Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cafe Pro Bono with Bernard Morey Batard-Montrachet

Not easy for us to go out these days. Rona is mostly preoccupied with baby activities and plans - Evan is now 2.5 and can say "wine" in three languages! I am swamped at Tango.

But even she couldn't resist the allure of a Batard-Montrachet white Burgundy. Cafe Pro Bono on California Av. in Palo Alto provided a comfortable setting for the grand cru. The 2006 from Bernard Morey showed great depth, rich beeswax color, intense flavor of ripe fruits and minerals with echos of honey, vanilla and cream, and solid (though not searing, fitting the 2006 vintage) acidity. 2006 was the last vintage under the Bernard Morey label, following which this solid domain was divided between his two sons Vincent and Thomas. No rush to drink my other bottle - it should easily last for another 5-7 years. The grilled prawns and lobster ravioli dishes paired beautifully with it. Even the two orders of beef carpaccio that she devoured by herself benefited from the company of this regal Chardonnay. The food was mostly Italian, with few straddlers from other Mediterranean countries, on the traditional side, and very satisfying. $15 corkage. We'll be back.

Monday, August 19, 2013

At Manresa with Erwan Faiveley

Erwan Faiveley and Iron Chevsky
From left to right: Rona, Clinton, Iron Chevsky and Erwan Faiveley

Great dinner with Erwan Faiveley last night. My wine buddy Clinton organized an intimate get-together at Manresa, and Rona and I jumped on the opportunity to get to know Erwan, whom previously I had only met briefly at a couple of super-hectic La Paulee events. Despite being the head of one of the oldest and most important (since 1825) Burgundian franchises - Domaine Faiveley, which makes 70 or so different bottlings from some of the most sought after appellations in Burgundy, and a chairman of a number of other family businesses in France, Erwan, just 34, with MBA from Columbia, turned out to be totally easy-going, cool guy. The couple of Grand Cru's that he hand-delivered from France were a rare treat.

The 2007 Chambertin Clos de Beze (really the first vintage that Erwan took full control of the domaine) was suave, elegant, plush, without hard edges, with great balance of fruit and acidity, a haunting melange of fruits, and a distant hint of smoke, very drinkable (that's the 2007 vintage for you) and very delicious now, though still probably 3-5 years from its prime, as both the aromatics and the flavors seemed about 50% developed. Having now tasted several of Faiveley's 2007's over the past 2-3 years, including a few different Grand Cru's, I think the domaine out-performed in 2007 with a number of substantial wines in the year otherwise marred by thin, light, and acidic reds. The 1999 Latriciers-Chambertin, on the other hand, was a power-house wine, with plenty of dense inky fruit, a bit of austerity, perceptibly gritty (almost Barolo-like) tannins, intensely lustrous garnet color, not to be messed with for another 5-10 years. A beautiful beast, reflecting the stuffing of the 1999 vintage, and the style of Erwan's father more than Erwan.

The kaleidoscopic seasonal menu from chef David Kinch was a perfect complement to the majectic wines. What a night!

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