Friday, December 27, 2013

There's A Place (Nov. 25, 2013)


The Secret Place Restaurant is a project by chef Uri Levy, inspired by 'underground' Manhattan jazz shows, whose location is revealed to the audience by SMS a few hours before curtain time. Similarly, the Secret Place is a wandering restaurant with an ever changing locale. I actually didn't even know I was going there. A Gevrey tasting put together by Daniel Lifshitz fell through and he suggested we hang out at Tshernichovsky 6, a small Tel Aviv bistro, without mentioning it was taken over for the evening by the Secret Place.

It was a fun evening, meeting Uri, catching up with friends, meeting a couple of Facebook friends I'd never met in person, in addition to enjoying the dinner (I would donate a kidney for some the sea fare, arguably even my own!) and the wines below - since it was a night out with Daniel, we stuck to Bourgogne.

Expect the unexpected in Burgundy. The first time I ever tasted a white Boillot, I was sure it was one of the lesser lights of Burgundy. It created such a bad impression that it ruined Boillot for me for life, even though the second encounter knocked me out. Louis Carillon, on the other hand, is such a revered name that, looking at the labels, I was sure I knew who my favorite would be.

Well, the underdog won.

Domaine Henri Boillot, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru, Les Embrazees, 2009

What a lovely nose, a little honeyed, with flint and dry grass and dem apples. Elegant without the four-squareness we usually find in Chassagne, and oak is only obvious, not intrusive. Tasty stuff.

Domaine Louis Carillon, Puligny-Montrachet  Premier Cru, Les Champs Canet, 2007

An elegant wave of minerals promise a salinity the palate doesn't deliver. I know Carillon is the classic name, but this wine, at this stage, just doesn't work for me. In all fairness, I think it spent too much time in the cooler - or else not enough time resting after a very recent flight.

De Montille, Volnay Premier Cru, Les Taillpieds, 2002

This is very complete and strikes a balance between power and finesse, such that it manages to show enough intensity to push the envelope of elegance without rupturing it. A complex nose, very deep, red fruit and minerals with a generous helping of garrigue. The palate is arguably even better and it is a true pleasure to drink such a classic wine at this point in its plateau of maturity.

Domaine de Courcel, Pommard Premier Cru, Grand Clos des Epenots, 1999

A classic name, this requires more time to approach the younger Montille's state of drinkability. Darker than the Volnay, although not necessarily blacker, with a touch of flower, it is also more monolithic and backward. The potential is there, as this is meaty without being coarse, framed by fine tannins.

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