Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


This evening the Sommelier Guild returns once again to the Chops Lobster Bar. It’s time for the annual banquet, typically a monument to wretched winey excess.

My attendance at the Guild’s banquets has been hit-or-miss, given that June is usually our Traveling Season. But we’re back from our big summer trip now, and I suppose one more tying-on of the Feed-Bag won’t make too much of a difference in the grand scheme of things.

There will be a host of excellent wines, along with a few of my favorite proteins to accompany them on their voyage down my gullet. Here for your delectation is the evening’s List of Provender:

NV Collon Champagne Brut**

First Flight
2012 Domaine des Valanges Mâcon-Prissé “Le Clos” - Mâcon, Burgundy, France**
2009 Pegasus Bay Chardonnay - Waipara Valley, Canterbury, New Zealand
Lump crab cakes, mustard butter sauce

Second Flight
2000 Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Vallée du Rhône, France*
2007 Xavier Vins Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Anonyme - Vallée du Rhône, France**
Lamb rib chop, Brussels sprout leaves and mushrooms

Third Flight
2009 Anderson’s Conn Valley Right Bank - Napa County, California***
2007 Chalk Hill Estate Red - Sonoma County, California**
2007 Joseph Phelps Insignia - Napa Valley, California**
Filet mignon with two sauces, creamed spinach, organic mushrooms
(First half of filet served with sauce Béarnaise)

Fourth Flight
1998 D’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz - McLaren Vale, Australia**
2005 Bernard Faurie Hermitage - Rhône, Hermitage, France***
(Second half of filet served with sauce au poivre)

2003 Bretz Bechtolsheimer Petersberg Eiswein - Bereich Nierstein, Rheinhessen, Germany**
2005 Heyden Oppenheimer Sackträger Beerenauslese - Bereich Nierstein, Rheinhessen, Germany*** (Half of the tables will receive the eiswein and the other half the beerenauslese)
Chef’s Surprise Dessert (Bread Pudding or Orange Crême Brulée)

1995 Turley Aida Vineyard Zinfandel*****
2004 Andrew Will Sheridan Vineyard Red Wine**
2011 Redoma Douro*
2011 Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes - Morceaux***
2010 Rhys Anderson Valley Bearwallow Vineyard Pinot Noir****
2007 El Olivar Malbec Viu Manent Single Vineyard
1993 Langtry Meritage**
2007 Weingut Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben**

So far I have never been disappointed with the food at Chops Lobster Bar, and this dinner was no exception. Only later did it strike me that the one thing missing from the menu was any form of starch... and that was fine with me. No drab, dreary potatoes or pasta to get in the way of the perfectly seared lamb chop, the à point beef filet. The sides, consisting of tiny Brussels sprouts and sautéed mushrooms, were just the right counterpoint to the rich proteins. And the wines? With one exception - the unfortunate 2009 Pegasus Bay Chardonnay, which had a strange, dense flavor - the wines were anywhere from good to excellent. And if twelve wines on the menu were not enough, there were plenty of other bottles being passed around.

Gotta try to make these banquets more often... this one rocked!

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