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Lameloise revisited

October 9, 2015

20150927_202640After having barely digested an excellent late lunch (with Yannick Champ in Pommard) on 27 September 2015, we drove down south to Chagny for dinner at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Lameloise, located within the hotel of the same name, where it was very good to be welcome by the same familiar faces that I had met during my first visit in June last year. A long table for 13 pax had been set for us in its private dining room where we were joined by M. Jean-Paul Dumond of Joseph Drouhin as well as the true pere et fil team of M. Pierre-Henry Gagey and his son Thibault Gagey, owners of Louis Jadot. The venerated chef Eric Pras had prepared a generous four-course meal (a relative bargain at EUR190, considering this is dinner) and all we had to do was to select some wines from the extensive carte de vin to go with it. KG did the honours with minimum fuss and, before we knew it, we were tasting the Henri Giraud Fut De Chene Ay Grand Cru (2007 disgorgement), highly complex on the nose, suggesting great depth with characters of toast, charcoal ember, yeast and sweet citrus with a mild attractive pungency, generously proportioned and balanced without being too dry. Pierre-Henri Gagey of Louis JadotA very sophisticated champagne and an excellent start.

The first course of foie gras de canard et perche was paired with a 2007 Coche-Dury Meursault, the second such wine we had from the same producer within the same day (a 2009 was drunk during lunch). Coche-Dury always carries a hefty premium but, after having experienced it, one begins to understand what the fuss is about. Lifted aromas of almonds with overtones of honey and a trace of rock melons hinted at excellent depth of fruit, living up to its promise with delicate but intense citrus on the palate, enhanced immeasurably by the crisp acidity that cut effortlessly through the texture of the foie gras. 20150927_231336I’ve never been truly enthusiastic about Meursault but I’m now a convert, provided it can be as good as a Coche-Dury. A superb effort.

Then an interesting event occurred. A 1998 Louis Jadot Criots-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru was served to go with the dorade grise et cazette du Morvan. The wine was clearly evolved with an unusual bouquet of magnolia and apricot, just a tad leaden, hinting at aged citrus, though still pretty robust on the palate, intense with cutting acidity. From the corner of my eye, I caught sight of Pierre-Henry raising an eyebrow with a muted frown. After a brief but animated conversation between himself and the sommelier in French, a second bottle of the same wine was immediately produced and popped. It turned out that Pierre-Henry had felt the wine to be a little corked, and he was absolutely right!! The new bottle was cleaner on the nose and richer and creamier on the palate, topped with a caramelised note and finishing with a ferric trace. There were many experienced palates at the table but none of us had an inkling that the first bottle was amiss. This proved a couple of things: Pierre-Henry really knows his own wines and you cannot fool the winemaker; it really helps to drink in the presence of the winemaker.

A couple of reds were paired with the restaurant’s signature pigeonneau. The 1996 Comte de Vogue Chambolle-Musigny 1er was an absolute beauty, displaying a deep ruby with an abundance of rose fragrance, still imbued with wonderful acidity, freshness, intensity and depth on the palate, easily one of the best wines I’ve had on this trip. 20150927_213244Quite outstanding, and will hold for many more years. In contrast, the 2008 Emmanuel Rouget Vosne-Romanee Cros Parantoux 1er, a relative rarity, carried a slightly forward balance of intense red fruits and cherries on the nose, somewhat lean initially, becoming more weighty later but still dominated by vanilla and wood. The potential is immense, but wasted this evening. A 1994 Ch D’Yquem was served to round off the evening, a wine that always sailed Jean-Paul’s boat, displaying a powerful bouquet of honey and apricot and sweet medicinal notes on the palate, luscious with decent acidity. We were all properly hammered at the end of the long evening but this will go down as another memorable evening unlikely to be forgotten.

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