Paley's Place

My favorite chef in Portland, Oregon is Vitaly Paley, who pulled out all the stops for this extraordinary meal prepared for a charitable cause. The spectacular cuisine included ravishing hors d'oeuvres. It was hard to discipline yourself even knowing what was to follow. Chef Paley's summer beet soup was superb, the roast suckling pig outrageously sublime, and the grilled squab with potato galette and morel sauce to die for.

The wines began with a remarkably youthful, tasty 1985 Dom Pérignon followed by a competent non-vintage Boizel Champagne. We then moved to a selection of wines from Cristom, including a very fine 2003 Viognier offering good minerality, medium body, and admirable elegance. It is totally different than most Viogniers from California. The Cristom 1992 Unfiltered Chardonnay was, surprisingly, alive and well. One does not think of Oregon as a bastion of high quality Chardonnay, but this offering, made by the brilliant winemaker Steve Doerner, was still singing. The Chardonnay of the evening with the Marcassin's 2000 Marcassin Vineyard, an exquisite effort that blew away the 2002 Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche.

We next moved into a flight of wonderful Pinot Noirs, including the 1996 Cristom Reserve1998 Cristom Louise Vineyard2002 Beaux Frères, and some superb Burgundies, led by the outrageously opulent, exotic, rich 2002 Richebourg from Domaine Gros Frère et Soeur. Surprisingly, the outstanding 1995 Comte de Vogüé Musigny Vieilles Vignes was still very young, and in need of 3-5 more years of aging. The fully mature 1998 Domaine Dujac Bonnes Mares is unlikely to get any better. It revealed a notion of dirty mushroom characteristics that may turn out to be a problem with additional aging.

We finished with an outstanding sweet white from Sauternes, the 1986 Lafaurie Peyraguey.

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