February 27th 2012
A while ago, I was invited to a friend’s house for a Sunday Lasagna late lunch…(which ended up being an amazing feast and Quintarelli Al Zero 1997 added another layer of gorgeousness!)…so I offered to organise a payback risotto night. I have been working on recipes for quite some time now. It took place last night…and what a night!
The night began quietly as usual with a great Prosecco. The host had prepared some Antipasti as a starter: Peperonata, (peppers cooked with tomato and onion and served cold- it’s a classic dish from southern Italy where pepper grows everywhere), salad with arugula, figs and mushroom glazed with balsamic and topped with thyme and roasted garlic…classic starters! The host however had an even bigger surprise than this amazing kick off. He had on the side some Hermitage “La Chapelle” 1990 and 1995 opened and ready to be drunk… well, I will keep the comments for later even though there is a lot to say about those two wines.
So, we tried the 1990 first and curiosity and excitement filled the room as this wine is legendary for Rhone Valley collectors- Robert Parker gives it a perfect 100/100 and mentioned this wine should be drinking from 2005 to 2050. However, when you taste the wine after 1.5 hours of decanting, you quickly realise that the drinkability is closer to 2050 than 2005! It would easily last another 20 years effortlessly… Beauty!
Then came the risottos. The first one was scallops, roasted tiger prawn, clams and mussels in a risotto cooked in fish stock with fresh tomatoes and chopped basil. Usually, this cannot go wrong. It paired well with Puligny Montrachet Louis Carillon 2008. It was a superb example of Chardonnay with great complexity on the nose with typical notes of acacia and a bit of tropical fruit with great elegance and acidity… the wine makes you want to drink more!
The second risotto was a little more conservative with button mushrooms, porcinis, chanterelles and portobellos cooked in a lamb stock and topped with… a grilled Lamb chop on the top! It was paired with Hermitage La Chapelle Jaboulet 1995… yummy! An abundance of red fruits came out of the glass; cinnamon, dates, dry raisins on the nose; strawberry jam and a solid structure in the mouth. It is a wine just starting to open to its full potential and will drink for another “few” years!
We went back to the 1990 La Chapelle after the main course so the wine could breathe longer. It turned out the wine did not move an inch from our initial tasting. Backward and austere, with a subtle nose of white pepper, the mouth was extremely tight with aromas of flint, gun powder and concentrated black fruits… it was a monster of a wine. I have sent an outlook reminder for 2032 so we could try a second bottle!
Dessert came…. (I know, we were so full!)… lemon soufflé with lemon curd at the bottom of the ramequin. It was really well made and the flavours were so aromatic! It is apparently an old recipe from an English household. It was served with a sweet wine from Ch. Mondoyen Monbazillac 2005 named “ainsi soit-il”… a great wine again! It was not overly sweet as some Sauternes can be sometimes at the end of dinner but it had great density. It was pale gold in colour with an intense nose full of candied citrus, grapefruit, lychee, honey and apricot. It had great minerality on the palate that lifted all the aromas and had a very pleasant finish.
Well, thank you for this succulent dinner and wonderful company!
Let’s do it again…..