About this Blog

The blog focuses on the essence of wine and food, not how many points or stars it receives. The opinions are mine and should be taken only as that, an opinion not gospel.

Like many collectors, initially I was very much influenced by wine ratings. I purchased wines based on points, even if I had never tasted the wine. And it was much worse than that. I would drink a wine with a high rating, not like it, yet since it was highly rated I’d rationalize that I did not yet appreciate the wine, or that my palate was not sophisticated enough to understand the wine. How’s that for lunacy? As a result my cellar grew in all directions while my palate narrowed. By the time I realized the style of wine that I enjoyed, my cellar abounded with wines whose styles I did not enjoy. All of these wines were very highly rated, just not my cup of tea, or glass of wine to be more accurate. Fortunately I was able to sell many of these wines to those who either enjoyed them or wanted highly rated wines. Don’t misunderstand, I am not against wines with high ratings, in fact I own many. It is just that I now purchase wines based on the producer, the style and my palate, not the rating. Nor do I shun reading reviews. I very much respect Antonio Galloni, Alan Meadows, Eric Asimov and John Gilman and read their reviews routinely. I pay attention to what they write, not the points they award.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dinner at the Pluckemin Inn

Last Wednesday evening our wine group met at the Pluckemin Inn in Bedminister, NJ for our monthly wine dinner.  It was Jeff’s turn to provide the wine.  I knew we were in for a treat as Jeff has a wonderful wine collection, especially of Burgundies.  In fact he is our resident guru when it comes to Burgundy.  Tonight he treated us six terrific bottles from the excellent 1985 vintage. They were a perfect match to the food at the Pluckemin, highlights which included Parmesan Risotto with shaved Black Truffles, Beef Filet Medallions with Foie Gras, Cavatelli with Tuscan Kale & Duck Ragout and Muscovy Duck Breast.  I can not say enough about The Pluckemin Inn.  The food and service never fail to bring a huge smile to one's face.  The wine service, under the direction of Wine Director Brian Hider, is always superb.  Brian maintains one of the best and most reasonably priced wine cellars of any restaurant in New Jersey.  He is also accommodating to wine groups such as ours by allowing us to bring in our own wines for these type dinners.  Brian we all thank you.

We began with 1985 Louis Jadot Beaune Boucherottes 1er Cru.  This was quite impressive.  It was round and elegant on the palate and finished with considerable length.  Maison Jadot has been making wine in Burgundy since 1859.  While they make wines from their own vineyards, they are also in the negociant business, which means they buy grapes or juice from other vineyards and then make the wine under their label.  Both methods turn our lovely and reasonably priced wines.

The second wine of the evening was 1985 Protheau Beaune Hospice de Beaune Cuvee Rousseau-Deslandes.  This is a producer that I was not familiar with, so I did a bit of Internet research.  The wine is made from grapes from premiere cru vineyards in the Côte de Beaune which are owned by or leased to the Hospices de Beaune, a charitable organization in the town of Beaune that produces a set of wines under its own name each year and then auctions them off for charity.  It possessed an earthy Burgundian nose but tasted a tad oxidized to me.  Current vintages sell for about $35

1985 A. Chopin & Fils Nuits St. Georges Les Murgers 1er Cru was poured alongside 1985 Jacques Prieur Clos Vougeot Grand Cru.  Both of these were wonderful.  Pure elegant Burgundy, both wines were round and delicious.  About $150 a bottle for current vintage of the Prieur, and half that for the Chopin.

The final two Grand Cru Burgundies were 1985 Domaine Georges Mugneret/Mugneret-Gibourg Echezeaux and 1985 Domaine Maume Mazis-Chambertin were also poured side by side.  Both were marvelous.  There really is not a lot to say about wines of this caliber other than they are beautiful examples of great Burgundy and I am glad I had the opportunity to taste them.  Round and delicious both kept evolving in the glass as we drank them.  Current vintages of these wines will be in the $100 - $200 per bottle area.

We concluded the evening with a bottle of 2003 Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Mollieux 1er Trie.   This is another superb dessert wine from Huet that begins with a gorgeous golden hue as it is poured into the glass.  On the palate it possesses an impeccable balance of alcohol to residual sugar, with a long & lush finish.   This is just a stunning wine that is absolutely delicious.  At $50 a bottle there is no need to spend hundreds on expensive Sauternes such as d'Yquem.

Thanks Jeff for a great selection of wines.


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