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Executive editor Thomas Matthews joined Wine Spectator in 1988. His tasting beat is Spain.
Thomas Matthews

A Jazzy White for New Orleans

Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 2007

Thomas Matthews
Posted: November 18, 2010

Sara and I recently spent a long, long weekend in New Orleans, ostensibly to attend Emeril Lagasse’s charity event, Carnivale du Vin, but fundamentally to enjoy a city we love.

One of the many highlights was Friday lunch at Galatoire’s with a big table of friends. If you’ve never been, it’s hard to explain, but believe me, it’s special.

First, Galatoire’s is an institution, open since 1905 in the same simple but elegant space on Bourbon Street. Second, it embodies all that’s best and most traditional about Creole cuisine, one of the world’s culinary glories. Finally, it welcomes and amplifies the high-style easy living that is New Orleans’ trademark culture. On Fridays, during a lunchtime that casually stretches from a little before noon until not long before sunset, it all comes together in a glorious chaos of food, drink, conversation and laughter.

I’ve been going, as often as I can, which is not nearly often enough, for about 20 years. The food has never wavered. I tend to order whatever fish is fresh—drum, redfish, lemon fish, pompano. I prefer it broiled, sauced with lemon and butter and topped with a mountain of crab.

In the past, the only disappointing aspect of Galatoire’s was the short, boring wine list. But with the arrival of Chris Ycaza as general manager in 2006 (a New Orleans native, he formerly worked at Emeril’s), the wine program has taken a huge step forward, earning a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Now you can accompany the fish with a compelling range of white Burgundies from Lafon, Coche-Dury and more. This time, we chose a 2007 Puligny-Montrachet from Domaine Leflaive (priced extremely reasonably at $165 on the list). This Chardonnay was beautiful, focused, fresh, stony and long. I rated it 92 points, non-blind. And the meal was simply perfect.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 2007 (90, $105).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated white Burgundies.

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