My birthday was last week, and some friends and I got together for a low-key dinner at one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants, a little Vietnamese place called Cyclo. It’s one of the best pho spots in the area and serves a modern spin on fresh Vietnamese staples and specialties. Besides the wonderful food, it’s a BYOB restaurant with no corkage fee.
Along with five others, my friend Greg would be joining us for the evening. Now, you know I love wine, and I like to think I know a fair amount about it. But Greg is next-level. He’s a wine collector who studies wine — its history, origins, soil types and growing conditions, along with its strict traditions and optimum pairings. He’s a true connoisseur. So I was pretty excited when Greg said, “Hey, I’ll bring the wine!”
Joh. Jos. Prüm 2015 Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett – $30
We started the evening by opening a classic Riesling with a lemony-honey, white flower and mineral nose: A Joh. Jos. Prüm 2015 Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett, which had just the slightest hint of sweetness. For centuries the Prüm family has called the village of Wehlen in Germany home. We paired this delicious Riesling with garlic green beans and chilled spring rolls stuffed with fresh vegetables.
One reviewer described it as “shimmering white gold, it treads a fine line between classically elegant and zany. With acidity impeccably balanced, this is very refined, with a protracted, perfumed finish.” I couldn’t agree more.
Bouchard Peré et Fils
2007 Meursault Genevriéres Premier Cru – $120
We moved on to a dish of grilled shrimp and egg over broken rice and crispy lemongrass chicken, and paired it with a 2007 Meursault Genevriéres Premier Cru. The winery, Bouchard Peré et Fils, can trace its origins back to 1731, making it one of the oldest wine estates in Burgundy, France.
The Wine Advocate described this white wine made from Chardonnay grapes as “evincing village-typical toasted almond, hazelnut, and grain as it takes on air. Polished and creamy, with succulent suggestions of peach and orange, nuanced in perfume and spice, and hauntingly persistent.” That’s a mouthful, but the wine was beautiful – not oaky like an American Chardonnay, nor tart like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, both of which we’ve become robotic in drinking these days. This white burgundy had depth and was memorable.
Château Branaire 2009 Branaire-Ducru $110
Next up we ordered a spicy beef dish that was perfectly paired with a French Bordeaux. Château Branaire is a winery in the Bordeaux region of France and has a history that goes all the way back to 1680.
Château Branaire is also the name of the main red wine produced by this property. The 2009 Branaire-Ducru is a blend of 70 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 22 percent Merlot. It was a treat to enjoy this full-bodied red that has everything you could want from a top-flight Bordeaux. Chateau Branaire Ducru is best served with meat dishes that are roasted, braised, stewed or grilled. It’s also good with Asian food, hearty seafood or fish like tuna, mushrooms, pasta, and cheese.
It was a night I’ll not soon forget. Great friends, food and wine, savored over laughter and interesting conversation. That’s what life is all about.
Liz Shabaker is the CEO of Versant Capital Management, Inc. Her understanding of a broad wealth picture is important to our clients. Liz’s reach goes beyond the financial arena into multiple not-for-profit organizations where she serves to help abused and homeless children, along with other commitments that impact our community.