Last Tuesday, my somewhat regular tasting group dined at Crabtree's Kittle House. The theme was 1985...bring whatever you would like...except 1985 women (although the request was made on multiple occasions throughout the evening).
First things first...the Kittle House is now an amazing food destination. The chef, Bradford, is on point.
He worked hard in preparation of this meal, and it showed.
For openers, we started with 1985 DP vs 1985 Krug, while some hors d'oeuvres came around. Even if King Angry cancelled just a few days previous, we can still drink bubbles. There was no real consensus on the bubbles, although I thoroughly enjoyed the Krug. It was definitely on the sweeter side of Champagne but worked well with the food. Tiny bubbles made it a good food wine. I think the DP may have benefitted from some more I loved it for the sweetness, Laurent disliked it for the very same reasons. The DP did benefit from some time in the glass, but who had time, when 1985 White Burgs are coming...
Another popular joke of the night was how much younger 1985 White Burgs show, than 1995 white Burgs...I just learned of this thing called Premox from Robert Parker (kidding).
First course was a Maine Lobster tail...with ricotta gnocchi. If not for 5 more courses, I may have asked for seconds. The wines were Raveneau Chablis Butteaux, Leroy Meursault Genevrieres, and 1985 Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet. Initially, it was an unfair competition, the Leflaive by 50 lengths. The Raveneau was true to form. Flinty, a bit honeyed, and very sound. The Leroy did not show well originally. It appeared a bit flabby, and out of balance. Did not care for the nose either. Most people had passed on to the reds, but a few of us were hanging onto the whites an hour later. The Leroy blossomed into a great btl of Meursault. Who would have thought to decant that wine? The Leflaive remained solid in the next hour as well. Very impressive flight.
Next up...Cali Cabs...with Crisp Sweetbreads. THe portion size of the sweetbreads should have landed me in the ER. 1985 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill vs BV Georges des Latour. A good example of provenance being important. I brought the BV, recent purchase. The DC was a purchase at time of release. BV was decent at first, then tailed off quickly. The Diamond Creek was delicious. If not for all of the Burg and BDX and Barolo to come, I might have stayed with this a while.
Red Burgs with a Squab and Fois Gras Terrine. Fascinating. Probably my least favorite food course, but just because everyone else was so damn good. The wines...Clos de Tart, Leroy Clos Vougeot, Leroy Charmes Chambertin, Jadot Bonnes Mares. Paul pointed out that this was the first vintage of Jadot BM using Clair Dau juice. I liked this flight...why wouldn't I, I love Burgs. The runaway winner for me was the Clos des Tart. The 1985 is no sham. Sensational stuff, and it improved in the glass. The BM was good initially, but faded in the glass, showing its age. The smell became a bit rubbery. Not disappointing, as it was good on the outset, but not a wine to age much longer. I did not care for the Charmes, but I did like the Leroy Clos Vougeot. This baby has a good life ahead of it, as it kept improving in all aspects. It never reached the Clos de Tart level, but it was good stuff. Jeff J, thanks for that Clos de Tart!
Our salute to Bordeaux featured a plethora of very average wines... with an 8 hour leg of lamb. 8 hours of cooking or living? I assume cooking. Haut Brion, La Mission HB, Leoville Las Cases, Pichon Lalande and Lynch Bages. The Leoville Las Cases had a richness and intensity that showed it as a world class wine. The Lynch Bages was also very tasty stuff. After that, some questionables for me...Haut Brion was well received by almost everyone. I was in the minority. This was the only wine that I could see improving with age. The LLC and Lynch will be good for a while as well, but the HB clearly needs time. The LMHB did nothing for me at all, and the Pichon Lalande did not seem to be a representative btl or the wine just stunk.
Piedmont up next, with an amazing food course...truffled tagliolini with a poached duck egg yolk, guanciale, and parmesan. My arteries are still clogged. Italian restaurants take note of this dish. We snuck in a btl of 1985 Emidio Pepe into this lineup, which appeared to have some VA issues. The Gaja Sori San Lorenzo was forgettable. Cedary and Herbacious, this wine was going nowhere fast. Scavino Bric del Fiasc was a very nice btl of Barolo. A good representation of Scavin0 and Barolo at 25 years old. THat wine would have done it, except Jeff J offered up something amazing once again...Giacosa Barbaresco San Stefan Riserva. 25 years old? age it 25 more, if you can resist it. An amazing btl, this was a clear fan favorite.
Dessert was brioche bread pudding, because we needed more starch in our diets. The wine was 1985 D'Yquem and it did not suck. Has any 25 year old Yquem ever been bad?
Special thanks to Peter J, who despesrately needs a kool nickname, for putting together another splendid evening!