Chez Nous
Hedonist's Gazette

Dinner with Dear Friends; Chef de Cuisine - Robert Parker

With jumbo lump Maryland Crab Cakes I prepared for dear friends, I served a 1995 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne, 1997 Kongsgaard Chardonnay, and 1989 Comtes Lafon Meursault. The Coche-Dury is a great white Burgundy that will one day flirt with perfection. However, the Kongsgaard Chardonnay revealed the most interesting development. It began tight and unexpressive, but with air it blossomed beautifully, revealing a striking minerality unusual for a California Chardonnay. The Comtes Lafon was extremely opulent, with a lot of tropical fruit and, to...

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TV Dinner at Home

Sitting down with my wife to watch my profile on 60 Minutes II, followed by a one hour profile on the Charlie Rose Show, I thought that just in case they were negative, I needed to be intoxicated. We began with a 1995 Sauzet Puligny Montrachet Les Combottes. It was fully mature, but somewhat of a disappointment given what I thought this wine was going to turn out to be. That was followed by the 1998 Cabrières Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Prestige. It is...

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Chez Parker -- With My Wife's Good Old Fashioned Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

The 1998 Marcoux Châteauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is knock-out stuff ... sumptuous, fat, rich, and complex, yet still an infant. It was tasted next to the 1998 Clos Erasmus from Priorat, Spain. New wood dominates the Clos Erasmus. It is very internationally-styled, but loaded with concentrated fruit. It is not the 1994, but it is a superb wine that needs another 5-8 years to absorb its wood....

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Lunch at Home With Friends

I prepared grilled Copper River salmon while my wife made a sumptuous, heavily garlicked shepard's pie with ground lamb and creamy mashed potatoes. 1998 may be a difficult vintage in the North Coast for California Cabernet, but it is a top-flight vintage for producers who waited and picked fully ripe Chardonnay. Kistler's 1998 Cuvée Cathleen is tour de force. That was followed by an elegant grouping of Bordeaux, including a rich, concentrated 1990 Clinet that perhaps wasn't as powerful and rich as I have...

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My Daughter's Birthday Dinner

On my daughter's birthday, I pulled out two wines from her birth year, followed by two half bottles of 1982 Calon Ségur. The 1987 François Jobard Meursault Les Genevrières remains a wine of delicacy, crispness, and leesy, mineral-like flavors. I wouldn't push it much further, but it probably has five years of life remaining. The soft but surprisingly successful 1987 vintage in Côte Rôtie is brilliantly exhibited by Guigal's La Mouline. Notes of espresso, peaches, figs, currants, and cassis are followed by a medium-bodied,...

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Dinner with Friends at Home

Following a terrific bottle of delicate yet flavorful 1990 Clos des Goisses we drank one of the world's best kept white wine secrets, Domaine des Baumards Savennières. The 1997 Cuvée Spéciale is a dry, 100% Chenin Blanc that sees no new oak. The essence of fruit and minerals, it is a great wine with 10-15 years of aging potential, but who can resist it now? Another disappointing bottle of 1985 Chave Hermitage seemed herbal and acidic, and not nearly as good as other bottles I...

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Châteauneuf du Pape, Some Fabulously Aged Steaks and a Handful of Friends

Why is it that Châteauneuf du Papes never disappoint, whether they are young or mature? The surprise of the evening was the incredible performance of Pierre Usseglio's 1999 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Cinquantenaire. A spectacular effort, it is a candidate for wine of the 1999 vintage, a decidedly lighter, more elegant, less concentrated year than 1998. Nevertheless, it is an excellent year that is likely to be forgotten sandwiched between the blockbuster 1998 and 2000 vintages. This wine has a good...

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My Birthday Dinner with Friends from France

I was born in 1947 and have a handful of bottles from that vintage left in my cellar, but I decided to go with youth. A magnum of 1990 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blancs de Blanc was as brilliant as ever. This precise, elegant, light yet intensely flavorful 100% Chardonnay is as good as it can be in 1990. The tar, gravelly, scorched earth, plum, and black fruit-scented and flavored, open-knit, soft 1990 La Mission-Haut-Brion is approaching full maturity at a relatively swift pace....

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Châteauneuf du Papes with Friends ... again

It's obvious I can't keep my hands and palate off Châteauneuf du Pape. It is such a great time to be not only drinking the 90s, which are starting to hit that plateau of maturity, but with the newly arrived 1998s and 1999s showing up, it is just a glorious time to look at this underappreciated, undervalued appellation. With some good friends who also love Châteauneuf du Pape, we started with the stunning Prager 1999 Riesling, an incredibly layered, complex wine...

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