Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Grateful Employer

I've helped many wine businesses with their wine programs, either through increased sales, better educated staff, buying strategies or just general wine program structuring and nurturing. In general this has just gotten me a thank you and sometimes an actual fee. But sometimes an employer really gets it and treats his employees like the assets they are. For the last four and five years, Paul the owner of Hamptons Wine Shoppe in Westhampton, has taken his staff to a Tunbleweed Tuesday night of dining and wining at Starr Boggs Restaurant. The wines come predominantly from purchase that he has done throughout the years, some I've helped with sourcing, others not at all. I usually bring something from my collection and he has contributed a wine or two from a collection that he and I purchased from a friends restaurant cellar years ago. Some highlights have been a old Forman Cabernet Sauvignon, old Louis Carillon Puligny, Dalle Valle, Guigal, Ducru-Beaucaillou, some really wonderful diverse collections of wines with a bit of age.

Last night was the 2012 version of the Tuesday after Labor Day. A day that the restaurants and retailers of the Hamptons (and other summer resorts) celebrate and breath a sigh of relief that all the businesses made once again. Even though I am not as involved in Pauls business, I got this years invite and then the discussion about the wines to be brought.

We started with a 2003 Château Smith Haut-Lafitte Blanc, yes a bit of an off-vintage for whites of Graves or Pessac-Leognan, but you never know. It was minerally with nice aromatics, but a touch flat due to the heat of that vintages growing season. Worked well with the slices of chard tuna, but flailed against the raw clam and other seafood. Best match was actually the salad and tomatoes which brought their own acidity to the palate.

Next we moved on to a 1997 Domaine Rougeot Meursault Charmes, this was a wine that also had a questionable vintage but  nice pedigree and a surprise each time we opened one over the years. We've had good versions of this, bad versions and great ones. This particular one was better than good but just a bit shy of the awesome ones that we've seen over the years. Hint of minerals, hint of nutty maturity, lovely balanced acidity and nice length. Worked beautifully with most of the foods.

On to the reds... first up was a 1995 Dalla Valle Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was just as expected, bold Cabernet fruits a touch of oak still lingering un-resolved and spice and leather mingling in.

This was followed by what I considered the wine of the evening, 1996 La Moulin Côte-Rôtie from M. Guigal. Last year or the year before we had the big brother of this wine the La Turque

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