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Everything posted by mdibiaso

  1. First let me say that I have never been to Bocuse. But what I do not understand is why a restaurant should not have 3 stars just because it is cooking the food the same way it did 15-20 years ago. It seems that too often we feel that food has to be new in order to be excellent and worth 3 stars and forget that some old style cooking and techniques were so great because they tasted so great and they still taste great (man I still love a perfectly made butter or cream sauce that is so rich you feel your arteries hardening as you eat!). What happened to the days of having ones favorite dish and wanting to go back to the same place time and time again to eat it because they make it to perfection? I am not saying that old is always = good or new is always = to bad. I am just saying that the idea that a place has to be doing something original and new in order to be worth 3 stars is not an idea I share. In fact, I love going back to a place and eating my favorite dish over and over again. For me it is Lagoustine in vermicelli at Lucas Carton, which I also hear many people say is no longer worth 3 stars since many dishes have been on the menu for over 10 years. I say it is worth 3 stars partly because they have these dishes that are perfection on the menu still.
  2. mdibiaso

    Thierry Allemand

    Inheritence is also a problem for family wineries in France and some other European countries. The reason is the, let us call them, cumbersome laws and taxes surrounding inheritence. If you have an estate with a very high value and have to pay high taxes to inherit where do you get that cash. Well you have to sell some land, and what land can bring in the cash. You best vineyards of course. But if you sell those you cannot produce your best wines anymone. Catch the drift. And if there are a lot of siblings trying to get them to agree on who runs the company is not always easy. Or some may want to cash out well others want to keep the business running (to cash out you need to sell assets, what assets can be sold, the good vineyards...). So it is not always a free ticket to the good life to be an hier of a winery owner in Europe.
  3. First let me say that I am not knocking waiters in the US and I tend to tip well when in the US if the service is reasonable, very good for good service and very poorly for bad service. Most do a great job and work hard, as many people do in many other industries, including jobs in food service with no tipping and very low wages (dish washers, fast food employees...) But I have heard this argument before that servers are paying the tax on the turnover whether they get the tip or not. And I do not buy this argument. Tipping should be based on the service (not the quality of the food) in my opinion. This includes the complete service of the restaurant from the cleanliness of bathrooms, to the waiter/waitress, to the speed in which the food is served. In other words, everything beyond the quality of the food is part of the service in my opinion. Taxes should not come into question, and if you feel they should then you should make the same arguement for tipping more than 15% which I and many others often do. You could say that tipping more than 15% contributes to tax evasaion because pretty much no waiter or waitress would even tell the IRS they got more tips than the estimate the IRS sets. In fact, my guess is that over the course of a year 99% of the service staff in the USA gets more in tips than the IRS estimates and in other words gets a tax break (if I am wrong let me know). I have no problem with this, but please do not use the tax argument when discussing how much you should tip.
  4. I think I understand what Wells is hinting at. I am in Paris about two times a year. I go to Lucas Carton at least once sometimes twice each trip. While the meal at LC is not always, but often, the most memorable meal in Paris, I am convinced I enjoy my meals there much more than others because I have been there so often. The frequency means better service but as a frame of reference on the cooking and more importantly the ability to just relax and enjoy the food rather than trying to analyse the experience. Sure, there are many places in Paris I don't get to try and will never get to try. But I enjoy my meals, why look for more than that. I think what Wells is saying is why not enjoy what we have rather than worried about what we may have missed. And if you think about it how would life be if we did the same with friends, always looking for new ones to replace the old ones.
  5. The restaurant was in Sweden. Pontus in the Green House. They have a relationship with champagne guru Richard Juhlin, who is also Swedish. This is why they have this champagne and many other old ones. Juhlin also provides his rating for all the champagnes right on the list.
