Louis/Dressner Wine Dinner at Poole's Diner, Raleigh - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 08-31-2010

I engaged in conversation and didn't do justice to the wine notes but will offer what I did write down. Ashley Christensen is the owner/chef of Poole's Diner. She opened the restaurant three years ago in a former diner in downtown Raleigh after making a name for herself as chef at Enoteca Vin. She was featured in "Bon Appetit" in an article about "Women Chefs: The Next Generation." The food was wonderful and incorporated lots of local ingredients--corn, tomatoes, okra, etc. I sat next to three people connected with Louis/Dressner--the local distributor, Damon Haynes, of Centerba Selections based in Durham, Shawn Mead, the former sommelier at Campagne Restaurant in Seattle, and her friend Nathan who has experience harvesting grapes in Italy. Apparently the "tour" goes on to Charlotte because I saw a link for a tasting at the Wine Shop at Foxcroft (or at least the Louis/Dressner wines arrive Sept. 3rd. Not sure if Shawn and Damon are also in attendance.)

We were greeted with a FRANCOIS PINON VOUVRAY BRUT Non Dose' (no dosage of sugar added.) I asked if it was non-vintage and Shawn said yes but actually the grapes were from one vintage but then she and her cohorts weren't sure if they were harvested in 2006 or 2008. Pale coloring. Tiny mousse mostly along the side of the flutes, not in the middle. Steady stream of mousse. Focused acidic bite--slightly citric (grapefruit). From Chenin Blanc grapes.

Shawn told us a little background on the wines Louis/Dressner imports--originally only France but now some from Italy as well. "Real" wines with minimal intervention. Hand-harvested and use ambient or native yeasts.

With a tomato and Vidalia onion emulsion over pink-eyed peas, diced cucumber, sweet corn, more diced Vidalia onion, etc. we enjoyed a 1999 PIERRE LUNEAU-PAPIN MUSCADET Sevre et Maine sur Lie. Listed as 13% alcohol. Surprisingly young and vibrant tasting for a 11-year old Muscadet and convinced me why some people like Muscadet with a bit of age to it. It tasted very fresh but also had a minor note that probably came from maturity. Surprisingly long finish. Slightly chewy. One bottle was slightly off so they poured from another. The wine was available for purchase at $39. At the end of the evening we got a taste of the Pierre Luneau-Papin "Clos des Allees" Muscadet (2007 vintage?)

The next dish was crispy fried chicken thigh which had been brined and buttermilk-soaked over tomato/okra and a mild rooster sauce. People were commenting that they don't know how Ashley fries chicken but they would like to have the knack. No grease but a crunchy crispness and great flavor. Tender meat. Our accompanying wine was FRANCK PEILLOT ALTESSE ROUSETTE de BUGEY MONTAGNIEU 2008. Maybe my first Altesse and I hope not the last. Shawn said the planting area is very limited as growers turn to Chardonnay and other better known grape varieties. This white wine had a lifted note and a delicate floral touch of white flowers (Alpine flowers Shawn suggested.)

I got behind in my notes describing the next dish but it involved a complicated method in which the Berkshire pork shoulder was allowed to dry out as it cooked (not braised or brined) and then liquid was reintroduced as a glaze and caramelized with the meat soaking up the liquid because of its dry state. Ihe pork was served over corn, sweet peppers, lima beans, etc. The meal was fall-apart tender.The wine was 2008 ARIANNA OCCHIPINI SP68 NERO d'AVILA and FRAPPATO from Sicily. Arianna is a young winemaker and SP68 is the road the vineyards abut. I loved the nose on this red wine which is said to be best when consumed in its youth. Deep garnet or ruby color with some transparency. Ripe berry fragrances and flavors. I thought this would be a hit at a church fundraiser and bought some at $27.

Our final official wine of the evening was the 2005 CLOS ROUGEARD SAUMUR CHAMPAGNY. It was served with Piedmontese beef tenderloin over fisotto with porcini mushrooms and wine jus. I am used to Saumur as a white wine from Chenin Blanc but this was the red wine from Cabernet Franc and is reputed to be a benchmark example of a Cabernet Franc--world class. i could see the quality of it, but it just isn't one of the grape varieties that really resonates with me. Very dark color and powerful aromatics and flavor. 100% Cabernet Franc. In France considered a cult wine and limited export to the USA. The gentleman sitting across from me is a huge fan of this wine. I got hints of raspberries and blackberries--more a berry liqueur on the nose. When they offered the "Clos des Allees" Muscadet I needed a glass to taste it in and poured the small bit of Clos Rougeard still in my glass into the remains of the Occhipinti wine to the consternation of Nathan. As I told him, I hadn't intended to finish the glass anyway as I had to drive back to Fayetteville. This wine was on sale that evening at $69 a bottle.

Dessert was a choclate-flavored flan or custard.

Poole's Diner is normally closed on Mondays so the wine dinner had the place to ourselves around one long table. One young lady participating has some musical theater background and was persuaded to sing a number for us. She had a powerhouse of a voice and starred as Maria in a community production of "Westside Story."

- TheEngineer - 09-01-2010

GREAT writing as always WOW. I imagined myself in the room with you tasting and even thought about what the old gentlemen who like the Clos Rougeard looked like (

I've never had an old muscadet but now can imagine that it has the structure to last a few years. 11 is higher than I would have thought though, though it is Papin.

I am a Big fan of Clos Rougeard wines meself! They are difficult to get and 05 is a very very good year...of which I was only able to track down locally about 1 case mixed (they have two levels higher than the "case" Clos Rougeard. Le Bourg is the toughest to find and I never even saw the dust trail that was left after their $135+ a bottle. I've not popped open any 05's yet but have had the 02, 03 and 04 now. Fans of Clos Rougeard will tell you that they are most impressive in poor vintages and I will admit to loving the 02 the most, even though technically the 03 and 04 are better wines. The 02 had this haunting, graceful, fleetingness about it that I will never forget.

- winoweenie - 09-01-2010

Great notes as usual WOW. The food sounds like an evening with "Ectasy" and naturally I had to change my wet shirt after salivating on the wines descriptions. Just about ready to throw my tongue back into the ring. The liver and kidneys have lowered their red flag down to 3/4 mast. WW

- Kcwhippet - 09-01-2010

Jane, Are you going to the Pinehursty Food & Wine Festival? I just heard from Randy Caporoso that he'll be there. He was complaining that he had to get up at 3 am to catch a flight down there.

- wondersofwine - 09-07-2010

KC, I was there for 1 1/2 days (all day Saturday, and Sunday for the Champagne Brunch) but wasn't able to attend Randy's seminars or meet him. I attended seminars on Washington State AVAs (put on by Hogue), on high-altitude Argentinian wines (put on by Catena) and a seminar/tasting with Ancien Pinot Noirs (from California AVAs). The lunch Saturday featured a white and a red wine from Chile and I attended a gala dinner Saturday night with Country Vintner wines (four different distributors hosted wine dinners.) There was also a walk-around tasting Saturday before the gala dinners. Sunday after the Champagne brunch, I went to the Wine Mart set up in one room of the Carolina Hotel and picked up four bottles of wine (the Hogue appeared to be sold out as well as a Michel Chapoutier Banyuls and a couple Catena Malbecs I wanted to purchase--or the distributor may have packed up early to leave on Sunday.) I left my notes in the car so will report on the seminars tomorrow.

[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 09-07-2010).]

- VouvrayHead - 09-07-2010

I'm so jealous...
I love that importer, and they don't even distribute in my darn state. I used to drive across the river to Illinois, but much harder to do from here in the middle...
Great notes!