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stirring the lees with james molesworth

The Merry Band of BYOBers Meets Again

Photo by: David Yellen

Posted: Oct 2, 2007 10:02am ET

Amazingly, last weekend the only wine I had was a glass of Indaba Chenin Blanc while out for lunch on Saturday. Nancy was still away, so I had the girls all to myself for the weekend. By the time each day was over and they were in bed, I was ready for bed myself, not a glass of wine.

So when one of my merry band of BYOBers said they wanted to get together for a steak at Rothmann’s Steakhouse last night, along with a Rhône theme, I happily said, "Yes."

It wasn’t a full meeting—just myself and two regulars in addition to a newbie, who acquitted himself nicely with a bottle of 1999 Etienne Gonnet Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaine Font de Michelle Cuvée Etienne Gonnet, a silky, perfumy, raspberry ganache-filled wine that really opened nicely as it aired.

I brought a bottle of the 2004 Domaine de Ferrand Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of the stars of that vintage which is now quickly being overlooked in the rush for the ‘05s. Philippe Bravay has really put this domaine at the forefront, with a super racy, taut, licorice- and cherry-filled wine. It’s really sleek and pure, but needs a lot of time.

There were also bottles of 1999 Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Chaupin and 1999 Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes that offered a nice comparison. In general, the ‘99s are open and drinking well, but both the Janasse wines seemed to tighten up in the glass. And while the VV showed its superior length and silky texture, none of us seemed to think the premium price it commands was worth the slight qualitative difference between it and the Chaupin, which is full of raspberry and boysenberry fruit, along with a rich, loam-tinged finish.

Also at the table were bottles of the 1998 Château Cabrières Châteauneuf-du-Pape Prestige Tête de Cru and 1995 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau. The Cabrières showed its chalky austerity, though a solid core of fruit was waiting in reserve. The VT was the hands down wine of the night, with sage, juniper, roasted beef, dried plum and currant notes all wafting from the glass. It’s still loaded with grip and continues to evolve slowly. The best ‘95s remain one of the great overlooked vintages in CdP.

We washed it all down with a tasty bottle of 1999 Zind-Humbrecht Gewürztraminer Alsace Grand Cru Gueberschwihr Goldert, which was really lively despite its richness, with lemon zest, almond and blood orange flavors to go with the grape’s typical lychee and rose water notes. A great way to end the meal.

All in all, a porterhouse and a few bottles of CdP on a Monday night is a fitting reward for five days worth of Super Daddy Duty. I can live with that ...

Sussanah Nolan
Brooklyn, NY —  October 2, 2007 2:24pm ET
James: Given the way things went for the Mets this last weekend, I'm surprised it took you that long to open a few bottles of something comforting. My condolences on your loss ; (
Tom Hudson
Wilmington, Delaware —  October 3, 2007 8:55am ET
How I wish my homestate of DE allowed BYOB. I miss sharing bottles from my personal cellar with dinner guests at great restaurants.
Tom Breneman
eau claire, WI —  October 3, 2007 10:28am ET
Super Daddy Duty??? Didn't we read something about a night out with the boys,, and getting back in time to let the nannies get home??? Try 7 days, home alone with 3 boys, laundry, cooking, homework and house cleaning.? And you have time to wine and dine??? no sympathy here brother! ;-)
Kevin Lewis
Baltimore,MD —  October 5, 2007 4:05pm ET
James-Good for you! I am taking notes for when I am married(If ever)!

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