  6. Those wines were probably also bad. Now that you know, you need to keep an eye out for this problem. I was in an Italian market yesterday, and while waiting for my cheese to be cut, I noticed an open display of some sort of white wine. One bottle already had that tan color to it. Some unsuspecting person has already purchased it by now, and when they drink it, they will probably say to themselves, This is different... Not sure I agree that a darkening of color with white wine is a sign that is is bad. I have had many older white wines that had darkened to a yellowish caramell (like this champagne) which I am sure had no problems. I expect whites and red to "approach" each other in color gaining tannish hues over long periods of time. For me with this champagne the question mark was the bubbles being gone and the oxidation that something was not as it should be. Interesting to note that the restaurant tasks the "risk" with older bottles. But I sense this could partly be biased by Mark's undying commitment to his customers and their pleasure. I am not sure all establishments in the world, even at the higher end, would have such a generous stance on this matter.
  7. Thanks all. Lesson learned. Next time I know what I should be getting. All in all though this wasn't terrible. The acidity was still there and it tasted a little like sherry which was not a disaster as an apperative. My first wine tasting class I learned that the only was to pull a lot of corks, or have someone pulling them for you.
  8. There were many old champagnes on the list. At least 15 that were early than 1980 and one from 1907 that had sunk with a ship that was salvaged a few years ago. This was the only Belle Epoque on the list which is my wife's favorite Champagne which is why we ordered this. I felt uncomfortable saying anything because first I was pretty sure they must have seen the lack of bubbles (the color was darker but I am used to that with normal white wines that are older) and because in general I have always been unsure when ordering an older wine at a restaurant who the risk is with if it has not aged well (if it had been corked that would be a different story in my opinion).
  9. Last night for the first time I drank a really old champagne, a 1976 Belle Epoque from Perrier Jouet. The champagne had no bubbles left and tasted oxidized like sherry. Since I did not know if this was normal for old Champagne and the server made no comment when they poured and there was obviously no bubbles I did nothing to return the wine. Now I am wondering, was this a defect and should I have sent it back. Or even if it was a defect is this my risk when ordering such an old Champagne? Any comments on what I should have done (or what the staff should have doen when they could obviously see the bubble situation) would be appreciated. Especially from some of our resident sommerliers.
  10. If I remember correctly Lucas Carton used to serve the 1990 DP with a fish dish that had a green coffee bean accent in the sauce. Idea was that the DP had a green coffee bean aroma that matched well with the sauce. So if you want to try it with some fish and your wife can whip up something with the coffee beans you may be in for a revelation.
  11. Giovanni I agree that many restaurants really don't have people that understand about wine and could identify a corked bottle. But on the other hand, I think many customers who frequent the vast majority of "everyday" restaurants would probably feel cheated if the person opening the wine, in grand French tradition, poured themselves a small glass and tasted it before letting the customer taste it. Especially if the wine was on the expensive side ("hey that waiter just drank 3 dollars of my wine"). In my opinion true wine service means that the customer should never have to send back a bottle because a knowledgable staff member would taste every bottle and find the bad ones before the customer. And if two bottles of the same wine are opened at the same time they taste both. The tasting is not to see, hey do I like this wine, it is to see is this bottle damaged. Therefore you taste every bottle. But the reality is my "dream" world would probably be many customers' nightmare.
  12. mdibiaso

    WTN: 1959 Haut-Brion

    I have a 61 on order and this last post makes me very happy. I have had the Palmer 61 which was also needed some time to open. Will be great to compare.
  13. A great place is Vid Tjornina (by the lake) which is by the lake downtown. Very cozy environment and very preparation of Iceland ingredients. Try the Cod cheeks they are always on the menu. Have coffee and conjac in the lounge.
  14. Wonderful cherry and leather notes that took about 2 hours to open fully. Lot of fruit left in the taste which was big and chewy with a long soft tannin finish. Probably at its peak now. This is a food wine and went very good with an entrecote but even better with a cheese course in particular a St Nectaire cheese that was mild and creamy and really brought out the fruit in the wine.
  15. mdibiaso


