January 2nd, after a blissful 12 hours night sleep and a solid 5 1/2 mile first run of the year, I moseyed down to Tribeca Wine Merchants for another all day wine fest.
Ben, Theodore, Keith, and Dan and I met for a glass of the absolutely delicious Blanc de Noirs Crayeres from Egly Ouriet. Let me reiterate, I have had more Champagne in the past 2 weeks than the past 2 years, and this is a trend I am very happy to continue on well into the New Year. Egly Ouriet truly is one of the finest producers of Champagne. The heady, Pinot Noir only, single vineyard Les Crayeres is legendary, and a great start to what was to be an absolutely epic lunch.
We packed up the reds, above, the whites (2002 Dauvissat Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru and 2001 Coche Dury Meursault) and made our way to Jean Georges, rather unfortunately located in Trump Tower, to meet Brian for our full team holiday luncheon.
Dan, Theo and Ben in awe of the deliciousness that lay ahead.
We began with a trio of amuse bouche to pair with the smokin’ 2002 Dauvissat Chablis Le Clos. This was my second time to try this wine, with both proving the incredible age worthiness of Grand Cru Chablis. It must be the amount of lees stirring in Chablis that always imparts this intense creamy toastiness in the finest bottles. It’s not an oak-y cream, but more lactic and mouth coating. Perfect with crispy mushroom egg rolls, fish, and a creamy chicken soup shot.
One of my favorite things about Ben is his impeccable taste in wine (even if he can’t get into the whole natural thing) and his affinity for Coche Dury. Meursault 2001 from the absolute finest of Meursault, and arguably all of white Burgundy, doesn’t happen every day, but I’m sure happy it did this day. There is an intensity that Coche achieves that you just can’t find anywhere else….
Speaking of something you can’t find anywhere else, is there a more perfect food than uni? The answer is no. Richer than butter in flavor with ethereal lift, uni is proof god loves us. Especially with 15 year old Coche.
Course 2 we moved onto the reds, beginning with a perfect glass of 1982 Pichon Lalande. I have been lucky enough to have a few 82s-the powerful and still so young Lynch Bages comes immediately to mind- but the Pichon delivers is not in power, but in its quiet confidence and velvety finesse. It was just perfect; balanced, harmonious, and a testament to why we always come back to Bordeaux. The peekytoe crab wontons in meyer lemon broth didn’t suck either.
Where Bordeaux and Burgundy differ is in their level of ability to change your life. A great Bordeaux, like the Pichon mentioned above, will renew your faith in the greatness of the world. It will leave you to saunter down the street with a big dumb grin across your face reveling in the deliciousness capable in the world.
Great Burgundy, on the other hand, will stop you and leave you in silent reverence. It’s a whole new world after one of those glasses. It’s difficult to put into words, but these kind of wines don’t make you want to drink. They make you want to sit quietly to ponder the world at large. How can something so light and delicate be at once so powerful and compact? There’s an element of supernatural that I have yet to find a parallel for outside of Burgundy.
This particular 2001 Rousseau Chambertin didn’t speak to my soul, yet. Still too primary and tightly wound, it was delicious with massive potential, but not changing any lives. It will need another decade or so to find itself, so we wait patiently in the meantime (as if anyone can afford Rousseau now, much less 12 years down the road…).
Before the Rousseau we poured the 1999 Penfold’s Grange. Despite the weight and power anticipated, it really isn’t fair to any wine to follow in the footsteps of a great Burgundy, so we saved the Rousseau for last.
The Grange surprised me. It was massive, sweet fruited, a touch cloying, and just a total monster of a wine. I would have thought with 15+ years in bottle it would have calmed down a bit, but after speaking with those more experienced with this Australian icon, learned that 25+ is really the sweet spot for a great vintage. 99 was a great vintage. With that said it went pretty swimmingly with my sweetbreads and pear.
What would a Tribeca Wine Merchants lunch be without a third course of chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate and a shot of cereal milk? I’m totally digging cereal milk shots. America, you’re so clever.
We broke the 4 hour lunch coma with an espresso and Armagnac and then continued the party on down to the Lower East Side. For there were Hong Kongers in town to see…