My second list this year was for the Indo-Chinese restaurant, I-Chin in the unlikely UN neighborhood, (247 E. 50th St. , New York, NY 10022 nr. Second Ave. 212-223-4959),owned by Sienam (front of the house) and her husband, Vik (chef).
Sienam has a fabulous palate and it was a delight to taste with her. One of the most fun reactions I’ve ever had in showing wines to people was her immediate smile upon tasting the Clos Roche Blanche gamay.
I had lots of freedom to do my thing with the list, except for:
1) I had to put the Grover cabernet/shiraz on the list, an Indian wine and also made by Michel Rolland (my first Rolland wine. I never thought this would happen to me.)
2) I had to use Wildman, as they were the importer.
3) She also wanted me to use Lauber, another portfolio that doesn’t have a great quantity of terrific wines. And, I had to put a few domestic wines on the list as well.
For me the big hurdle was how to work within those parameters and still look at myself without shame when I brushed my teeth in the morning?
My salesperson from Wildman was quite the challenge. She was a pretty girl, saddled with the name of a famous French cheese. I am not gung-ho on a lot of the Wildman offerings and really scraped to find something I wanted for my precious list. Then, a miracle happened. I saw the Genot-Boulanger Savigny at a great price, in fact, it was a close-out which means they were pricing it to move. Intrigued, I asked to taste it along with a few others I was considering.
The day came. She unplugged the wine and tasted it before I did. She made a face and moved to swipe the bottle off the table.
"No," I said, physically stopping her.
Then I tasted it.
"This is fantastic!" I said.
She thought I was nuts. But the wine, later that night, just had gotten more beautiful.
The wine, a mature village burgundy, had so much zip and no fruit. It was all mineral, just the way I like them and perfect for so many of the I-Chin dishes. Even better, I could offer it at $28 a bottle, a fantastic bargain.
I feel similarly about Lauber and I was fishing around for enough wines to justify buying from them. One huge discovery was the Pierre Andr Chateauneuf. I was later, saddened to hear Lauber dropped the pretty wine. Sad. Sad. Sad. Big mistake for the wine world. I can't figure it out why they would drop something so delicious. I have a feeling no once 'scored' it.
In my score however, it's a wonderful. If you go, try it, it’s delicious.
I hear that the Grover is one of the most popular wines (against the Texier? Are those drinkers nuts?)---go figure.
* Pinon Petillant Brut
* Bollinger Cuvee Special
* 05 Ch. Pepiere Muscadet: Loire Valley, France
* ‘04 Boulay Sancerre Chavignol, Loire Valley, France
*’04 Domaine du Closel; Savennieres La Jalousie, Loire Valley, France
*’ 05 Ocone Fallanghina: Campania, Italy $
*‘05 Muri Gries Muller Thurgau, Alto Adige, Italy
*’05 Cazin Cheverny, Loire Valley, France
*'04 Hubert Lamy St. Aubin Blanc En Remilly 1er Cru, Burgundy, France
*’98 Genot-Boulanger Savigny-Les Beaune, Burgundy, France
*’05 Dom Wachau Terrassen gruner veltliner, Austria
*04 Deiss Riesling, Alsace , France
*’02 Breuer Nonenberg , Rüdesheim, Germany
*’04 Frankland Estate Rocky Gully Dry Riesling, Australia
*’04 Navarro Vineyards Gewurtztraminer, Mendocino, California
* 03 Olga Raffault Popliniere: Loire Valley, France $36
*’02 Calera Pinot Noir: Central Coast, California
*’03 Grgich Hills, Zinfandel: Napa Valley, California
*'04 La Stoppa Barbera dela Stoppa: Emilia Romagna, Italy
*’00 Ch. Moulin Pey-Labrie Canon-Fronsac: Bordeaux, France $68
'04 Domaine Vincent Paris St. Joseph; Rhone, France
*’03 Mascarello Nebbiolo ; Piemonte, Italy $45.
*'04 Domaine Louis-Claude Desvignes Morgon Javernires; Beaujolais, France $40
*‘01 Domaine Pierre Andr Chateauneuf du Pape: Rhone, France $69
*'03 Vina Real 2003 crianza: Rioja, Spain
* ‘04 Texier Cote de Rhone: Rhone, France
* ’99 Fattoria di Rodano chiant riserva Viacosta; Tuscany, Italy
* ’03 Grover Vineyards , shiraz/cab India,
* ‘05 Eric Texier O Pale, late harvest viognier, Rhone, France