The Alexandre Rochette Rhone Collection
The start of the New Year is always the perfect excuse to do something grand. In our typical fashion, we put together a winemaker's dinner for the ages at Washington DC's Le Paradou to show off winemaker Greg Viennois' epic 2005s from the Rhone. His decadent trio of Cote-Rotie, Hermitage, and Chateauneuf-du-Pape left our normally rowdy crew speechless (quite a feat I might add), only wishing the wines could somehow get a decade of bottle age through the course of the meal, just to show off where they're headed. Chef Yannick Cam orchestrated an incredible five-course meal around the wines, using his innovative cooking style that has made Le Paradou one of DC's top French restaurants since opening in 2004.
What's not to love about the Rhone right now? The wines and its producers are on a roll; a great string of vintages unbroken since 1998. Any of these recent years would have easily been the vintage of the decade from the 70's or 80's. Ok, so you needed scuba gear to harvest Chateauneuf-du-Pape in 2002 but that's the lone blemish. These 2005s bring out the richness of the top 1998s with the complexity and freshness of the great 2004s. Certainly not a bad combo.
A wine from a great vintage still needs a great winemaker and Greg Viennois has no peer in the Rhone. Greg cut his teeth in Bordeaux working with Stephane Derenoncourt but has since made a name for himself, crafting fabulous Rhones from every one of its significant appellations. This Alexandre Rochette project shows his skills perfectly; these 2005s are heavenly fruited with all the terroir accents that make these three regions the best in the Rhone. Concentrated, fresh, and complex, all the marks of a Greg Viennois wine. Brilliant today, it will be such a treat to age these wines and see them evolve.
Below are the wines from the night
and the menu especially created to accompany them:
The 2005 Alexandre Rochette Collection
Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cote-Rotie, and Hermitage
Carpaccio of Smoked Salmon with Crème Fraiche, Coriander, and Caviar Osetra
Duck Foie Gras with Carmelized Quince and Pomegranate
Roasted Maine Lobster with Blood Orange and 'Sauternes' wine sauce
Pan roasted Turbot with Sea Scallops, Ink Raviolis with cream of Lobster
Quail stuffed with Porcini and Pistachio, Chestnut Gnocchis, wild Girolles Mushrooms