Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pear Tree & CdP

Over the last couple of weeks, I'd bumped into Scott and Stephanie Jaeger of The Pear Tree restaurant. I had to sheepishly agree with Stephanie when she noted that they hadn't seen us at the restaurant for some time. With Boo having a birthday coming up, I thought it was a perfect occasion to right the wrong that we had caused by not visiting them recently.

Now, I could easily make my way through a couple of different wines while dining with the Jaegers, but I knew I was getting up early in the morning to get into work. Hence, only one bottle to add to The List, but it did come highly recommended.

468. 2005 Domaine de Beaurenard Chateauneuf-du-Pape (AOC Chateauneuf-du-Pape - France)

This wasn't a winery that I was familiar with, but Boo thought that a little bit of French earthiness would match the dinner a touch more than the Barossa Shiraz we were considering. And, between dining at the restaurant and bumping into Stephanie at enough wine tastings over the years, she's gotten to know our taste well enough. Of the CdP's they had on the wine list, she thought this one would be a pleaser, particularly since it was from the banner 2005 vintage.

I think she hit the mark. We chatted wine a bit with the table next to us and they'd ordered a lovely Zin and we exchanged small glasses. The big fruit of the Zin would have been similar to the Shiraz we'd been considering and I think our Chateauneuf-du-Poof did match nicer with the food.

And, oh yeah, the food. If there's one thing I've learned about Scott's cooking, you should never turned down the pork belly if it's on the menu. The thought of matching the pork belly with a spot prawn ragout was not something that I was prepared to miss - even if they had to downsize an entree into an appetizer course. I could easily have just ordered another plate of it for my entree - it was that good.

Boo was having the two-way pork for his main and I was having the ribeye and short rib combination - not to mention the marrow-infused potatoes.

I could (and maybe should) go on about the food but this blog is supposed to be about the wine. Dme du Beaurenard has been making wine for seven generations in the Rhone. What's more is that they still use all thirteen varietals that are permitted in CdP. Granted, the wine is largely Grenache-driven (at approximately 70%), followed by Syrah and Mourvedre, but there's approximately 4% of the blend made up of the likes of Counoise, Tenet, Muscardin and Vaccarese. I don't think I've ever heard of any of the last ones - let alone be able to tell you anything about their most notable contributions.

The winery points out that the winery is family-owned and that all of their grapes are hand-picked and sorted . We also didn't know this at the time we ordered the wine, but it's been well-received by the wine press. Turns out we might have opened the bottle a bit early in its life though - Wine Spectator has said that, while lovely in its still youthful state, this wine could last for another 15 years.

By the time, those 15 years went by though, Boo and I might be too old to actually still enjoy - or be able to put away - a full bottle of wine over dinner. In the mean time, it was a wonderful night out and I swear we'll be back to The Pear Tree much sooner next time around.

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