We had to skip another week at The Usual Suspects, so we made up for it with a big dinner at our house. We ended up having a sort of Virtual Basque Dinner. Lucy made a Gigot d'Ageau Basquaise, from a recipe out of a Patricia Wells cookbook, with lots of garlic, smokey red pepper, and mustard. Margo made a squash-and-porcini bisque. Elaine brought a wild Savagnin, and Karl and Bryan and I tried to make ourselves useful; me by opening an M. Maillart Brut NV, which was very nice, but didn't really live up to the "just like Bollinger" hype.
Here we go:
Philippe Bouzereau, Meursault 1er Cru, 'Genevriéres' 1999:
Sort of a miracle to me that this was still in good shape: It still has its red markdown sticker from Marty's, where I bought it, probably in 2003. The nose was expressive for a Genevriéres, with apple, honeysuckle, and hazelnut notes. In the mouth, the fruit was vivid, without a trace of flabbiness. The finish was rich with minerals. It accompanied Margo's bisque of winter squash and porcini cream beautifully.
Domaine de Montbourgeau Savagnin L'Etoile 2002:
L'Etoile is a tiny appellation in the Jura, where the savagnin grape is fermented and aged like sherry. Elaine brought this bottle, and it was even brinier and nuttier than the '92 Château-Chalon we'd enjoyed last summer. Elaine proposed drinking it with the leg of lamb, which Lucy had made in the Basque style, with just a hint of smokey pepper. Some of us thought the briny character of the wine stood up well to the big flavors of the lamb, but when the chef called for a glass of red, we were ready for her…
Château Montus Madiran 2001:
Alain Brumont had a falling out with his father in 1980, and bought this property in Maumusson so he could make 100% Tannat wines the way he wanted to. He has long since patched things up with his family, and now Montus is more of a second label to Château Bouscassé. We didn't decant, and we probably should have--the wine was still young with some vigorous tannins at the finish. Even so, it was a great match with the lamb, being almost a Basque wine anyway, and showing much more polish than an Irouleguy, for example. The elegance of this otherwise big, burly wine may be attributable to Brumont's love affair with wood. He is said to be meticulous in his use of barrels, and I can believe it.
Lucy had scattered jellybeans across the dining room table (She started doing this a year or so ago, I forget why) and a certain amount of hilarity ensued at dinner's end, as we observed Bryan, the Gummi Bears fiend, scooping up all the Jelly Bellys he could reach...