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Aug 17, 2007 06:23 PM

You make the choice

Faced with the following choices, I'm curious what you all would pick:

First Course:

Fried Wellfleet Oysters with creme fraiche, pickled shallots, and roasted bacon

A. Perrier Jouet Grand Brut , NV ..................................$60
B. Chablis, 1er Cru "Les Lys" , Defiax, 2004 ..............$65
C. Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc, "Meredith Vineyard Estate" 2005.................. $50
D. Weisser Burgunder, "Spatlese Tocken", Rebholz.................................................. $45

Second Course

Heirloom Tomato Salad with pickled watermelon, fromage blanc, and mint

A. Piper Sonoma Brut, NV ..............................................$25
B.Sanford Chardonnay, Santa Barbara, 2004..............$30
C.Gruner Veltliner, "Steinsetz", Gobelsburg..................$30
D. Leeuwin Estate, Sauvignon Blanc, "Siblings", 2004..........$28

Third Course

Grass Fed Rib-Eye with duck fat potatoes, wild mushrooms, and pickled onions

A. Taz, "Fiddlestix" Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, 2004............................$45
B. Goose Ridge Vineyards, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004...........$35
C. Neyers, "Tofanelli Vineyard", 2004......................................................$50
D. Renard, "Unti Vineyard" Grenache, Dry Creek Valley, 2004............$48
E. Stag's Leap Winery Petite Syrah, 2004...............................................$45
F. Cline, samll berry Mourvedre, Contra Cosat County, 2004................$40

Ah, life is full of choices ! I will give the actual choices later this weekend (with any additions and comments).


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  1. 1st - A - Champagne
    2nd - C - Gruner Vetliner, although I have not had this one.
    3rd - B - Cab or A - PN

    1 Reply
    1. re: scrappydog

      I agree with your choices however I'd love the Champagne for the first course if not for the bacon which leans me toward the richer Spatlese.

    2. Fried Wellfleets with creme fraiche, pickled shallots, roasted bacon.
      Champagne with oysters prepared however which way is almost always a good idea, but I'm really not fond of the Perrier-Jou√ęt. I don't think the roasted bacon would make that big of a difference with my choice. I'd go with the Chablis, though I'm not familiar with the producer.

      Heirloom Tomato Salad with pickled watermelon, fromage blanc, mint
      I think the gruner veltliner is a perfect match for this.

      Grassfed Ribeye with duckfat potatoes, wild mushrooms, pickled onions.
      I'm a sucker for the Stags Leap Petite Syrah. I think it's great with all dark meats, especially something like ribeyes.

      1. FRIED OYSTERS: Most of these wines would work at some level. My key assumption is that the bacon flavors are not pronounced. If on the other hand you have serious bacon flavors and aromas, plus "bacon bits", etc.... then this points towards a riesling not on the menu....

        but it's the Creme Fraiche which screams Chardonnay that seals the deal... First choice is B, Chablis... HOWEVER, 2004 is only a fair year for Chablis which may argue for the second choice here, the PJ Grand Brut. At the end of the day while an '04 Chablis may be only fair on it's own, it's probably nice enough as a food and wine match to be the first preference for this course. Note: tone the bacon level down to a "hint" with this wine.

        TOMATO SALAD. Not sure about the 2005 aussie vintage, but I'll take a risk on it.... Sauvignon Blanc is my first choice for this course. Answer: D,

        RIB-EYE w/ potatoes, mushrooms & onions. First impression is that most of these varietals would work but secondly that they are all quite young. A top choice might be the '04 Tofanelli Zin if it weren't from such a bad year and again, so young, so scratch that unless you can find an older Zin. I'd drop the Mourvedre for same reason. I'd like to try the Unti Grenache but again '04 in Dry Creek has me wondering...

        At the end of the day, even though it's a very young wine, I'm going with the 2004 Washington State Cabernet vintage which is looking to be an excellent year. Cabernet is a great match for Rib-eye and matches the mushrooms splendidly. Don't think you can go very wrong here, Answer: B Goose Ridge '04 Estate Cabernet. Likely to benefit from decanting.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Chicago Mike

          FYI - 2004 is an excellent Chablis vintage, and for that matter, a superlative White Burgundy vintage in general. The 2004's display classic architecture, transperancy of terroir and penetrating minerality. The only reason not to drink the the 2004 Defaix Chablis "Les Lys" is it's a bit too young and one would be better rewarded by drinking the 1999 or 2000 "Les Lys" from this producer.

          1. re: Vinny Barbaresco

            So Vinny, I take it that you agree with me that Chablis is the best choice for the first entree...

            But while I would classify 2004 as a "fair" vintage, you consider it a monster vintage of superlative proportions, full of "classic architecture", terroir, minerality and other profundities.... Drink up and enjoy !

            1. re: Chicago Mike

              "you consider it a monster vintage of superlative proportions" What the heck are you talking about?

              What do "monster vintage" and "classic" vintage have to do with each other????? The reason 2004 is such a good vintage is the sheer fact that it is NOT a monster.

              As to agreeing with you... where did I make or suggest any wines with any of the dishes? Quite honestly, I'd prefer a Muscadet or Gros Plant from the 2005 vintage w/ oyster, creme fraiche and bacon.

