Christmas Dinner with The Wine Raconteur, Jr. 2022

We always look forward to our time with The Wine Raconteur, Jr. (and that is a sobriquet that he chose).  We had Christmas dinner at their house, though it was a bit touch and go, because their son became ill, and they had to check if he had the dreaded disease that you had to test, to determine if you had it, but he just had a classic bug, that has never had a cure for, so all was good.  This meal was going to be at their house, as we tend to alternate.  We tried to be gracious guests and offer food and we were told that it was all taken care off.  We started with a Triple Cream Brie with a Savory Topping, and then he also made Bacon-wrapped Dates, one of his specialties, and this year I tried them and they were quite tasty.  The evening started off with Domain Chandon Brut California NV a delightful wine, that my Bride and I had a chance to visit, years ago.  It was the first time that a French sparkling house owned a winery in Napa, a joint venture of Moet and Chandon and John Wright, back in 1973.  The fruit is from cooler regions of Napa, and including their own estate in Yountville.  It is a blend of seventy-three percent Chardonnay, twenty-six percent Pinot Noir and one percent Pinot Meunier.  The wine is made in the Methode Traditionelle and a minimum of twelve months is required to make the finished product.  The initial fermentation is done is Stainless Steel and the second fermentation is done in the bottles after riddling, it then corked and aged for at least three months before release.  The wine is a pretty straw color with tiny bubbles and offering notes of stone fruit, toast and vanilla.  On the palate a nice cream texture of fruit, vanilla and bright acidity with a touch of sweetness (how I enjoy my Brut wines) and a nice finish.    

For dinner we were treated to an excellent version of Roasted Leg of Lamb and we were joking, because I said that it really is one meat, that someone would really have to try very hard to over cook it and it was cooked to perfection with just a very simple use of spices.  His pan of Roasted Potatoes was just as outstanding, I eat potatoes, but these potatoes were truly stellar, and my Bride who never says no to potatoes was deeply in love.  And finally, the Haricot Vert were as executed as well as by any restaurant we have ever been to.  A truly special and uncomplicated meal (and he sent us home with enough leftovers that we enjoyed for a following two days). 

Well even though, he didn’t want us to bring anything for the dinner, I just had to find something interesting, while I was down selecting a nice Christmas present for him as well.  I brought to the table a bottle of Chateau L’Eglise -Clinet “La Petite Eglise” Pomerol 2000.  It is a small ten-acre estate formed in the 1950’s from parcels of Clos L’Eglise and Chateau Clinet.  Since 1983, it was owned by the late Denis Durantou and he has been singled out as the man behind the prominence and accolades bestowed upon the estate; his daughters now manage the estate.  They have some of the oldest vines in Pomerol and Merlot is about eighty-five percent of the plantings and the balance is Cabernet Franc.  While this wine is their second label, it gets the same attention as the first label and is typically aged in eighty percent new oak.  This nice deep claret with no browning offered notes of dark red fruit, cassis, mushrooms, cedar and some chocolate.  On the palate there was still tones of cherries and raspberries with elegant soft textured tannins, still excellent acidity and really a bright finish of fruit and terroir.  I would venture to say, that this wine still had some years of potential, but it was a beautiful mature wine and Merlot and Cabernet Franc were so suave with the Roasted Lamb.                

About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
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