Another Dumpling Extravaganza at Mark's Duck House

It seems like, when I am in the United States, I need to go here at least once every three or four weeks. As for food, it is always the same thing — shrimp dumplings, scallop dumplings, lobster dumplings, pot stickers, chive dumplings, and then, depending on our appetites, we move to their Shanghai fried rice, roasted pork, Hunan fried fish, and at this time of year, the soft shell crabs. As for the white wines, it was a relatively disappointing showing, with the 1999 Muré just too sweet for my taste, and a dead, oxidized bottle of 1992 Colin-Deléger Chassagne-Montrachet Chaumée which I had enjoyed early in its life, but I wonder if it's the bottle or the wine is just dead. That was followed by a competent but uninspiring bottle of 1989 Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Verger. Two outstanding Burgundies included the very young, still tannic, and probably better than it showed at Mark's, 1995 Dugat Lavaux St. Jacques and a nearly mature 1990 Jadot Corton Pougets. However, once again, Châteauneuf du Pape ruled the day, and blew away two much more expensive and renowned Burgundies. I was surprised just how rich, complex, and intense the 1985 Pignan Châteauneuf du Pape was. I didn't remember it being this good, but it was really showy in mid-August at Mark's. That was followed by an amazingly youthful, spectacular 1997 Guigal La Landonne bordering on perfection, a fully mature, still vibrant, rustic 1985 Verset Cornas, and then of course, one of the great wines from the perennial overachiever in the Languedoc-Roussillon, the 1992 Granges des Pères, which is beautiful, sweet Syrah with a floral bouquet. It is an amazing achievement in a difficult vintage. It should continue to drink well for another 4-5 years.

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