Wine Week Feast
Oct, 30th 2007
This past week the wine world descended on New York for the Wine Spectator Wine Experience or whatever the hell it's called. I avoided most of the big tastings and lunches, but I did have three French winemakers over for dinner. Marc Perrin of Beaucastel, Thomas Duroux, director Château Palmer, and Etienne Hugel of the Alsatian Hugel & Fils. Lora Zarubin was supposed to help me with the cooking but at the last minute she got sick. I kept in simple, heirloom tomatoes which I had picked up in Long Island the night before, Burrata from Citarella, and ribeyes from Florence Meat Market on Jones Street which I grilled on the Weber on my terrace.The weather turned to shit that day, but fortunately I had a retractable awning under which to cook. The guys arrived late, having gotten stuck on the subway. Then we got into it. A bottle of '95 Salon, courtesy of their friend Didier Depond, who was stuck in France. An incredibly light, long, delicate champers, especially against the big, burly '95 Krug which I opened for comparison.
I started the fire and we sat down to the first course. Hugel's '04 Jubilee Riesling had more than enough acidity to handle the tomatoes. Nice juice, although very young. With the steaks, we started with a '78 Palmer, which was at its apogee—very complex if not very big—then went on the '91, surprisingly strong for the vintage.
Hard to beat the 1990 Beaucastel though, one of my favorites, which still has lots of fruit alongside the secondary notes of sweaty saddle leather and tobacco, or especially the 2001 Homage á Jacques Perrin that Marc brought to the table, a Baby Huey of a wine: a big, dense, tightly wrapped package of imminent greatness which actually opened up with the fatty steak.
I served them an '88 Chave Hermitage blind, and eventually they narrowed it down to the Northern Rhone. We all liked it, though I can't remember it that well now. I do remember the 2002 Hugel & Fiuls Gerwurztraminer SGN, a sublime, rich honeyed nectar which woke up the palate, not least because it's syrupy sweetness was balanced by a nice lash of acidity.
At that point my wife returned with a large group of civilians in tow, fresh off a birthday dinner at the Waverly Inn and we moved on to lesser beverages.