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BYOB in Vegas

Posted: Nov 2, 2006 4:08pm ET

I wasn’t sure how my bottle of 2004 Petrolo Galatrona was going to survive my American Airlines flights from London to Las Vegas via Chicago yesterday. But I had to bring a bottle to my dinner last night at Lotus of Siam with some wine friends, and I couldn’t take the wine in my handbag. It was one of those BYOB invitational dinners.

I put the bottle in a Styrofoam holder and threw it into my Zero Halliburton case and hoped for the best. And it came through with flying colors. In fact, my friends loved the wine, and they are not easy to please considering the group include chef Bryan Ogden, master sommelier Kevin Vogt and directors of wine buying Stuart Roy (Caesars Palace) and Danielle Price (Wynn).

Lotus of Siam is an insider's funky and off-the-wall restaurant in Vegas. It's in a nondescript strip mall off the Las Vegas Strip. It has a good wine list with lots of German wines at reasonable prices. The owner is a wine nut too. And the food is very good. And not expensive.

Everyone seemed a little surprised that I brought a red, considering they all brought fizz and whites, including 1998 Dom Pérignon, 1988 Salon, 2001 Lucien Albrecht Riesling Alsace Grand Cru Clos Schild, 2004 Müller-Catoir Riesling Kabinett Pfalz Mussbacher Eselshaut, 2004 Schloss Schönborn Riesling Kabinett Rheingau Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg and a 1987 Hugel Riesling Alsace Vendange Tardive.

The last of that list stole the show. Ogden brought it from his cellar. It was rich and powerful with layers of fruit and fabulous petrol and pineapple character. Mind-blowing stuff. 97 points in this non-blind tasting. And this was after being up for close to 24 hours! Maybe VT helps jetlag?

Price brought a bottle of 1998 Etienne Sauzet Montrachet and it was completely oxidized. Gone. Everyone was hugely disappointed. And it made me think about all the conversations I have heard and read about Sauzet’s wines and other white Burgundies during that period suffering from oxidation. Anyone out there have any thoughts or the same experience?

Anyway, my red and a bottle of 2000 Rouget Pomerol were a nice way to end the meal. I think we were ready for some red. And I have to say that young red wines with spicy Thai food are not all that bad—maybe even better than the whites in the end (with the exception of the Hugel).

Glenn S Lucash
November 2, 2006 8:00pm ET
I have been taking some '04 pinot noir to the local Thai restaurant lately like Stephen Ross, J Wine and Mueller. They all have been great with the spicy food and the not so spicy as well. By the way James...weren't you just in Havana, SF then home via Madrid before this trek thru London to LV. All this for a dinner in a strip mall Thai joint? Actually, to have dinner with Kevin Vogt, I'd probably do the same!
Danapat Promphan
Bangkok, Thailand —  November 2, 2006 10:58pm ET
"And I have to say that young red wines with spicy Thai food are not all that bad¿maybe even better than the whites in the end (with the exception of the Hugel)."

Dear James,

I totally agree with you. I drink young red with Thai food all the times, whether it be Chainti Classico, Australian Shiraz, or Napa Cabernet.

Sam Chanhao
calgary —  November 3, 2006 3:09am ET
James,I'm glad you brought the reds.At my Thai family restuarant here in Calgary,besides Whites..we sold tons of REDS as well.I always tell my regulars drink what you like.And let the wines and the food surprise you.And I know they really enjoy it especially Shiraz / syrah/grenache base.Zins from california would go very well too,thank you!For me,I like Red from Madiran(Tannat)and a nice bottle of Champaigne with Thai..these are match in heaven!!sammy vintage.
Peter Czyryca
November 3, 2006 8:54am ET
James - how was the 98 Dom drinking? I've been waiting for the ubiquitous holiday sales to pick up some under $100, thoughts at that price?
James Suckling
 —  November 3, 2006 11:32am ET
I have had the 1998 Dom quite a few times already and I think it is drinking wonderfully. It is not as fine and complex as the 1996 but I like the appley, melon, yeasty character of the wine and the fine beading and creamy texture. 93 points. Where do you get it for $100?
Peter Czyryca
November 4, 2006 1:10pm ET
CostCo and some local wine shops in the Boston burbs. CostCo is actually $108, but you can definitely get it for $95-$99 once the holiday sales start in around a week or so. It's the only wine deal I've ever seen in Boston :)Thanks for the notes!
Peter Czyryca
November 4, 2006 1:11pm ET
Forgot to mention the state-run NH Liquor Stores all have it for $109 as well.
Hugel Et Fils
Riquewihr Alsace France —  November 11, 2006 3:41am ET
Amazing what VT's can do to you ! US fine wine drinkers should really take such wines, especially Riesling VT, more seriously and sometimes put aside the same old melatonin they have been using for years ;-)More seriously, this 1987 (an often average rated vintage) was picked in our oldest vines in the Grand Cru Schoenenbourg on Dec. 2nd 1987, our latest vintage on record. It demonstrate the great potential of riesling in Alsace especially when it comes to ageing. Thanks to Bryan for bringing this bottle. By the way, we also just joined the Blogosphere http://blog.hugel.com/en/

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