NYC Thai/French Dinner
(Nov. 18, 1997)
Here's the final report on the wines shared by 10 participants at last night's offline gathering at Q Thai Bistro in Forest Hills, Queens, NYC. This is quite a pleasant little restaurant, by the way, not so much the advertised Thai-French "fusion" as a bill of fare that includes some Thai goodies and some French goodies. It was all done well, though, with high quality at reasonable prices. Thanks to Bob Scherb for organizing the event and making the tough decisions as to which wines out of an eclectic bunch should be served with each course.
The following notes are presented with the usual caveat for such gatherings: Notes taken with food in a social setting under dim lighting shouldn't be regarded as highly analytical.
With an appetizer plate including steamed dumplings filled with minced chicken and shrimp, deep-fried shrimp rolls, chicken satay and mixed salad greens:
Chateau de Valmer 1995 Vouvray Demi-Sec
Pale straw color. Earthy, almost "cheesey" aromas, but pleasantly so, a character that I find typical of demi-sec Vouvray. Crisp, citric fruit, snappy and lasting. Slight fresh-fruit sweetness in the finish. Importer: Dreyfus, Ashby & Co., NYC.
Paul Thomas non-vintage Washington State Crimson Rhubarb Wine
Brought along as a lark on a wine-seller's advice that it's a surprisingly "interesting" wine. She lied. Very pale salmon color, it has an odd, sulfurous scent reminiscent of sniffing a rubber hose, and a semi-sweet flavor that's unpleasantly funky. Dump.
Domaines Ott 1995 Chateau de Selle "Clair de Noirs" Cotes de Provence Rosé
Pale salmon color. Light berry aroma; fresh and tart flavor with a whiff of apricot. Pleasant, but muted. Importer: House of Burgundy Inc., NYC.
Clos Habert 1995 Montlonis
Pale straw color. Fresh apple scent; full, tart and dry. Chenin Blanc, but could almost pass as a ringer for a good if simple white Burgundy. Importer: Fruit of the Wines Inc., NYC.
With broiled salmon on a spicy green sauce:
Domaine Olga Raffaut "Roguinet" 1978 (!) Chinon Les Picasses
Very dark ruby color. Delicious herbaceous and cherry aromas, characteristic Chinon. Complex, layered fruit, holding up remarkably well after almost two decades. Amazing! Importer: Michael Skurnick Wines, Syosset, N.Y.; a Louis/Dressner Selection.
Fabre Montmayou 1991 Mendoza (Argentina) Malbec
Day-glo reddish-purple. Black fruit and anise on the nose and palate, some tannin suggesting further aging potential. Importer not noted.
With Chicken Dijon:
Beringer 1995 Napa Valley Sbragia Limited Release Chardonnay
Clear bright straw color. Tropical-fruit aromas, figs and pineapple. Very buttery on the palate, soft and sweet, fat and under-structured. Does nothing to alter my ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) attitude.
Zind-Humbrecht 1992 Alsace Gewurztraminer Wintzenheim
Pale straw color. Delicious aromas of litchees and grapefruit. Full, rich and tart; faint fruit sweetness fades into a pleasantly bitter finish. Both with the food and alone, the intensity and structure of this Alsace makes a stunning contrast with the Sbragia Chard. Importer: Wine Markets International Inc., Woodbury, N.Y.
With Pad Si Exu noodles:
Hermann J. Wiemer 1995 Late Harvest Finger Lakes N.Y. Johannisberg Riesling
Corked. So much fruit that it struggles to fight its way through; but the "damp-basement" character of cork taint is a fatal flaw.
Albert Boxler et Fils 1992 Alsace Grand Cru Tokay Pinot Gris
Pale straw color. Fresh grapefruit and floral aromas. Tart, crisp grapefruit on the palate, mouth-filling and full; clean and consistent in a long finish. Finesseful and complex, an interesting contrast with the more intense but perhaps less nuanced style of the Alsace Gewurz served with the previous course. Importer: Robert Chadderdon Selections, NYC.
With Filet Mignon, sauteed tomatoes, onions and mushrooms:
Kenwood 1990 Jack London Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Inky dark purple. Black fruit and coffee, tobacco-leaf and vanilla aromas. Big, chewy, tannic. Impressive, and drinking well (especially with "tannin-wiping" rare roast beef, but will benefit from still more time.
Cousino-Macul 1994 Antiguas Reservas Maipo Valley (Chile) Cabernet Sauvignon
Dark reddish-purple. Caramel and mint aromas; pleasant Cabernet fruit with a touch of brown sugar. Respectable table wine, but bracketed by the Jack London and the Pichon-Lalande, it's been placed in a class where it's non-competitive. Importer: Billington Distributors Inc., Springfield, Va.
Chateau Longueville du Baron de Pichon-Longueville 1989 Pauillac
Very dark blackish-purple all the way to the edge. Pleasant blackcurrant and cigar-box aromas. Lean, austere black fruit flavors over soft tannins, well-balanced and appealing but still closed. If you have it, keep it cellared. Importer: San Diego Vintners Co., San Diego, Calif.
With whole fried Red Snapper on a garlic-peanut sauce:
Hunter's 1996 Marlborough (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc
Pale brass color. Ripe gooseberry and grapefruit aromas with just a touch of "cat-spray." Ripe fruit flavors over a good acidic structure; a fine example of the Marlborough Sauvignon style. Importer: Epic Wines, Aptos, Calif.
Kunde 1995 Sonoma Valley Dry Late Harvest Zinfandel
Dark ruby color, clear edge. Blackberries and fresh-cut hay on the nose; herbaceous and berrylike flavors, warm and strong (16.1% natural alcohol claimed).
Cantece 1995 Primitivo Salento
Dark ruby in color, raisins and warm stone fruit aromas. Pruney and soft at first, tightens up with crisp acidity emerging on the palate. If Primitivo is indeed Zinfandel, it would be hard to guess it from this wine, which speaks with an Apulian accent and not a hint of California. Importer not noted.
Chateau Grande Cassagne 1996 Costières de Nimes Syrah (unfiltered)
Inky blackish-purple. Peppery and jammy fruit scents, a bowl of fruit reminiscent of Beaujolais. Jammy fruit and black pepper flavors over lemon-squirt acidity; rather short finish. Importer: Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, D.C.
With choice of chocolate truffle cake or raspberry or passionfruit mousse cake:
Santa Barbara 1991 Santa Ynez Valley Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc
Clear pale amber. Apricots and honey and a whiff of volatile acidity; definitely seems to be a touch of botrytis here. Luscious sweetness over a core of acidity; might be a good ringer in a Sauternes tasting, although you wouldn't mistake it for Yquem.
Anthony Road 1995 Finger Lakes N.Y. Late Harvest Vignoles
Pale brass color. Grapefruit, apples and spice aromas, very pleasant. Intensely sweet, almost overbalancing crisp fresh-fruit acidity.