Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Lunch with Peter Ross @ Trestle on Tenth
...drank two bottles of wine yesterday alongside a typically fine lunch chez Kuettel, and ‘twas friend and colleague Peter who brought the nicer of the two ~
1999 Hochheimer Kirchenstück Auslese, Domdechant Werner
I brought this one, despite the fact that I still haven’t received a satisfactory explanation from the Germans about how Hochheim comes to be part of the Rheingau... Fill was top-level and cork was sound, but from the colour of the wine I would've said that it was 1989, or more likely 1983. Fabulously rich and rather sweet, but also a bit one-dimensional. Ah well... we drank it alongside a mix of charcutérie and aged cheeses, and a plate of Ralf's excellent steak tartare, where the richness and the sweetness were welcome. That’s something I learned from a sommelier in the city of Orleans some twenty years ago: drink white wine with steak tartare; pinot gris or riesling. You’re not matching the beef in the dish, but rather trying to cope with a somewhat unholy concatenation of condiments.
The next bottle was simply brilliant.
2006 Condrieu ‘La Bonnette’, Réne Rostaing
This wine really didn't have all that much to do with my very tastily done chicken paillard or Peter’s salmon w/ fennel which accompanied it. The dishes provided decently neutral backgrounds for this bottle from the Northern Rhône which proceeded to put on quite a show. The first impression of this wine which sprang to mind, it wasn’t at all daunted by having to follow the significant residual sugar of the Rheingauer... colour was mellow medium gold, the aromatix were certainly honeysucklish enough, honied and tinged with a bit of spice—but the texture of this wine was extraordinary, the way it coated the palate from one end to the next with flavours of peach, confectionary and blood orange—this is one of the finest viogniers I've ever had the pleasure to drink. The presence and persistence of this Condrieu on the palate were truly memorable. Finish was nicely balanced, good grip and acids, didn’t think too much about minerality, but I imagine that's not what viognier’s about. This was just plain paradise.
I remember my first impression of Condrieu—it seemed to me that in the late eighties the city of Lyon was producing about as much soot and ash as Cleveland and Pittsburgh put together, and I was amazed that viticulture could co-exist there with such a formidable presence of industrial pollutants...