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French Wine Dinner in Vancouver


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The finale to (my) Vancouver Wine Festival Experience was an excellent lunch at Le Gavroche. I sat with Pascal Apercé, the export director for Lurton.

With albacore tuna tartare, smoked salmon on a mini-blini, and honey mussel in a saffron sauce:

Charles Heidsieck Mis en Cave 2000 Champagne - this blend of vintages is normally made up of 40% reserve wines of 2 – 8 years of age, and the wine spends 4 years on the lees for added complexity. Fine mousse, a floral nose, soft and medium full in the mouth with fairly good length.

Lanson Brut Rosé – a light l’oiel perdrix colour, fairly pale. Made from Pinot and Charddonay with no malo-lactic, it had less fizz than the previous wine, but was pleasant and soft with lots of character building right to the ends. It definitely finished better than it started.

Nicolas Feullatte Brut Rosé Premier Cru – a serious pink colour on this one, made from Pinot Noir. Muted nose, not expressive, medium body with apples, good acidity, pretty good length.

With Alaskan scallops with carrot ginger flan and truffle vinaigrette:

2003 Ch. La Louvière (Pessac Leognan) – so young (bottled October 2004), but still showing an excellent toasty nose with pineapple, and medium long finish with more toast. Needs 2 – 3 years to smooth out and then it will drink well for 8-10 more. 85% sauvignon blanc, fermented in oak and spending 10 months in oak. Had an interesting discussion with Pascal about Stelvin closures, with which they have been experimenting since 1992, and intend to use on future white wines. He says that they are also the way to go for reds, but any switch from cork will depend on consumer acceptance.

With consommé of venison ravioli and asparagus:

2003 Mommessin Cote de Brouilly ‘La Montagne Bleu’ – low yield (28 hcl/hectare), destemmed, with long maceration, 30% of it seeing 1 and 2 year old oak, the rest in stainless steel. Quite decent colour, no doubt the result of the long maceration. Purple edges, and a bright well balanced wine, pleasant and with integrated fruit, drinking well now.

With duck magret, confit and foie gras cromoquis with Madeira sauce:

1999 Louis Latour Ch. Corton Grancey rand Cru – made from fruit from 4 different vineyards, it was typically light in colour, with excellent penetrating fruit and a long finish. Certainly the best of the two on palate.

2002 Moillard Nuits St. Georges ‘Les Thorey’ – lighter in colour than the Beaujolais! The nose showed very pleasant Pinot fruit with a hint of spice and was actually slightly superior in this respect to the previous wine. Slightly lean on palate and tapering off a bit at the end.

With pear stuffed with Stilton:

2001 Ch. de Beaucastel - Only medium dark, the nose quite pure fruit. Excellent up front fruit in the mouth, the ripeness becoming apparent only near the end. A fair bit of tannin, but under, rather than on top of the fruit. I asked Thomas Perrin how he thought the wine was doing and he said it was starting to close down. Nonetheless, the recent vintages seem to me to be much more approachable when very young than good vintages like 1989 and 1990 were.

With some dessert or other:

1997 Pfaffenheim Vendages Tardives Riesling Cuvee St. Catherine – great oily Riesling nose, with lime. Rich, but showing as fairly dry despite a fair bit of RS. Slightly Low acidity, and some mineral, with good length.

2001 Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer Late Harvest – from the Siggolsheim vineyard, cropped at 25 hcl/hct. A big Gewurz nose, rather more oily than spicy, soft on palate, finishing quite mineral with lingering flavours. Both these wines were very pleasurable.

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