Monday, October 12, 2009
Wine Friends Reunited - Pomerol, Vouvray and Saint Peray
Recently, Mary and I were invited to the home of Phil and Mary Gallagher. Phil is a professor at Brooklyn College while Mary splits her teaching and research between Queens College and Columbia University. The occasion was a reunion of sorts with our dear friends Adele and Eric Steinberg, who now reside in Florida. Both Adele and Eric worked formerly at Brooklyn College, Eric as the Associate Provost and Adele as a financial aid adviser. Our gracious hosts, Phil and Mary shared their home with us for a most enjoyable gathering. All of us are lovers of wine. However, it is Eric who is our guru and spiritual wine master. Eric has been a collector of fine wines since the 1970s. He is superb judge of wine with a generosity of spirit that would make the most dense of palates feel comfortable and willing to learn, as I can attest.
Appetizers, Saint Peray and Vouvray
The day started with appetizers from assorted olives to superb cheeses. Mary and I brought a bottle of Saint Peray, Tardieu - Laurent 2007 from Young's Fine Wines. This was a very pleasing wine with a hint of honey and oak and a delicate minerality, in addition to great balance and sophistication. According to Tom Cannavan's Wine Pages "The fruit is all from very old vines of at least 40 years or so, with much of it 80 years old more more. There is natural concentration without over-extraction, which results in powerful yet balanced wines with real poise." As we finished off the Saint Peray, Phil brought out a 1997 Domaine Sylvain Gaudron Vouvray (Loire Valley). This was a superb wine. Chenin Blanc is a favorite of mine and I was very pleased when Phil started pouring. It had wonderful body, a mild sweetness, overall great texture and was thoroughly refreshing. The color was an astounding, deep yellow which stood out next to the pale Saint Peray. In fact, the color reminded me and Eric of a well aged German wine.
The first course consisted of a lobster risotto. I may say this was the best risotto I have ever enjoyed. Bravo, Mary. Never have my wife and I had a risotto of such refinement and subtle complexity. It was as they say "like butter." We've been talking about it ever since. Phil was nice enough to send me the recipe. Superb!
The Main Course with Chateau Latour a Pomerol
The main course was braised quail on a bed of palenta, stuffed with cotechino sausage and accompanied with fresh asparagus. Not having had quail before we didn't quite know what to expect. Needless to say, it was superb. The palenta was a perfect compliment. The asparagus was perfectly done with a mild flavor that did not over power the quail or palenta. All of this was served with a 1982 Château Latour à Pomerol; a perfect match. Phil insisted the Pomerol was not as good as it was a year ago. However, to my taste it was an exquisite wine. Wine Advocate put it best: "WA 93 (6/2000): A mature dark plum color with considerable amber at the edge is followed by copious aromas of caramel, coffee, jammy cherry fruit, and sweet herbs. Fleshy, succulent, and low in acidity, this seductive, sweet, fat Pomerol has reached its peak of maturity, where it should remain for another 5-8 years. It is an impressively complex, delicious wine, although not a blockbuster." What more can I say.
The pleasure of seeing our good friends, the Steinbergs from Florida, and our generous hosts Phil and Mary Gallagher was extraordinary and uplifting. Phil and Mary created a wonderful and exciting meal, the quality of which is rarely experienced. Adele and Eric added a warmth and humility Mary and I find so enjoyable. Good friends all. We left the dinner basking in enduring friendship. We are looking forward to meeting again.
Kudos to all!!!