Sunday, November 14, 2010

Olivier Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Champ-Canet Premiere Cru `98 (Not TJ's) ****

Let's talk Chardonnay.  Chardonnay called White Burgundy.  My first white burgundy experience was many years ago with a Latour Mersault `88. (unbeknownst to me, I kinda started at the top of the heap) I was so naive back then that I had no clue I was drinking chardonnay and the fancy name and label had me glamored.  I haven't grown in sophistication much since then, even though I now know how to  break down French wine labels into their parts, they still give me pause.  Why should drinking good wine seem like having to learn a whole new language?  It isn't just the French part, it is understanding what every line means.  Tonight, I knew that in the recent cellar clean-out, JPH had dusted off some hidden gems and we've planed meals around them, label or not, there was a dusty bottle to be had... it was going to be a good wine night.  

Tonight it was a 12 year old bottle of Olivier Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Champ-Canet Premiere Cru `98.  It was a beautiful, well balanced golden drink with hints of grapefruit and an slight effervescent minerality that danced on my tongue. We had it well chilled and as we have noticed, the first pour was not the best, the subsequent glasses were a substantial and delicious wine, clean tasting and straight forward.  It went perfectly with our rich seafood dinner.  Perfect for a cold Fall evening, after a glorious day of golden sunshine. I know that I sound flowery, but the color of the wine in the glass in the picture above right was the same golden tone that was outside as MEH and I drove from store to store looking for smoked haddock this afternoon. (Since you don't see smoked haddock on the menu, you know that we struck out - but it was still a gorgeous drive!)

No oak, plenty of body and depth of flavor (a heaviness that just feels like you have a mouthful when you drink this wine) with a highlight of grapefruit/sharp citrus, my guess is the you could be drinking this easily for another 10 years. If we had a second bottle, it would have been opened, but as it was, when dinner was over, we sated ourselves with Mochi that S brought home from Japan, watching Top Gear's "Caravan Conkers & Car Darts" (Top Gear so makes me wish I had access to a crane or two!) and then settling down for a nightcap of Grant Burge Port, and an episode of HBO's John Adams on DVD.

Menu:  Foil baked salmon with English parsley sauce; wilted spinach with pancetta and red onion; pan crusted potatoes with pancetta; leftover fish pie

As I was standing just to his right stirring the English Parsley Sauce, 
JPH took this picture. S was just behind us setting the table, 
the kitchen was full of activity 
producing the familiar smells and noises of a meal being put together.
It is like cooking in a dream and I simply don't want to wake up.

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