Rochat - Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville, Crissier, Switzerland

The brilliant Philippe Rochat turned out another superb meal that continued to persuade me that this guy is one of Europe's great three-star chefs. All of his dishes possess extraordinarily intense flavors and demonstrate wonderful creativity, yet the flavors mesh together beautifully. While somewhat of a peasant dish, in the hands of Rochat, the stuffed pigs feet with black truffles is a marvelous dish that competes with the finest rendition I have ever tasted of this offering, the stuffed pigs feet from renowned French chef Joël Robuchon.

The wines all performed well, beginning with the extraordinary 1996 Dom Pérignon champagne, perhaps the greatest vintage yet produced of this cuvée. The 1989 Bonneau de Martray Corton-Charlemagne was still youthful, restrained, elegant, fresh, and lively. It was hard to believe its age of 16 years. The three red Bordeaux all performed brilliantly, with the 1995 Cos d'Estournel, from magnum, revealing a dense ruby/purple color along with loads of licorice-infused blackberry and currant fruit as well as hints of cedar and earth. 1995 has been a slow to evolve vintage for many Bordeaux, but this wine was singing nicely, even though it has barely approached adolescence. We then had two excellent 1998s, both of which represented relatively good value St.-Emilions. The 1998 Barde-Haut exhibited sweet, concentrated, creamy black cherry and currant fruit with notions of cedar and spice box in the background. The 1998 Monbousquet was a decadent, flashy, flamboyant offering with more body, concentration, and fragrance than the more restrained Barde-Haut. Both wines are quite young, and promise to drink well for 10-15 more years.

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