Two days before Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour in New York, I had dinner with Michael Twelftree of Australia’s Two Hands Winery and Matt Mabus of Cordon Selections, a former importer of Two Hands' wines. We had a reservation at Marea, the year-old seafood restaurant of Chris Cannon and Michael White of Alto and Convivio fame.
Twelftree and Mabus had brought a few interesting wines to enjoy and we rounded it out with some selections from Marea’s list.
We started off with a fascinating Champagne, the Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Substance NV from Jacques Selosse. Made in a solera style, it bore oxidative, nutty aromas out of the gate, along with freshness and leesy accents. On the palate, it was crisp, showing straw, apple and mineral flavors, ending in a dry, chalky finish, very long and complex (92 points, non-blind).
Mabus had brought two Coche-Dury white Burgundies from his cellar, a Meursault 2002 and Meursault 1980. The elder Chardonnay had a light tawny color, with a mature, smoky, seashore bouquet, slightly oxidized. For a few minutes in the glass, it was still lively, with apple, almond and mineral notes, but faded quickly.
The ’02, on the other hand, was perhaps the best village Meursault I have had. It displayed a complex nose of lime blossom, hazelnut, vanilla, cream and a hint of the sea. The oak elements were well-integrated and quickly receded into the background as the deep smoke and mineral flavors asserted themselves. It was simply a gorgeous wine with terrific balance and length and perfect with the dish of soft-shell crabs (94 points, non-blind).
We followed the whites with a red Twelftree insisted we taste blind. The initial bouquet evoked spice, cherry, sous-bois and bacon fat and with a slight hint of a green, vegetal note, I picked it as a red Burgundy with some age, a Vosne-Romanée from 1997. It was Armand Rousseau’s Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St.-Jacques 1996. The flavors echoed red fruit and spice, plus a touch of leather, ending in a long, dry, mineral-tinged aftertaste (93 points, non-blind).
We had moved on to a course that for me has become one of Marea’s signatures: Fusilli with red wine-braised octopus and bone marrow. The Burgundy was a better match for it than the Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia 2000 that followed. A big wine, it exuded rubber, licorice and earth aromas and flavors allied to a broad, ripe profile. Its tannins were still a bit gritty and it was long, needing another five years at least (92 points, non-blind).
With our cheese and dessert, we sipped a Riesling Auslese Gold Cap Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Wehlener-Sonnenuhr 1976 from Joh. Jos. Prüm that Twelftree had picked up in New York earlier in the day. A light tawny/orange color, it exuded a honey, orange peel and slate bouquet with a rich, honeyed palate. A Riesling at its peak, it delivered fabulous harmony and length (96 points, non-blind).
Jameson Fink — Seattle, WA — May 17, 2010 6:16pm ET
Daniel Kaufman — Charlottesville Virginia — May 19, 2010 4:42pm ET
Bruce Sanderson — New York — May 24, 2010 4:03pm ET
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