In honor of the fabulous Cat who won a James Beard this week, I am reposting this story from 2009. Well deserved, not if we can get Juliette Pope up there next year, all will be good.
One of the sad truths of writing is the big cut. In this case, my words outran space and as a result some praises I set out to sing in my current piece on sommelier's I love in Saveur, never were heard. In the prologue I originally genuflected to Gramercy Tavern's Juliette Pope. Likewise, Cat Silirie of the Barbara Lynch group ended up on the cutting floor. It's not because Saveur isn't as enthusiastic about either women's talent as I am, it is just because that's the way publishing rolls. Here's the Cat snippet that never saw the light of ink.
Cat Silirie Wine Director BL Gruppa With dad out of surgery, my brother and I were in need of some taking care as well. So, we headed to #9 Park, hungry for Barbara Lynch's simple, spectacular food. While I rarely opt for the sommelier to surprise me, (I am always disappointed!) there was just something about Cat Silirie that when she suggested she pair with our courses, I easily surrendered, Go for it, I said. This was back in 1999 and, off duty, I took no notes I remember something shocking and delicious such as riesling and a raviolo. This mastery of vinous synergy alone, would be reason enough to sing Cat's praises but, let me play the woman card. Cat Silirie was one of the first femmes to crash the wine glass ceiling of sommeliers in Boston. Emigrating from S. Florida (What a wine wasteland in the 80’s, she said.) to Beantown, she begged herself into job at the fancy steak house, Grill 23. There she became educated in Bordeaux and cult cabs (not her favorites). She found her true wine voice when she forged a Thelma and Louise team with chef Lynch. 15 + year later, she spins her magic at all of the Barbara Lynch Gruppo restaurants, also winning a reputation for her terrific staff training, called Wine Words, held every day at staff meeting. So much so that when the other day she got a call from a kid in San Francisco wanting to enroll in her wine school she had to break the news to him that she's a restaurant.
I'm still recovering from this weekend's wine extravaganza founded by Daniel Johness for those besotted with Burgundy.
While others in town for the event started drinking on Thursday night with the various private La Paulée parties, I didn't get down to it until Saturday with Becky Wasserman's seminar and then later at the walk -around tasting. Where I saw one of my favorite winemakers, Claude de Nicolay.
That's Claude at the Domaine in Savigny, when I visited in 2007.
She showed her 2006's and I found them brillaint. She is in her 3rd year of biodynamics. There is a heavy percentage of stems which give the wines an exotic spice and a touch of funk that I find riveting. They were vital, elegance and grip and without the take no prisoners approach to concentration that was so easy to find in this tasting. But a sip of the Ile des Veregelesses blanc or rouge, charm, provoke and tease. In my mind, the reds thumbed their nose (politely) at all the other reds in the room. But wait! Something peculiar is happening, I'm tasting metal in everything. I thought it was a flower day but perhaps it's a metal day? Are there metal days? It's not unpleasant but it is a shock.