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Old 06-12-2004, 05:27 PM
Dale Williams
 
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Default TN: wine by the glass for Betsy's birthday

Met Betsy in the city Saturday for dinner (her birthday). We went to Eleven
Madison Park. Had a very nice dinner, rather than choose an all-purpose bottle
we ordered wine by the glass for each course.

Betsy started with delicious seared foie gras. She had a small glass of the
2002 Huet "Le Haut-Lieu" Demi-Sec Vouvray. Bracing acidity countering the mild
sweetness, strong citrus fruit balanced by assertive minerality. Notes of
honey, ripe cheese, and lanolin zipped in and out of the mix. Needs time, but
awful nice right now. As Betsy is sometimes not as enamored of Chenin as I tend
to be, I was a little worried, but she loved it. Bright and lively, A-

My first course was sweetbreads, with haricots verts, frissee, and verjus
grapes. As good a sweetbreads dish as I've ever had. The wine was a glass of
the 2000 Colin "Les Chaumťes" Chassagne-Montrachet. Deep rich sweet pear fruit,
a hint of honey and butterscotch, good acidity. Nice clean young white
Burgundy. B+/A-
(note: I wrote this down as it was on list. Now I THINK this was Marc Colin,
but it could be Colin-Deleger - I was looking more at Betsy than the bottle as
it was poured)

Betsy got the braised short ribs, with a glass of the 1998 Clos de La Cure (St.
Emilion). Not a producer I know. Sharp black plum fruit, some oak, still
somewhat tannic, maybe would have gone better with a rare steak. Hard to say if
this is just closed (this is an awkward time for '98 Right Banks), but usually
with a closed wine I get a sense of something lurking underneath. A somewhat
one-dimensional Merlot. B-/C+

I had tasty venison, with black trumpet mushrooms and spaghetti squash. A glass
of the 2001 Lucien Barrot Chteauneuf-du-Pape to accompany. Actually, of the
wines I ordered this was one I had least expectations from, after some
boring/frumpy Barrots before. But this was a beautiful CdP. Dark fruit
entertwined with coffee and leather, gentle notes of spice. Good finish. A-/B+

I held onto both reds as we entered the dessert/cheese stage. Betsy had a
dessert that she raved over ( I believe it was a couple with creme fraiche ice
cream). I ordered her the
1984 Ch. Raymond-Lafon (Sauternes). Pretty nice sticky from an (I think)
unheralded vintage. Sweet tropical fruit with light botrytis and lots of
nervosity. Not for the acid-averse. B/B+

I had 3 cheeses - Pleasant Ridge (from Michigan I think - clean & nutty), Tomme
de Crayeuse (like a slightly funkier Tomme de Savoie), and Cypress Grove
Midnight Madness (very very good aged goat). In addition to the reds, I had the
1996 Huet "Clos du Bourg 1er Trie" MoŽlleux Vouvray (amazingly, the list
included the '89 Cuvťe Constance, but as it was Betsy's birthday, not mine, I
went with the considerably less expensive wine).The '96 MoŽlleux was young yet
complex- orange peel, apricot, ripe fig and herbal tea notes. Like the
demi-sec, a mineral note than cannot (and should not) be ignored. Good
balancing acidity, frankly yummy. A/A-

Overall, a nice dinner with the woman I love. Very good food, good service.
Nice by the bottle list, but I think next time I'll again go with the by the
glass option. Each bottle was brought to the table before pouring, and one had
a choice of 3 or 6 oz pours. Prices were quite fair, with a good range of price
options, too.

Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a
good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where
it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy,
and certainly not of consistency.
Dale

Dale Williams
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Old 07-12-2004, 12:01 AM
Dale Williams
 
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Oops, I posted before I checked with Betsy what her dessert was. It was a apple
crÍpe "soufflť" with crŤme fraÓche ice cream. Obviously not a real soufflť, but
a puffy crÍpe filled with a apple-cream filling, with cooked apples on the
side, and the ice cream (Betsy really raved over the ice cream, with thelight
sourness of the cf contrasting with the expected sweetness)/
Dale

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Old 07-12-2004, 05:41 AM
Mark Lipton
 
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Dale Williams wrote:
Met Betsy in the city Saturday for dinner (her birthday). We went to Eleven
Madison Park. Had a very nice dinner, rather than choose an all-purpose bottle
we ordered wine by the glass for each course.

Betsy started with delicious seared foie gras. She had a small glass of the
2002 Huet "Le Haut-Lieu" Demi-Sec Vouvray. Bracing acidity countering the mild
sweetness, strong citrus fruit balanced by assertive minerality. Notes of
honey, ripe cheese, and lanolin zipped in and out of the mix. Needs time, but
awful nice right now. As Betsy is sometimes not as enamored of Chenin as I tend
to be, I was a little worried, but she loved it. Bright and lively, A-


Nice notes, as usual, Dale. That sounds like quite a meal you two had
(and happy B-day to Betsy). I notice that in today's CSW catalogue that
they've got the 2002 Huet "Le Mont" sec. Any experience with it, in
this or any other vintage?

Mark Lipton
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Old 07-12-2004, 12:54 PM
Dale Williams
 
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I notice that in today's CSW catalogue that
they've got the 2002 Huet "Le Mont" sec. Any experience with it, in
this or any other vintage?


Huet makes wine from 3 vineyards - Le Mont, Le Haut Lieu, and Clos du Bourg.
Some of my Loire-natic friends can rhapsodize at length over the differences,
but I just know I like them all. In a good vintage like '02 they'll probably
make a sec, demi-sec, and moŽlleux (and maybe the moŽlleux 1er trie) from each
one.

I think they're mostly equivalent (within their classes), though some place
Clos du Bourg a notch above others.

I've liked Le Mont sec in the past, but not tried the '02 (I did buy a couple
of the '02 Le Mont demi-sec). Excellent wines, but I guess if push comes to
shove my tastes in dry chenin is more for SavenniŤres than Vouvray.
Dale

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Old 07-12-2004, 04:07 PM
Jaybert41
 
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In a good vintage like '02 they'll probably
make a sec, demi-sec, and moŽlleux (and maybe the moŽlleux 1er trie) from
each
one.


What is the difference between moŽlleux and moŽlleux 1er trie? The Clos du
Bourg 2002 that I have thus far is the latter and do not know of the
distinction between the two.




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Old 07-12-2004, 07:49 PM
Dale Williams
 
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hat is the difference between moŽlleux and moŽlleux 1er trie? The Clos du
Bourg 2002 that I have thus far is the latter and do not know of the
distinction between the two.


Jason,

The 1er Trie is the top wine, produced on the first pass through the vineyard
(these are handpicked vineyards). Pick of the botrytized grapes. Usually
commands a modest premium. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but that's my
impression.
Dale

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Old 07-12-2004, 09:44 PM
Dale Williams
 
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The 1er Trie is the top wine,

Um, I should have qualified that. The 1er Trie is the top wine of the single
vineyard selections. I think the most pricey Huet is the Cuvee Constance, with
is selected grapes from all 3 vineyards. Very limited production (like 100
cases).
Dale

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Old 08-12-2004, 08:32 AM
Jaybert41
 
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Ahh, that makes sense. I was able to decipher from that label that it was the
"first try" so to speak through the vineyard, but didn't know if it was of
anything different from a molleaux wine. I have only seen the 1er Trie here in
NYC at Chambers St. and just assumed that it was to the only Molleaux from Clos
du Bourg. I haven't seen any other but will wait and see. The Cuvee Constance
sounds delightful, but I would enjoy several bottles of the Huet Sec or
Demi-Sec, or some Closel Savienerres at a fraction of the cost.
Thanks for the info.

Jason


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