How do you send off a friend who is heading into a life-changing stint downunder? More specifically, what’s the appropriate farewell to someone who has occupied a leading role in New York’s upper echelons of wining and dining, most particularly the wining part? And how do you do this with barely a day’s lead?
You do it in style if you’re my husband. I can unequivocally state that he single-handedly pulled off the most amazing coup of cleaning and haute cuisine ever!
When I returned home he was in hot pursuit of organic duck breasts across Manhattan. He rendezvoused back at the apartment within minutes of the guests arriving and soon a selection of delectable cheeses, sopressatta and olives (care of guests) were being savoured along with… you guessed it, the first of a half-dozen sublime wines. (And yes, of course I sampled them. We were remarking that seeing as one of Calvin’s first wine tastings included a 1990 Chateau Margaux, we hope we’re not setting him up for disappointment!) I’m sharing Jay’s tasting notes on the vino, with my comments in parenthesis.
2005 Münzberg Silvaner: A crisp refresher from Germany’s Pfalz to start the night; good minerality, light pear/apple flavors. (Didn’t taste.)
1999 Beaux Frères Pinot Noir, Beaux Freres vineyard: Rbt. Parker & Co.’s Oregon pinot, a curious wine from a highly rated vintage. Big and complex, but bone dry and lacking the upfront fruit of many California pinots. An intriguing wine, maybe shows best with a full meal. (I was very surprised at how big this was for a pinot. And that’s not just the price tag!)
2002 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Dom. Rousseau: A lighter wine than the Beaux Frères, and more perfumed. Despite the pedigree, I didn’t give this one its due, because Brad was eager to get to the next one. (Didn’t taste.)
1990 Ch. Margaux: It would have been disappointing if this wasn’t the wine of the night, but it certainly was (for me). Deep and rich, with a dusky, dark fruit aroma. The finish lingered and even expanded, with a spice note that didn’t show until the end. A remarkable, elegant, complex wine. (Very elegant, and we have John E. to thank for this wonderful gift, one we’ve been nurturing and anticipating.)
2004 Tittarelli Bonarda, Reserva de Familia: This Argentinian wine was a bit of an odd choice at this stage of the game. A real fruit bomb, with an unmistakeable blackberry jam flavor. Probably nice in a different context. (I didn’t try this one, but apparently it was like dessert wine compared to the preceeding wine.)
1990 Dom Pérignon: Fantastic champagne. Bone dry, lucious, creamy and nutty. Superb. (I think we agreed that this was the best champagne we’d had. Period. We sipped and savoured using some antique lead crystal flutes I inherited from my grand aunt.)
2000 Ch. La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape: The nightcap. By now I don’t have much of a palate left, but this was a spicy, delicious CdP. Obviously a lot going on. (I think I had put myseld to bed by this stage!)