My daughter requested her birthday dinner at Town Hall, one of her favorite San Francisco restaurants. I rummaged around in my wine cellar for a suitable wine and came up with a 20-year-old Washington Cabernet. Alas, when the waiter poured it at the restaurant, we all made faces. TCA taint (probably from a bad cork) had reared its ugly head.
I reached for the wine list and quickly homed in on this Casa Lapostolle Syrah 2005, offered for $72. It comes from the Chilean winery that made Wine Spectator's most recent Wine of the Year (Clos Apalta 2005, a red blend of Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot). The Syrah made an inspired match with the meat dishes we had already ordered for the Cabernet from home.
Chef Mitch Rosenthal's braised duck with Medjool dates, his peanut- and tasso-crusted pork chop and his ribeye steak with garlicky beans can pose problems for delicate wines. The Lapostolle Syrah shows a restrained style, but it offers a lovely purity of blackberry, plum and cocoa flavors on a medium-weight frame. Yummy on its own, it cozied up to the food perfectly. 91 points, non-blind.
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