Repertoire Restaurant, Hotel Seiyo Ginza, Tokyo, Japan

Repertoire is a European restaurant in the Hotel Seiyo Ginza, which was my base of operations in Tokyo during my week of tastings, symposiums, lectures, etc. The Japanese chef, who was trained in France, did a fabulous job as this meal could have easily qualified for two stars in the Michelin Guide. All the courses were brilliant. With over one-hundred guests, it was amazing that it could all be done at this level of quality. My favorites included the extraordinary Salad of Taraba Crab, and the Waygu Filet of Beef with shallot dressing.

As for the wines, we began with a superb 1990 Bollinger RD Champagne, which was as good as advertised. There was a surprisingly strong performance by Mouton-Rothschild's white wine, the 2000 Aile d'Argent. That was followed by a young, incredibly impressive, but extremely backward 2001 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc. The relatively mature 1986 Pichon Lalandeexhibited a wonderful fragrance of cedar, tobacco, dried herbs, black cherries, and currants, but it revealed a slightly austere edge. This vintage is taking forever to age. Although the wines do not display any signs of cracking up, they still exhibit noticeable amounts of tannin. I expected the 1995 Mouton Rothschild to be completely closed, but it was revealing pleasant smoky black currant fruit along with medium to full body, outstanding depth and purity, and firm, nicely integrated tannin. It worked well with a delicious lamb dish. We were all blown away by a double magnum (hard to believe given this wine's limited production) of the 2000 Domaine de Pégaü Cuvée da Capo. During the question and answer session that followed the dinner, it was amazing how many people said they could not believe a Châteauneuf du Pape could be so great and complex. It again demonstrated that consumers have pigeon-holed Châteauneuf du Pape as some overly alcoholic wine from the south of France, when in fact, the great ones are elegant, beautifully balanced, and as complex as any red wine in the world. Although decidedly youthful, this 2000 proved that time and time again. It was unquestionably the wine of the night. It was a pleasure to see so many Japanese wine consumers go ga-ga over it.

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