Dinner last night at Je Suis Gourmand was with my wife, my children, sis-in-law, the Doc and Mrs. Doc.
After a well-chilled bottle of the Doc's Cerdon de Bugey Caveau de Mont St. July (perfect for a summer aperitif), we proceeded to appetizers of cheese/onion tart, terrine of foie gras, roasted bone marrow and escargot bourgignonne with a bottle of my '97 Béyer Tokay Pinot Gris Comtes d'Eguisheim.
The night's highlight, though, was clearly the red, the Doc had a bottle of '94 La Mission Haut Brion breathing in a decanter when we arrived. Good thing he did too as I had mistakenly taken along a bottle of '01 Jadot Corton Charlemagne instead of the '99 Jadot Chambolle-Musigny I had really intended (I was rushing out and grabbed the wrong bottle, they look so much alike and were beside each other). We would have been without a red last night had the Doc not taken a vinous pre-emptive strike.
With our main courses:
1994 Château La Mission Haut Brion - darkly reflective deep ruby-red, the Doc asked me to guess what it was. I sniffed deeply in the decanter and in glass: mildly truffled, touches of dried herbs and sweet cedar to its dark cherry/raspberry-laced cassis and dark fruit. Before I could hazard a guess, he showed me the bottle. That was when I decided on a crispy goose leg confit for my main course. In the mouth, the wine had an elegantly lithe, silken medium-body that mirrored its nose with subtle "tarry" undertones and perfect acidity which lent it precise balance. The finish had adequate length.
I thought it was elegant, the fruit was clean, pure and honest, not over-ripe/sweet/pruney or obvious like many these days. I know it sounds trite, but this was truly classic Bordeaux - properly reserved, yet not at all stingy with its charms. Along with Angelus, this is one of the best '94s from Bordeaux I have ever had.
The Doc mentioned to me that Parker gave it a "91". I'm not surprised I liked it so much then. I've mentioned before that, when it comes to Médoc wines, my personal RP "sweet spot" seems to be in the rough range of "87-92". Wines he rates above that, I usually find a tad low on acid and obvious - lacking mystery.
I must mention that the wine was an absolutely wonderful pairing with my goose leg confit. I initially was caught between that and beef cheeks or maybe rack of lamb. The reason why I eventually chose the confit was because I figured the red wine sauce of the beef cheeks and the lamb would draw the spotlight away from the wine, while a simple, hearty, no-sauce confit would graciously allow the wine center-stage for the evening.
I figured correctly, the crisp skin and soft flesh's mild flavors allowed the wine to shine, playing with the savory , earthy cassis/herbs/tar, and the sweetish cherry/red berry notes adding enjoyable contrast and interplay. Memorable meal.