Mother’s Day Dinner at Home

On Mother’s Day, my wife has the complete selection of the wines and given her adulation of Châteauneuf du Pape, particularly the once-in-a-lifetime vintage of 2007, that was what we drank. Those were preceded by our go to rosés for the summer, the Puech Haut Rosés from the Languedoc-Roussillon corridor. There are two cuvées, the less expensive offering is a blend of Grenache and Cinsault and the Tête de Bélier is 100% Mourvèdre. Obviously, the latter wine is made in a fuller, more austere, Bandol-like style. Both are glorious dry rosés that are about as good as rosé wine can be. Moreover, I like the packaging. While that does not add any points to the score, the glass closures are very attractive and effective. Additionally, they can be reused for iced tea, bottled water or whatever. We then enjoyed a selection of 2007 Châteauneuf du Papes. Some wines of this vintage are closed and primary, needing another 4-6 years of cellaring, while others are already “open for business.” The 2007 St.-Préfert Charles Giraud(60% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre) should seemingly be more closed, but it has never gone into that dull period. An extraordinary bouquet of new saddle leather, blackberries and black currants is followed by a full-bodied, opulent, gorgeously seamless wine that is pure perfection in the glass. I have consumed nearly a case of this wine and will probably drink all of it before it ever reaches full maturity, but so what? Every bottle has been stunning. A completely different expression of Châteauneuf du Pape is St.-Préfert’s 2007 August Favier, which has about 14-15% Cinsault blended with the Grenache. A slightly deeper ruby/purple color and a more floral character are found in this seemingly younger and less evolved effort. It is the floral characteristic that make this wine singular as well as compelling. It does not have the hedonistic excitement and seamless texture of the Charles Giraud, but it is a spectacular Châteauneuf du Pape that should hit its prime in 2-3 years and last for two decades. We finished with the finest wine I have ever tasted from Domaine Durieu now that the son has cleaned up this winery’s brett infested cellars, the 2007 Cuvée Lucille Avril. With the introduction of this luxury cuvée made from primarily old vine Grenache, Durieu hit a home run in 2007. From magnum, it is a silky textured effort revealing that stunning level of concentration that makes 2007 such a special vintage. There were never any heat spells in this year, but the drought and cool nights gave the wines any extraordinary level of intensity and complexity. If you can still find any of this wine, it is a fabulous deal. I bought mine from Premier Cru for around $70 a magnum, which I consider to be an outrageous bargain.

At the end of the day, the person we celebrated, my wife and the mother of my daughter, was thrilled and happy with her choices of wine as well as the excellence of my food. The 55-day dry aged Private Reserve Sirloin Strips from Brian Flannery were, as usual, unreal. If this guy is not the best and most consistent purveyor of high quality American beef, I would be interested in knowing who is.

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