When I lived in upstate New York, during my engineering days at Lockheed Martin, I spent many a weekend afternoon enjoying the outside patio at Café Boulud, which is located just off Central Park in New York City. Falling under the Daniel Boulud umbrella, this is the middle of the road restaurant, with Restaurant Daniel being the flagship, and Bar Boulud (which is on the other side of Central Park) being the most casual. On this occasion, I was in town for a quick tasting and kept an evening free to see if everything was as good as I remembered. I'm happy to report that the food and service are still impeccable. For this evening, we started with appetizers and drinks in the bar before moving to the main room for dinner. All of the courses were superb, with the Crab Cake, Lobster & Creamy Polenta, Beef Wellington and Molten Chocolate Cake all being the stars of the show. The Molten Chocolate Cake was declared by Traci as the
"Best Chocolate Cake Ever."
As to the wine, we started the evening with a bottle of Bollinger's 2004 Grande Annee, which was tight and firm, yet offered beautiful richness in its minerality and toasty aromas and flavors. After that, we went with two Chardonnays, Justin Willett's (a rising superstar in California) 2012 Tyler Chardonnay Santa Barbara County, and Marc Morey's 2011 Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot. The 2012 Tyler was just as good as I remembered from earlier in the year, when I tasted it on release. Crisp, focused and lengthy, it’s a stunning Chardonnay that also represent a smoking value. It had more depth and richness than the Morey, yet not quite as much focus or minerality. Both were beautiful and shared lots of similarities.
For the reds, we took the last bottle of 2003 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf du Pape off the list. I've had probably 4-5 bottles of this over the past year, and it's drinking spectacularly. Kirsch, licorice, roasted herbs and plenty of meatiness all develop and come soaring from the glass of this beauty. While often angular and structured in its youth, this cuvee becomes elegant, silky and refined in its maturity. In this cases, it's at full-maturity and drinking so well, there's no reason to delay gratification. The decadent, sweet, yet laser focused 2005 Joh Jos Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese Gold Capsule was a fitting end to a spectacular evening.
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