La Beaugravière (second time around)

Another meal at La Beaugravière to celebrate the cépes season, Chef Jullien prepared a wonderful broth of summer vegetables with cépes. It was a beautifully light, delicious dish that was a perfect prelude to his famed puffed pastry stuffed with sautéed foie gras and black truffle ... yum, yum, yum. I couldn't resist the pavé de boeuf, especially in view of the wines I was drinking. We started with a brilliant bottle of Domaine Bongran (Jean Thevenet) 1999 Mâcon- Villages Tradition. This amazingly rich, complex wine is one of the finest from this region. We then had two wines that, while fabulous, are still entirely too young, the Vieille Julienne 2000and 2001 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserves. The 2000 is slightly more accessible than its younger sibling, but these are extraordinarily concentrated wines with great minerality, fabulous black raspberry, cherry, and blackberry fruit, marvelous body and depth, and amazing finishes. Both of these cuvées emerge from a vineyard planted in 1905 on pure sandy soil. Yields range between 15-30 hectoliters per hectare, even in abundant vintages. We finished with a great, largely unknown wine, the limited bottling special cuvée from Vieux Donjon. The 1990 was, as the French would say, "à point." It was gloriously rich with loads of garrigue, licorice, Asian spice, black cherries, and cassis.

More articles from this author