Bistro Laurent

One of my favorite restaurants in Paso Robles, Bistro Laurent is run by chef/owner Laurent Grangien, with the wines managed by Sommelier Ian Adamo. One added bonus is that the restaurant runs a wine store that's located just beside the restaurant and allows you to purchase bottles (at more than reasonable prices) and have them served at dinner. In addition to a great central coast selection, they are particularly deep in Rhônes. The food was impeccable across the board and included a phyllo dough wrapped Shrimp, Onion tart, Halibut covered in fresh porcinis and demi-glaze, and a decadently tender beef cheek over a small potato cake. All were perfectly prepared and plated. They also have a solid cheese course, which can be a rarity here in the US.

The wines started with a lively and mineral-driven 2010 Patrick Piuze Saint-Bris Val de Mer Sauvignon, which comes from a tiny appellation just south of Chablis. Steely, grassy and with hints of hay and white grapefruit, it was energetic and nervy on the palate and a perfect pairing with the shrimp/salad course. Moving on to the reds and a bottle that always seems to show brilliantly, the 2009 Pegau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee is an off the hook Châteauneuf-du-Pape that you probably couldn't have too much of. Yes, there's some brett here, yet the wine handles it gorgeously and is complex, layered and delivers incredible richness and depth on the palate. While this showed a dry edge to the tannin on release, there was no sign of them on this night and it's a blockbuster that can be consumed now with no regrets, yet will age effortlessly over the coming 15 years or more. Still a baby and more lively and pure, the 2011 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Le Claux comes from a small plot of vines located just beside the estate. Taking about an hour to unwind, it is a brilliant Grenache that delivers decadent plum, blackberry, licorice, pepper and spice as well as a voluptuously styled, full-bodied profile on the palate. While it doesn’t have the backend structure of the 2010, it has gorgeous density (especially for a 2011) and will have a broad drink window. It won't really start to shine for another 2-3 years, but it dishes out ample pleasure even now.

If you’re in Paso Robles, don’t miss a chance to dine here.

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