              1. re: Vinny Barbaresco

                Well you said it was superlative... I was just quoting your previous post.

                And I just assumed that since you felt it was a "superlative vintage" with "classic architecture" that you were heartily recommending it with the Oyster dish....

                Doesn't a great, superlative, classic Chablis match oysters ?? Or does it not match because it's not a monster ? I'm just trying to sort this out, Vin, thanks in advance.

                1. re: Chicago Mike

                  CM, Superlative does not equal monster! Also, Chablis is not always correct with oysters, it depends on the preparation of the oysters and the style of the Chablis (as all Chablis are not created eqaul). I certainly would not serve an aged Premier or Grand Cru Chablis with raw oysters when Sake or Muscadet or young Petit Chablis might fair better. I also wouldn't serve any of the "au courant" barrel aged Chablis with any oyster dish. The query above is referring to fried oysters with CF and bacon, so given the choice of wines provided, I would most likely go with the Weissburgunder Spatlese Trocken or the PJ Champagne and leave the very fine Defaix Chablis for a meal some years down the road...probably Andouillette (tripe sausauge) w/ dijon mustard and a simple salad, which BTW, is one of the many dozens of classic pairing for Premier Cru Chablis.

                  Lastly, I've aways hated the term "monster" when used in referring to a wine or vintage. When a wine is described as a "monster" by either the producer or a critic, IMHO, it is usually a wine that I woiuld find completely detestable with food (and in many cases without food as well).

                  1. re: Vinny Barbaresco

                    monster = super-extracted (to me anyway)

                    1. re: Vinny Barbaresco

                      If the oysters were raw, the choice in my opinion, would be much easier: Reyka (from Iceland) or your favorite vodka, shaken over ice, strained and enjoyed with the oysters. To me, there is no finer pairing with raw oysters.

          2. Fried Oysters -- Champagne. Champagne works well with a tiny touch of bacon and dairy. Its acid cuts through the fat of the bacon, dairy and frying oil. Champagne and fried foods are wonderful together. Pickled shallots are just a variation on a classic mignonette. None of the choices come close to being as good as C.

            Heirloom Tomato Salad -- Gruner Veltliner. Picks up on the green/red of the tomatoes and the mint. Possibly the SB.

            Grass-fed Beef -- The trickiness here is that beef is grass-fed, so it doesn't have the meatiness or gutsy depth of grain-fed beef. It's lighter beef. Petite Sirah is way too strong, Pinot Noir a bit light, Grenache way light. That leaves the Zin and the Cab. My vote is for the Cab, but the zin could also work.

            1. 1st- The Champagne would go ther best, but the Merry Edwards is a much better wine.
              2nd- The Gruner Veltliner... but why not the Champagne first and the Merry Edwards second???
              3- The Neyers

              6 Replies
              1. re: whiner

                Ok, based on the input thus far, here are a few additional options:

                Louis RoerderBrut, NV ...........................$70
                Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs, 2003.......$50

                Kistler, "Les Noisetiers", Snoma Coast, 2005................$70
                Arcadian, "Sleepy Hollow Vineyard", Monterey, 2003...$48

                Chauteauneuf du Pape, Domaine Montpertuis,Paul Jenne, 2003 $60
                Rioja "Reserva", Bodegas Roda, 2002 ...........................................$50

                FYI, the bacon served with the oysters is fairly subtle in amount and flavor

                1. re: TonyO

                  Given these new options I'd revise as follows:

                  OYSTER DISH: First choice is Arcadian Sleepy Hollow Vyd from the superb and drink-ready 2003 Monterey/ Central Coast vintage. But the Chablis or Champagnes work pretty well for this dish also.

                  HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD: The '04 Leeuwin Sauvignon Blanc

                  RIB-EYE: Despite the addition of a quality CdP to your list, I'd still probably favor the '04 Washington Cabernet as IMO the varietal matches the steak at least slightly better. Also, if I could name one "ultimate" wine for this Rib-Eye w/mushrooms it would probably be Barolo... can you get your hands on a youngish Barolo ? an '01 would work, or if you can stretch ... a 99 or 97.

                  Note: Avoid the Rioja... it sounds great but '02 was a disastrous vintage. The '05 Kistler is just too young and not from as interesting a vintage as the 2003 Montereys, IMO.

                  1. re: Chicago Mike

                    Chi Mike, I would agree with the Barolo, but in this case (working off of a seasonal restaurants list, the only Barolo is the 2003 Vietti "Lazzarito" priced at $150 (a bit young and a bit $$$). This Inn does not have any aged wines as they repurchase each year when they reopen for May - October. The "oldest" offering is a 1996 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs priced at $170 (trying to keep the bill under $750 for 6 people). Thanks for your input.

                    1. re: TonyO

                      Hey Tony...

                      Have you checked to see if the restaurant has a BYOB policy ??

                      1. re: Chicago Mike


                        Not allowed in Vermont unless the restaurant has no liquor license (state law). If I do not overindulge (dinner is in 45 minutes), I'll report tonight, otherwise, details on Sunday !

                    2. re: Chicago Mike

                      You're wrong to dismiss an entire region based on average for the vintage. Here are some tasting notes on the Roda 2002 that strongly suggest it's one of the inevitable exceptions: