Saturday, April 22, 2006

2000 Bordeaux Dinner at the Biltmore Room (Chelsea)

It’s not often that I get a chance to taste wines that I would never ever be able to afford under my current financial state.

That’s why when I found out about a 2000 Bordeaux dinner at the Biltmore Room in Chelsea , I jumped at the chance. Reason number one was the price. It was $165 per person which is significantly less that the typical $300+ dinners I’ve seen elsewhere. Reason number two was this list of wines they were pouring, They included Latour, Haut Brion, Ausone, Valandraud, Lafite, and Mouton. The Ausone along is selling for around $700 a bottle and the rest aren’t that far behind.

However, some things are too good to be true.

We were also looking forward to having dinner at the Biltmore Room which received three stars from the New York Times when it was reviewed in 2003 by
William Grimes. The meal did not disappoint. The décor of the restaurant was amazing as they incorporated gilded arches, marble, and the revolving door from the original Biltmore Hotel which was demolished in 1981. The space itself is worth the visit alone.

Our 5 course dinner did not disappoint. The first course was Sashimi of Fluke and Green Almonds followed by Holland White Asperagas. These as appetizers were fantastic. The Asperagas along was so fresh that I was amazed they were able to find vegetables of that quality in March. Our “pre-entre” was a Marjoram Scented Grilled Quail which which was good enough that for me the dinner could have ended there. However, ending the meal was Algerian Spiced Roast of Rack Lamb which aside from being on the the best cuts of meat I’ve had, was also cooked to perfection. It was rare but the meat itself was so tender, I probably could have eated it raw. Finishing off everything was a soft cheese, Brillat Savarin which was paired with the last two wines of the evening.

The wines…. Well…. They were fantiastic overall but not the ones advertised. For one, missing where the Haut Brion, Latour, AND Ausone! The very wines I was probably looking forward to the most. Because of that, it certainly felt like false advertising.

However, the wines we did have were nothing to sneeze at. They included the white Laville Haut Brion, Valandraud, Angelus and the promised Lafite and Mouton Rothschild.

The Wines

The 2000 Laville Haut Brion was fantastic. This Sémillon is very stylish and full bodied with an oaky nose, minerality, and melon. This was really different from any other Bordeaux based white that I’ve ever had. Fantastic.

The 2000 Valandraud was the one wine during the dinner I was just a little disappointed in. However, it’s all a matter of context. Had I drank this wine on its own, I probably would have loved it but up against the likes of Lafite and Mouton, its flaws where exposed. The wine was tannic and you could tell it needed a little bit of bottle age. However, this wine was so tannic with a very oaky nose that it was hard to tell if the black fruit underneath would emerge with time. It definitely needs more time to develop as all these reds did.

The 2000 Angelus was fantastic and the most accessible of all the wines tasted. It was very dark garnet in color with notes of crème de casis. Very full bosied and rich with an incredibly long finish. This is the bottle I would feel ok about opening now.

The big boys of the tasting were the 2000 Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild.

The 2000 Lafite was pure elegance and austerity. It was dark garnet in color with notes of minterality/graphite on the nose all intermingles with black fruit, currant, and tobacco. An amazingly long finish. Very flavorful right now but there’s a big tannic quality to this wine right now. It’ll last forever.

The 2000 Mouton Rothshild….. I would step out on a limb and say this is one of the best wines I’ve ever tasted. This wine was surprisingly soft, velvety and elegant for a still young wine with loads of black currant and coffee notes. It’s dense and is another wine that will probably last forever. For example, some suggest that it needs at least 24 hours of decanting and even that might not be enough. Very very long finish.

Overall, these wines were great and I relished the opportunity to taste them. Still, I feel a bit jipped that the Latour, Ausone, and Haut Brion were not represented and if I do this again, I would call ahead of time to confirm the wines.

No comments: