Little Saigon

This was another fine meal at this tiny Vietnamese restaurant located just to the west of Arlington, VA. Unpretentious, down to earth and casual, it's a great place to bring a couple of bottles, good friends and enjoy the evening. The meal was the standard assortment of spring rolls, stir fry and crispy prawns, all of which were perfectly prepared.

As to the wines, the NV Vilmart Brut Grand Reserve is consistently outstanding, with beautiful richness, fine bubbles and an all-around classy, elegant style. It went perfectly with the Vietnamese food and will continue to drink nicely over the coming couple of years. I preferred the reds with the food, and the 2007 Domaine Durieu Châteauneuf du Pape was firing on all cylinders. It's an incredible wine that I wish I'd have bought more of. Almost all Grenache (10% Syrah) and from the oldest vines of the estate, it is deep, full-bodied and decadent, with awesome concentration, a stacked mid-palate and classic aromas and flavors of black fruits, pepper, roasted herbs and assorted background meatiness. It's a rock star bottle of wine to drink over the coming decade. More mature, Janasse's 2001 Châteauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes dished out nothing but sweet fruit in its currants, black licorice, roasted herbs and meat juice-driven personality. Full-bodied, rich and hedonistic all the way, this bottle was more evolved than a recent bottle tasted at the domaine, yet still developed nicely over the evening.

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