Last night's offline at Spiedini (CAUTION: wretched excess ahead)
- Larry Stein
After all the talk about your offline at Da Flora, I figure it was time to write up last night's affair. BTW, offline is the term used on Robin Garr's and Brad Harrington's wine boards/websites for meeting the folks behind the pixels. Our friend John and his family were out from Colorado so Stuart sent out an all-points bulletin to all the major Rhoneheads. John and Stuart are MAJOR Rhone wine collectors. In fact, Stuart has assisted Stephane Ogier in making several vintages of Ogier's Cote Rotie. Stuart's knowledge of the wines, winemakers and individual vineyard soil characteristics of the Northern Rhone is staggering.
Stuart also is a regular at Spiedini (located in Walnut Creek) so offlines are fairly common. No corkage, no menus, WAY too much food. There were 10 courses. This wasn't a tasting menu with tiny portions. Oh no, this could've fed a small army. Sorry if I'm not too descriptive, but without a menu and 10 of us talking and drinking, I missed most of the sauce details.
Started with a cheese course. Then bruschetta with red bartletts and Blue d'Auvergne. Next were 3 pastas: duck tortelloni, pheasant tortelloni and spaghetti with 3 different wild mushrooms and fava beans. We were brought 2 enormous platters of the spaghetti. I have a large styrofoam container of it in my fridge. Crabcakes for the fish course. Meat courses: wild boar, duck and lamb. These were full entrees spread over the table. They brought 2 of each. Various desserts. Yup, 10 courses.
Now the wine. When we walked into the restaurant, there were 6 bottles, brown-bagged and left for us by the chef. Spit bucket time! '99 Traminer, Jermann - '99 Tunina, Jermann - '96 Barolo, Luigi Einauldi - '96 Barolo "La Serra", Marcarini and 2 Barberas from '97 that I don't remember the names of.
And this is what we brought (NO, we didn't drain the bottles. Actually, just one.)
'99 Gruner Veltliner Steiner Hund (Austria), Nikolaihof
'96 Riesling Herrenberg (Alsace), Charles Schleret
'98 Condrieu (forget the producer, but I'm not sure if it's imported into the US)
'96 Chassagne Montrachet, Niellon
'87 Cornas, Noel Verset
'89 Cornas "Cuvee C", Marcel Juge
'83 Hermitage "La Chapelle", Jaboulet (a bit over the hill)
'83 Cote Rotie "Cote Blonde", Gentaz(?) (corked, damn...)
'90 Crozes Hermitage "La Guiraude", Alain Graillot
(fabulous, just the right time to drink)
'90 Pignan (Chateauneuf du Pape), Rayas (still a hefty boy, needs time)
'95 Dom. de Marcoux (Chateauneuf du Pape)
'95 Les Cailloux "Cuvee Centenaire" (Chateauneuf du Pape), Andre Brunel (very rare, expensive, I believe we committed infanticide)
'85 Pesquera Riserva (a Spanish interloper!)
Did I wake up with a hangover? Nope, but I had a major food-over.
Jeez, Larry, after all that, what are you doing up so EARLY posting?
Don't you love Traminer from its real home high in the Italian Alps? So rosey and delicately perfumed, and I bet Jermann makes a beauty.
I'm a fan of the old-fashioned flavors of Noel Verset Cornas. Quality fell off a bit starting with 88-89 or so, I think his wife was ill/passed away and he sold off his oldest vines to Thierry Allemand. However, I tried the 98 recently and it's really back on form. 1987 was a weak vintage, how did it show?
I weep with you that the 83 Gentaz was corked. We ordered the 91 for dinner at Beau Rivage in Condrieu and it was so young and primary I would have sworn it was a 95-96. Wish I'd had the presence of mind to buy a bottle from the restaurant cellar to carry home and try in another 10 years.
Interesting that you felt the 83 La Chapelle had seen better days. Last week at the byob gathering at Mustard's, the 83 Chave was my absolute favorite of the 20 bottles of wine on the table. (Yes, I did recover enough from almost wiping out the Mondavis to enjoy it.) Someone at the table said that the last time he'd opened a bottle of the Chave, Stuart (who I do not know) trumped him with the La Chapelle which blew it off the table. He was wishing that he'd had the Jaboulet there to make the comparison again.