Friday, July 26, 2013

Dinner w/ Apple @ Champêtre.

Apple is currently in town, so, last night, Thursday the 25th July 2013, Catha & I took the opportunity to catch up with her. Since she just came from a long trip to Spain, we figured she'd fancy French cuisine for a change, so I booked us at old favorite, Champêtre.

Our starters were the indulgently rich, silken Terrine of Goose Foie Gras with Blueberry Compote & Brioche - definitely a must-have (and we always do have it).

One of the night's specials was French Chanterelles, Duck Foie Gras w/ Puff Pastry. It was absolutely delicious - an ingenuous blend of earthy, luxurious rusticity.

Naturally, I also had to have a couple of orders of Marc's signature Escargots à la Bourguignonne, without which no visit to Champêtre is complete.

For dinner, I brought along a white and a red from Burgundy. To pair with the above-mentioned starters was a bottle of 2001 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles - Puligny-Montrachet AOC's Les Pucelles premier cru lieu-dit is bounded to the south by grands crus Bâtard Montrachet and Bienvenues Bâtard Montrachet, and, by fellow premiers crus Clavaillon (to the north), Le Cailleret (to the west), and Les Meix and La Rue aux Vaches (to the east).

Its wines, I've found, are generally more masculine, more rigid in structure and less "pillowy" and buttery than those of Chassagne-Montrachet 1er crus. Many consider Les Pucelles one of the top vineyards of Puligny-Montrachet, on par with Folatières and Combettes. Domaine Leflaive (not to be confused with the wines of Olivier Leflaive) is widely considered one of the area's top producers.

After some time to breathe and warm up in glass (approximately an hour), the 2001 Leflaive Les Pucelles displayed a captivating bouquet of white flowers, slightly honeyed and truffle-touched ripe pear and apple, with a suggestion of nuttiness. These scents were mirrored on the palate with an added subtle lemon-drop note which made its presence known more past mid-mouth and towards the back, and discreet white minerality. Admirable backbone, very polished, very elegant. Loved it. I definitely need to buy more of this for both ageing and current enjoyment.

For the mains, a bottle of 1992 Domaine Faiveley Grand Cru Latricières-Chambertin (a wedding year wine for Catha & I) - this was a much better bottle than the one I opened last month at Impressions, in that it held well and showed no signs of falling apart after 45 minutes or so. Sous bois and wistfully nostalgic Burgundy decay are present in the ripe, virtually preserved/dried black cherry and dark raspberry notes. There are underlying suggestions of ceps as well. Notably more volume, body and push than most other Latricières-Chambertins I've had. Cerise sauvage emerges towards the back and continues through the finish.

This is a good wine, and should continue to improve for some years more (though I'd not plan more than 6-8 for the time being). With the previous bottle I opened, I didn't plan to buy more of it. Now I do. My main course was the ab0ve depicted Grilled Lamb Chops, while Catha & Apple opted to share the large Dry-Aged USDA Black Angus Rib-Eye.

Dessert was a couple of orders of off-the-menu Dark Chocolate-Grand Marnier Soufflés, which were superb as always.

Catha & Apple
Some espressos and a coffee after, we were far from done enjoying each other's company, so we moved to The Blind Pig for a nightcap and more stories. Fun night, and great to catch up with Apple - we never run out of juicy and animated stories to share. Hopefully, Rocky can join us during her next trip to Manila. In any event, until the next!


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