    I am having an entrecote tonight with the 1983 La Chapelle that I just got for around 120 dollars a bottle which seems like a steal for such an old wine since the current vintages cost around 100. Will report back how it matchs with the meat (which I am serving pan roasted with olive oiled boiled shallots as the only garnish since I found some very special aged meat).
  16. I heard a deluxe model is coming with a battery operated pump so you do not even have to suck yourself. Just put your lips around the top and turn on the switch and it drinks for you. For those of you who would like the deluxe model and can afford I have a suggestion for you while you wait for it to hit the market. Send your bottles to me and I will drink them for you and provide you with complete tasting notes.
  17. I am looking for information on Eiginsinn Farm. I have tried various searches on the internet with no success. Does anyone know if they have a web site? Also any info on making reservations and if one can stay over night at the farm and if children are welcome would be useful
  18. mdibiaso

    Wine and Chocolate

    On similar lines as Banyuls you may want to try to find Mas Amiel. Even if the guests are knowledgable about wine this may be a new aquaintence for them.
  19. You cannot do lunch and dinner the same day. I would suggest dinner at GS and a late lunch at Gagnaire the next day. That way if Gagnaire has a very good day and the style is something you love you will not feel let down by the more traditional approch at GS. Only problem is can you eat so much in so short a time and will the wine from GS have you a little tired for Gagnaire. Best would be to have a day off between the two or two dinners.
  20. I cannot say which you should go to, but I have been to both often and can say how they differ, and they differ a lot. Gagnaire is an experience. Even if you order ala carte (1 appertizer, 1 main, 1 dessert) you will be served at least 10 different dishes. The tasting menu will get you 20. On a good night 10 of the 20 are very memorable. On a bad night maybe only 5. Gagnaire make great food but he also challenges your mind. And every dish is rather small so if you really like something you end up wishing there was more. This type of cooking is EXTREMELY wine unfriendly, with many different dishes and often many different flavors in one dish. But it can be exhilarately to experience so many different spicings, techniques and combinations one would never think on oneself. The service has gotten better over the years but is still not what I would call comfortable. Mr and Mrs Gagnaire are very dedicated and often there even on Sundays. Savoy is more traditional and not risky. Many courses have been on the menu for more than 5 years and perfected over time. You can eat a tasting menu or ala carte or create your own tasting menu with half portions. The preparation and seasonings are much more traditional (you will see truffles and foie gras at Savoy and they are virtually no existant at Gagnaire). The food is thus very wine friendly and they have a great wine list with many half bottles and good choices by the glass. Both are cosmopolitan in atmosphere but Savoy is a little more romantic in my opinion. Prices about the same, but Savoy can get more expensive since the food encourages better and more expensive wine choices. Gagnaire could be experienced with beer or water in my opinion after a glass of champagne as an aperativ. Hope this helps you make an informed choice. Neither will disappoint if you go with expectations in line with the descriptions above.
  21. It is simple. They are two artists, one is painting a clothed model the other is paintin a naked one. They have just taken their lunch break, the clothed model is washing up before she starts modelling. Why isn't the naked one washed. Because her artist has licked his plate and palette clean!
  22. Stick to the wine, in my experience the only food item you can bring back from Germany is gastritis
  23. There is an organisation of private wine family with 12 members called Primum Familiae Vini www.pfv.org is the web site. It has 11 members including Jaboulet, Mondavi, Torres and Pol Roger. I have recently been offered to become a passport holder. I wonder if anyone out there has experience with this and can give me some idea what to expect and how best to use the membership. Also any recommendation on how I should be prepared or act when visiting a member winery would be appreciated.
  24. Great note. Have you ever tried the 61 Palmer or Jaboulet La Chapelle. How would you compare those to the Cheval Blanc.
  25. If you go to bagetelle see if you can get the salad with foie gras in beet root bon bons. Or anything with the foiegras beet root bon bons. They are to die for. Well the wine has a hefty mark up they do serve matched wines by the glass to every course which I would strongly recommend especially if you get a tasting menu.
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