I admit to having been a little apprehensive to try Bar Boulud, the latest outpost of chef Daniel Boulud's New York restaurant company. I am among those in the apparently distinct minority to have had less-than-stellar experiences at his flagship restaurant Daniel. But being an Upper West Side denizen, it was just a matter of time before I stopped in for a slice of paté and a glass of wine. That first experience merited a return for a full meal.
For lunch one day, Nancy and I ordered a bottle of Chave's négociant St.-Joseph bottling, a 100 percent Syrah from one of the Northern's Rhone's most overlooked spots. St.-Joseph includes both plateau and hillside vineyards, with the quality between these spots varying greatly. Chave focuses on hillside parcels, where low-yielding granite sites produce Syrah of finesse, with lilting violet and mineral notes.
The wine, from the classic 2005 vintage, was an ideal match with a perfectly tender and thickly sliced roasted chicken breast, served with button mushrooms, carrots and fingerling potatoes. The aromatic sauce and super succulent chicken melded perfectly with the Syrah, which was fresh, juicy, open-knit and full of vibrant, pure minerality. Though it had the structure of the muscular 2005 vintage, it was totally accessible. At $60 on the list, it offered solid value, comparatively. I gave it 90 points, non-blind.