Tonight David, our Hedonist brother (and Yarom’s actual brother) is hosting a home-cooked Russian feast prepared by fellow Hedonist Ilana.
On the right is ChefIlana, and on the left our co-host Kimberly.
Here Ilana and David’s daughter slave away in the kitchen.
1996 Henriot Champagne Cuvée des Enchanteleurs Brut. JG 95. Blend of chardonnay and pinot noir, all from grand cru vineyards; L0909920608) Vivid yellow-gold. Kaleidoscopic aromas of citrus fruits, poached pear, mango, lees and licorice, with slow-building florality. Supple, palate-coating orchard and exotic fruit flavors are complicated by notes of herbs and buttered toast, with a smoky quality in the background. Seems younger than it did last year, showing excellent finishing clarity and persistent smoke and spice character. This really won’t let go of the palate, which is fine by me. I’d still hold this.
NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé. VM 92. Pale orange. High-pitched red berry, orange zest and jasmine aromas, with suave mineral and smoky lees notes adding complexity. Spicy and precise on the palate, showing very good punch to its strawberry and bitter cherry flavors. Opens up smoothly with air and picks up a bitter rhubarb quality that lingers onto the long, tightly focused finish. This bottling showed more brawny character than many past renditions of this cuvée, but with no lack of vivacity.
The appetizer spread being assembled.
From my cellar: 1990 Louis Jadot Bâtard-Montrachet. 90 points. Surprisingly young and fresh. Took a few minutes to open up, but very good when it did.
2007 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros. Burghound 92-95. Here too there is a very subtle influence of wood that frames ripe yet elegant and impressively pure aromas of citrus, spice hints, tidal pool and oyster shell notes, all of which are picked up by the highly complex and deep big-bodied flavors that are incredibly intense and quite unusually for Bougros, possess ‘hot knife through butter’ cut and delineation. An atypically elegant effort for the appellation.
Sardine toast. Marinated fish, pumpernickel toasts, marinated radish and parsley. These had a delightful vinegary tang to them and the various textures harmonized. Crunchy radish, smooth fish, etc.
2001 Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchère. Burghound 92. This cuts like a knife with an incredibly pure, positively crystalline minerality that defines and characterizes this wine from the nose to the powerfully long finish. Elegant, fine and understated fruit framed by the barest hint of wood spice leads to wonderfully detailed, medium weight, extremely rich flavors plus a finish that goes on and on. This is an extremely impressive effort.
2009 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard. VM 93. The 2009 Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard is the most vibrant, mineral-laced of these 2009 Chardonnays. Clean, mineral notes frame the fruit all the way through to the vibrant, pointed finish. This is a terrific effort from Rhys. Bright citrus and crushed rocks frame the finish. The 2007, which I tasted alongside it, has aged gracefully.
agavin: not a bad Cal Chard at all. Burgundian, and with some real acid.
Salmon roe and crepes. Uh, yum.
2012 Peter Michael Chardonnay La Carrière. VM 93. Hazy yellow. Powerful, seductively perfumed aromas of Meyer lemon, orange pith and pear, with an undercurrent of smoky minerals and iodine. Chewy, penetrating pear skin and bitter citrus zest flavors gain flesh with air while maintaining impressive energy and focus, with a hint of ginger emerging on the back half. Finishes pure and focused, with repeating notes of iodine and smoke.
agavin: flabby, not enough acid or backbone.
Blini with creme fraiche and Russian caviar. A classic, and for a reason.
From my cellar: 1993 Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares. Burghound 92. Earthy, deep and wonderfully fresh fruit leads to dense, solidly tannnic, beautifully delineated and focused, rich flavors of exceptional purity and length. While the finish is firm, it is by no means hard and there is excellent buffering sève all underpinned by vibrant acidity. There is plenty of wine here but this is a wine for the patient and it should live for years to come.
agavin: our bottles was killing it (very good).
Beef rolls in mushroom sauce. These delightful rolls feature soft beef inside and a heavy mushroom cream sauce. They were delicious.
1974 Ridge Lytton Springs. 90 points. Great bottle. The nose is beguiling, showing fruitcake, sweet raspberries, spice and aged tobacco. Complex, integrated and simply riveting on the palate. The raspberry fruit is sweet and abundant and supported by nice acid levels. Similar flavors as aromas with the addition of some cedar. It’s nicely integrated, long and in no danger of falling apart anytime soon. The alcohol weighs in at 13.3%. I wish a lot more Zin were made like that. A real treat to try. Solid A-.
agavin: Tired, but not bad for a 41 year old Zin.
Borscht. What would a Russian feast be without Borscht? This was an awesome one with a heavy beef stock, tender chunks of meat, rich beat, onion, flavor and a healthy blob of sour creme. I couldn’t help but notice some resemblance to the Afghan Aush soup.
Pirogies. Bun like fellows stuffed with egg and seasonings. At this point, as we EACH worked our way through one of those giant soup bowls and a couple of these buns we were beginning to feel a tad full!
Potato pancakes. It’s just feeling more and more like a Jewish holiday.
1982 Château Gloria. VM 87. Dark red. Plum, mocha, meat and leather; grew distinctly gamier and more rustic as it opened in the glass. Sweet, fat and broad, with lovely texture and palate presence. Finishes with fine tannins and persistent sweet fruit.
agavin: in good shape.
Dumplings stuffed with potato and covered in butter.
Beef Stroganoff but using the dumplings as the noodles. Awesome! Best Beef Stroganoff I’ve ever had.
2006 Saxum Syrah James Berry Vineyard Bone Rock. Parker 96-100. No wimpy wine, the 2006 Bone Rock James Berry Vineyard (76% Syrah, 18% Mourvedre, and 6% Grenache) has over 16% alcohol. It possesses phenomenal texture, stunning purity, and remarkable freshness, which, again, is attributable to the limestone soils as well as the proprietor’s brilliant hands-off winemaking philosophy. A complex perfume of roasted meats, black fruits, spring flowers, charcoal, and spice is followed by a wine of enormous richness (yet it is neither overweight nor heavy). Beautiful freshness permeates the wine’s black fruit flavors and full-bodied power and length. The finish lasts for nearly a minute. This 2006 should evolve for 12-15+ years.
agavin: over 17% alcohol probably, and as extracted as Welshes Grape Juice!
Russian pastry. Sweet heavy pastry with raisons and cherries.
Some of the ladies had enough wine and vodka and started dancing.