Years ago, just after The Wine Raconteur and his Bride, Ms. Yoga frequented The Earle; one of our favorite haunts, especially if we are in Ann Arbor. She wanted to go there with us, and of course, how could we say no? This occurred back in December and I have so many articles that are on backlog, all I have to do is write them, when I am not working around the house, or being the Domestic Goddess for my Bride, as part of our division of labor, I do the laundry and then I have a hot and steamy day with Ms. Rowenta. I digressed again.
The Earle is in the basement of an office business in downtown Ann Arbor and opened up in 1977 as a Jazz Club with a light fare of sandwiches, soups and omelets. In 1979, it had a casual club environment and finally to the romantic European Bistro that it now is. To this day there is still live music five nights a week. Now Ms. Yoga is a nosher, she likes appetizers and small plates compared to big plates of food. While she was noshing, we started noshing as well, first with Roasted Garlic, then we split the Panzanella salad of cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, basil capers and anchovies with Tuscan-style hard bread. We shared a bottle of Domaine Alain Chavy Bourgogne Chardonnay 2018. The Domaine is a leading Burgundy house with its cellar in Puligny-Montrachet in the Cote de Beaune and is known for elegant wines and only with Chardonnay grapes. It was formed when Alain and his brother decided to split their father’s estate Domaine Gerard Chavy. Alain Chavy’s holding of six and half hectares of Premier Crus, Grand Cru, lieu-dit vineyards, and some Bourgogne Blanc vineyards. He is a firm believer in low-intervention, the fruit is hand harvested, Initial Fermentation begins in the barrel for extra depth and intensity, with minimal lees stirring and Malolactic Fermentation begins later, basically due to the cool subterranean cellars of the domaine. Bottling is staggered and allowed to age according the status of the vineyards. This wine was a very pretty soft-golden color with notes of lemon, grapefruit and citrus with some spices. On the palate the tree fruit was front and center showcasing tones of apples and peaches with creamy sensations and a nice finish of chalk and minerals (the terroir). For a basic Bourgogne Blanc wine, it delivered extremely well, well above its class.
For our entrées, Ms. Yoga went with the Salmon in Puff Pastry with Dijon Mustard and a Mushroom Duxelles in tarragon-cream sauce. My Bride and I shared an order of our favorite Coquilles St. Jacques al crème de Xeres, or Sea Scallops sautéed with mushrooms and garlic, pan-sauced with Sherry and cream with rice. For dessert we shared an order of Crème Brulee with three spoons. We were fine with our wine with dinner, but there is never a shortage of wines to select at The Earle with over twelve-hundred different wines to select from and international in scope. They have had the Best of Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator magazine for thirty-five years in a row and still counting. While the ladies were more interested in the dessert, I went for a more liquid form in the way of Chateau Bastor-Lamontagne “Les Charmes de Bastor-Lamontagne” Sauternes 2018. The estate is in Preignac, in the heart of the Sauternes region, with three centuries of history and one of three properties with an Organic certification. The estate has staying power because of the product, as it was not part of the 1855 Classification of Sauternes and Barsac and has changed hands a couple of times in the last hundred years. The estate is forty-six hectares planted with Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle on land that is sand, limestone, gravel and clay; with vines averaging about thirty-seven years of age. The wine is aged for about fifteen months in French Oak, of which twenty percent is new. The wine had a very pretty gold color for a young wine with notes of lemon curd, honeysuckle, almond and vanilla. On the palate notes of apricot and apple with nice acidity and balance with a very crisp finish with some terroir. I think the ladies liked the wine over the dessert.