Lafite Rothchild and Bertram Bloch.
We were happy and surprised when Bert Bloch, my music teacher from Elementary School and Junior High School, well, Middle School, called up to say he and his wife, Sharon, were going to be in the neighborhood. Sharon was at SUNY Stony Brook when I was there during my undergraduate and graduate years. We met, Bert, Sharon and me, one evening at a party in one of the dorms in Stony Brook. I had dragged my good friend Donna Lombardi along to this party and who was there but Bert Bloch. What a blast from the past.
Sharon, Bert, Kim, Mark.
It was great to get together with my old mentor. Bert was responsible for my love of wine and all things enological. He's also the reason I became an oenophile.
Bert and Sharon came over after they dropped Emma, their youngest daughter off at New Paltz. Kim cooked a wonderful meal and I pulled out the wine stops, as it were.
Bert and I went down into the cellar and chose two fabulous wines, a lovely Meursault, a 1er cru white Burgundy from Marquis d'Angerville, 1995, and a terrific first growth Bordeaux, Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, 1995 as well. I was not worried about the Meursault at all, it was most probably ready but I was worried about the Lafite. I was wondering if it might be drinking. Sharon had never had a Lafite and I was curious about whether it was ready for wholesale drinking.
We started the evening with the white and some hard sausage and Roquefort. It was a marvelous pairing but I couldn't help think that I would have preferred having the cheese after dinner with an Yquem. We then switched to my Petite Saison d'Été and my peat smoked porter that I had made. The beers went well with the vinegary spinach salad with candied walnuts. I had decanted the Meursault and it was very tasty indeed.
When the main dish came along, sort of like a Chicken Française, but not as lemony, I uncorked the Lafite, forgot to decant it and had to run upstairs to get our Bordeaux wine glasses. Kim and I used to have all Riedel, Grand Cru, the big ones, wine glasses. But all we had left was a hodgepodge of glasses. I gave the one Riedel Bordeaux glass to Bert and the second best glass to Sharon. Kim and I had the other two. I wound up only decanting about a quarter of the bottle. Next time, I think I should decant the wine from the get go. In any case, it was beautiful.
Bert said, during the dinner that the bouquet of the wine said France to him. I thought the wine was lovely, very feminine but also very closed. It opened and changed throughout the evening. It had a slight vegetal nose, almost celery, but was pure silk on the finish with enough acid to refresh the palate. Delicious with a hint of tobacco, just a hint, and perhaps rose. I'll have to try a glass in about ten years, maybe twenty. It was that closed.
We had a great time talking about the "old days" and what was happening now. Kim and I enjoyed the evening. It was great for me to see my music teacher and to find out what he had been doing with himself. What more can one ask for? Great company, great food and wonderful wines.
Oh, and of course we talked about art. Bert's family was/is dedicated art collectors. We showed them our collection and talked about our two art school. This part of the evening was an eye opener for me. I hadn't even realized that Bert was interested in art, forget about collecting. There was more to Bert than just the cello. I originally started out playing the cello in third grade and later, in forth grade, switched to bass when the head of the orchestra said that he needed a bass player. I later came to regret my decision and went back to playing the cello and taking lessons. I always blamed the switch on Bert but as it turned out, he had yet come to the elementary school until a year after my horrible decision. Sorry Bert. There's more to people than we suspect.
For instance, one of the stories Bert shared was one time, when he was coming back from Europe with his father on a ship, he put notes in a bottle and corked them, taped them up and threw them overboard. Some were found and he heard from one young man and started writing to his new pen pal. In the end, it turned out that the boy didn't find the bottle but his younger sister but at that time, it was unseemly for a young man to be writing to a young teenage girl. So, her brother kept the correspondence and wrote what she told him to write. The great part was that one day, Bert, the bottle boy, met up with the brother and the sister.
They stayed the night and left the next day. Too bad that they couldn't have stayed another night. It would have been great to spend another day with Sharon and le garçon bouteille célèbres.
Oh, unfortunately, out camera lost the pictures that I had taken of each course. Sorry. I had to retake all the wine bottle pictures as well.
Next up, my adventures in cider.