Their friend Shelly Rabin, has a fabulous cellar and sometimes supplies wines to Rob and Arthur. This Art of Wine dinner was another one of the co-productions. It was over-the-top leaving the Negress feeling slightly nauseous thanks to her inability to stop before a good thing became too much. Here’s how it played out:
1. Mushroom Spring Rolls, Tuna Tartare, Asparagus Prosciutto Rolls and Shrimp Tempura
Cremant de Bourgogne Bailly-lapierre Reserve Brut NV
Maybe I should have skipped the third tuna tartare, but the wine, a 100 percent Chardonnay Burgundy sparkler, was light and luscious. It was crisp and pleasingly dry paired nicely with the slightly fatty pass arounds.
2. Butternut Squash Soup with Chili and Mint
2008 Les Trois Emmes Stingy Jack’s Pumpkin Cayuga White
This was one strange and unforgettable wine with hints of pumpkin pie spice and eucalyptus. It worked with the squash soup but the consensus at our table is that we had drunk our lifetime quota of this weird little Massachusetts beverage. Rob wanted more. My pal John, who has helped Rob and Arthur with the classes on occasion and has recently appeared in this blog, was of the mind that this wine didn’t go with much.
3. Duck and Chestnut Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage
2007 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Setilles
White Burgundy is a good thing and it went well with the savory flavors in the ravioli, but this was my moment for reflux to rear its ugly head with a vengeance. While our table argued about the merits of the pumpkin white with the previous course, I was sorting myself out in the restroom. I thought the wine had aging potential, but it was not the best wine of the night.
4. Braised Lamb Shank/Organic Chicken Under a Brick/Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Encrusted Char
1999 Chateau Monbousquet St. Emilion
I chose the lamb shank, which paired very well with this Right Bank Bordeaux. This wine was lush and structured and opened up nicely in the glass. The chicken and fish eaters also liked it, but I would think it might overwhelm more delicate foods.
4. Salad with Pear, Goat and Goat Brie Cheese and Pomegranate
1990 Andre Brunel Chateauneuf du Pape Les Cailloux
This was easily the wine of the night. Shelly gave he group the last of his stash of this wine. Now there are four bottles left for sale worldwide at prices from $375 to $750 a bottle. This wine was lovely, but tighter than Jack’s hatband when first poured. Ray, a Scottish Scotch lover at our table, was not convinced this wine would ever open up. Most of us begged differ. By this point, I was tired and donated the rest of this wine to John (who supplied our corrected history), and he seemed appropriately grateful. I was mindful of the trains so I suspect I didn’t give this wine the proper attention. I knew it was special, but I couldn’t break it down because was I was loaded, tired and anticipating the 90 minutes it was going to take me to get back to New Jersey.
5. Shortbread Round with Maple Chantilly Cream and Warm Sauteed Apples with Raisins
2000 Grains Nobles par Philippe Delesvaux–Coteaux du Layon
1995 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Vin D’Alsace
The Coteaux du Layon could have stood on its own as dessert with a nectar-like sweetness. The Zind-Humbrecht was less overtly sweet but paired well with the rich dessert. I had one bite of the dessert and two sips each of each wine. I was tired. My palate was tired. I had a train to catch. Clearly I need to train for these dinners with some sort of fasting/napping schedule. But it was lovely to get to taste some amazing wines and see my friends.