Charity Dinner for the Colorado Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

  • Robert M. Parker, Jr.

  • 01 Jul 2005 | Events

In the idyllic village of Beaver Creek, Colorado, where we have a wonderful ski-in and ski-out residence, my wife and I hosted a charity event with the above wines and food. To my great honor and pleasure, friend and one of the country's great French chefs, Luc Meyer catered the meal at our home, remaining for the entire evening ... well above and beyond the call of duty. As anyone who has ever dined at Meyer's Left Bank restaurant knows, for three decades it has been a bastion of classic, traditional French cuisine, the way it was a century ago. There is no razzle-dazzle ... everything is made from scratch from superb raw ingredients prepared impeccably with fabulous flavors and balance in every dish. Meyer has the good fortune to work in Colorado, where the United States' finest lamb is widely available.

As for the wines, we began with two mature Champagnes, both showing youth and vigor. I had a slight preference for the 1990 La Grande Dame, but the 1985 Salon Le Mesnil is a brilliant example of a twenty-year old, 100% Chardonnay, non-malolactic Champagne that continues to age effortlessly.

We then moved to Flight One. For the third time, the 2002 Drouhin Montrachet failed to deliver the goods, convincing me this is not a great vintage for this cuvée. The most interesting offering in the flight was the 1990 Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne. It started off as oxidized and tired, but with air, it developed gorgeously. After thirty minutes, it was one of the finest wines of the evening. All of the California Chardonnays acquitted themselves well, including the wonderfully delicate, Burgundian-styled 2003 Talley Vineyards Rosemary's Vineyard, the brilliant 1990 Marcassin Three Sisters Vineyard, and Kongsgaard's idiosyncratic but gorgeously opulent, rich, alive 2002 Chardonnay.

Flight Two was dedicated to Pinot Noir. We began with the 1996 Claude Dugat Gevrey Chambertin Lavaux St. Jacques, which seems to be hitting its stride. While not yet fully mature, it is beautifully-scented, spicy and earthy, with loads of fruit and richness. The 1997 Bernard Dugat-Py Mazis Chambertin was somewhat disjointed and awkward when first opened, but several hours later, it was the wine of the flight. A spectacularly dense ruby/purple-colored effort, it possesses amazing concentration for a Pinot Noir, but it is not over the top, overripe, or out of bounds. It's a beauty! The other wines also performed well, but the Mazis Chambertin was the star of the flight.

Flight Three was a great performance by some of California's top wines, including he tight, young, but promising 1995 Maya (which must have at least two decades of life remaining), the brilliant 1996 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select (also with 20 years of life left), the extraordinary 1991 Seavey Cabernet Sauvignon, which seems to go from strength to strength, revealing no signs of morbidity, and one of the great vintages of Beringer's Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve, the 1991. We finished the flight with two young and promising behemoths, the 2002 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and the extraordinary 2002 Peter Michael Les Pavots. Interestingly, Chef Luc Meyer, who is dedicated to French wines, chose Les Pavots as his favorite wine of the flight. When I told him the winemaker was a Frenchman from Champagne, he smiled and said,

"I should have known."

The last flight was Syrahs from Australia and California, including an adolescent 1988 Penfolds Grange Hermitage. Although outstanding, it is not one of this renowned estate's great vintages. The 1994 Turley Petite Syrah Aida Vineyard was still youthful, just beginning to reveal some secondary nuances. It will last another 20 years. The youthfulness of the 1996 Ojai Vineyard Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard suggested a wine that will age for many years, but I am not sure it will get any better. It is still intact as well as loaded. The 2002 Sine Qua Non Just For The Love Of It and 2002 Pax Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard The Terraces were both spectacular. The magnificent SQN cuvée boasts extraordinary floral characteristics intermingled with blackberries, cassis, and hints of licorice as well as wood. It is opulent and full-bodied, but if my instincts are correct, it is just beginning to close down in the mouth. Wow! What a great example of Syrah. The Pax The Terraces offering, from a cool Mendocino site, also showed extremely well, but it did not have quite the nuances of the SQN.

We ended the evening with one of my favorite dessert wines, the beautiful 100% Chenin Blanc 1995 Huet Vouvray Cuvée Constance. It was paired with an extraordinary warm apricot tart from Chef Luc Meyer, resulting in one of those marriages of wine and food that will be indelibly imprinted on my mind forever.

Thank you Luc Meyer, one of the purest and greatest guardians of traditional French cuisine, not just in the United States, but in the world. Thanks also to the generous contributors of the Cystric Fibrosis Foundation of Colorado.

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