Went to a Jewish wedding in Brussels over the weekend. I felt like an actor in Wedding Crashers! From the moment the bride and groom arrived at the reception from the synagogue, it was a non-stop party. As soon as they arrived at the ballroom of the Conrad Hotel, they were hoisted above the crowd on chairs and paraded around the room with everyone dancing and clapping to music. The party only ended at about 4 a.m.
What was also amazing was the quality of the food and wine. The chef was one of the best in Brussels, Yves Mattagne of the Sea Grill. Everything from a carpaccio of tuna to roasted sea bass with an herb crust was fresh, delicate and refined – and for 260 people! The wines were 2004 Domaine de la Genillotte Chablis, 2001 Domaine Jean Grivot Nuits-St.-Georges Les Lavières, and 2000 Badia a Coltibuono Vin Santo del Chianti. Non-vintage Champers from Billecart-Salmon was free-flowing.
The red Burgundy was clearly the best wine with the various fish dishes. It was ready to drink, with delicate strawberry, tobacco and cedar aromas and flavors. Medium body, with fresh acidity. Delicate finish. It was the delicacy and the sweet fruit that made the wine work so well with the fish. The young Chablis by comparison was a little too harsh, with a tangy acidity.
What’s your experience with 2001 red Burgundies at the moment? Are they ready to drink like the Grivot? Do you find the vintage a minefield?
As a side note, the wines all came from Jacques Thienpont, the Belgian wine merchant who also owns Bordeaux’s Château Le Pin. Belgium has a long tradition of buying fine Burgundy and aging it for decades in cool cellars. Thienpont was at the dinner at my table and said that he had invited the groom to taste various wines at his house a few weeks before the wedding to make a selection for the party. “That’s what a traditional wine merchant does in Belgium,” he said.
If only all wine merchants were so generous!