.
We are eleven, including four new ones. There are three Spaniards who have already come, a couple living in Portugal and six French.
In the beautiful reception room, we toast on a Champagne Dom Pérignon rosé 2008. It is a rosé that I adore, an obvious success and a year that promises. It has a great charm and also a conquering personality.
As soon as I am served the Champagne Dom Pérignon Œnothèque rosé 1966 disgorged in 2007, I want to let my joy explode, because we are climbing at full speed to the top of Olympus. This rosé is transcendental. It is of a continuous, slippery message, unfolding an extreme complexity but also a harmony which is the key to its success. What a great champagne. I can’t get over this superb perfection. Foie gras canapes, Scampi beignets and veal tartare served with bottarga highlight this gastronomic and serene champagne. It’s a huge champagne.
We go to the table and here is the menu that I had developed with Naoko, chef Teshi’s wife and made by him: langoustine and caviar carpaccio, caviar cream sauce, onion brunoise and celery with sherry / turbot , umami « PAGES » sauce / Brittany lobster, Comté and miso sauce / roasted pigeon, blood sauce, mashed potatoes / Simmental and Wagyu beef, beef jus, sautéed new potatoes / mango mille-feuille / Financier .
At the opening, the perfume of Champagne Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin 1949 seemed exceptional to me. It is now, and the champagne tastes better than the taste of the 1949 magnum that the three Spaniards had shared with me at a recent dinner. I find this 1949 on the same level as the magnum of Veuve Clicquot 1947 served at the Hôtel du Marc of Veuve Clicquot which lit up the 196th dinner. This straight and balanced champagne is of an extreme accuracy of tone and a pleasant length. The caviar cream sauce is original and delicious. It is the onion tips that elegantly excite the champagne. A delight. The dish is perfect.
I often hesitate in my dinners to serve very old white wines, because they are not always understood. The Pavillon Blanc de Château Margaux 1929 will not have this risk because it is open, understandable, fluid and straightforward. It is generous and pleasant, simple, problem-free. We would give him without hesitation 80 years younger as he is straight and open. The scallop lutee letting the aroma of truffle explode is a marvel, which will create the most perfect harmony of the meal. Everyone is amazed that a 93-year-old white man can offer such youth.
Montrachet Domaine de la Romanée Conti 2004 offers a generous, on its seduction more than its power. And the agreement is wonderful, the wine being just as complex as the dish can be. It is madrigal against madrigal, the competition being without winner, each playing so that the other triumphs.
Teshi’s talent on these three seafood dishes made us think he was close to the three Michelin stars. There will now be three dishes whose wines come in pairs.
The Chambertin Clos de Bèze Charles Viénot 1959 is extremely intense. The wine is incisive, linear, playing with persuasion. It is rich too, at the top of its game. I did not expect such power from this still young, very expressive and powerful wine.
The Chambertin Jean and Jean-Louis Trapet 1990 is one of the 1990s that I prefer and very successful, but next to the Viénot, its kindness paralyzes it. It is subtle but a little off. My table neighbor tells me that if this Trapet had been served on its own, we would have loved it. He is right because the Viénot has paralyzed him a little. The lobster which is served as at the Pages restaurant is delicious and its very strong sauce may have scared off the 1990.
I wanted this meal to have a strong moment, that of putting La Tâche and Romanée Conti side by side from a mythical year for both of them, 1990. I wanted there to be no competition or of confrontation between them and in fact there is none.
Even if La Tâche Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1990 no longer has any olfactory fault, the wine is not at the level that I know of. It is good, expressive, but the touch of genius will not be there.
While the Romanée Conti Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1990 exudes the spirit of the estate. The nose is typical, the wine offers notes of salt and rose which are strong markers. This is a Romanée Conti at the height of her art, all in subtlety. The pigeon is of beautiful flesh but the blood sauce is excessive for the wine. A lighter sauce would have been needed to enhance this complex wine. La Tâche was not unworthy but the Romanée Conti showed a very beautiful expression of the genius of the Romanée Conti.
Two wines from two regions will accompany two different types of beef. The Simmental beef presented in a generous portion is clearly better than the small portion Simmental from the Pages restaurant. The Grand Musigny Faiveley 1906, which I saw on the capsule that it is Faiveley négociant and not Domaine, finds with it an ideal companion. This 116 year old wine is incredible. It has an energy and a depth that are impressive. It is of good density, rich with almost fruit, and its richness moves me to the point that I will make it the winner of my vote, because to be faced with such a dashing 116-year-old wine is the reward for my approach to ancient wines. I have a strong emotion.
While for the two previous dishes one wine took precedence over the other, on these two meats, the two so different wines will play at their best level.
If Musigny goes well with Simmental, Hermitage La Chapelle Paul Jaboulet Aîné 1962 is the ideal companion for a magnificent Wagyu. This Hermitage is magnificent, with a very varied and superb palette of tastes. This is one of the great successes of the Hermitage La Chapelle. It hesitates between power and complexity and plays both. We can go from one wine to another because they do not harm each other, so different and both so pleasant.
Château d’Yquem 1924, reconditioned in 1994, is dark chocolate in color. The nose is caramel, but on the palate it also evokes sunny mango. Its fragrance is generous and voluptuous. The pastry is a little too marked compared to the mango which should have been dominant. But this dessert is delicious.
The Cyprus Wine 1869 had a conquering nose on opening with liquorice, pepper, cumin and a trace of camphor which has now disappeared. The intense fragrance is very seductive. The wine is strong, lively, extremely dense. I have a particular love for this pregnant wine with infinite length, enhanced by a very successful financier.
We must vote on our five favorite wines of the thirteen wines of the meal. Eleven out of thirteen figured in the votes which is pleasing. The only two without a vote are the 2008 rosé from Dom Pérignon, which makes sense because it preceded the meal and was followed by the sublime 1966 rosé. The other wine without a vote is the Chambertin Trapet to which the Charles Viénot made a shadow.
Seven wines have been named first at least once, which is remarkable and shows two things: on the one hand the diversity of the choices of the guests since our impressions are different, and on the other hand that I do not influence the votes of participants, if there are seven different champions. The Romanée Conti 1990 had three first votes, the Montrachet 2004 and the Musigny 1906 each had two first votes and the wines which had one first vote were the Dom Pérignon rosé 1966, the Pavillon Blanc de Château Margaux 1929, Hermitage La Chapelle 1962 and Cyprus wine 1869.
The consensus ranking is: 1 – Romanée Conti Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1990, 2 – Grand Musigny Faiveley 1906, 3 – Montrachet Domaine de la Romanée Conti 2004, 4 – Hermitage La Chapelle Paul Jaboulet Aîné 1962, 5 – Champagne Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin 1949, 6 – Chateau d’Yquem 1924.
My ranking is: 1 – Grand Musigny Faiveley 1906, 2 – Romanée Conti Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1990, 3 – Champagne Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin 1949, 4 – Chambertin Clos de Bèze Charles Viénot 1959, 5 – Cyprus wine 1869.
The most extraordinary pairing is that of scallops with Pavillon Blanc 1929 followed by turbot with Montrachet de la Romanée Conti 2004. Ryuji Teshima‘s cuisine was absolutely remarkable, acclaimed by all the guests. The service was perfect, dishes like wines by the sommelier Clément.
In the lounge we tasted a very expressive, fluid and racy Hennessy Richard Cognac on fresh chocolates.
In a smiling atmosphere, it was an absolutely successful lunch.
(pictures are in the article in French, just below)