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loving lynch-bages

I love these Phenomenal Femmes wine dinners I go to a few times a year. Run by sommelier Marika Vida, she brings women winemakers and winery owners to Auden, the restaurant she works at in the Ritz, for them to walk us through their wines paired with a few different courses. Such a treat to hear from these women themselves about each of the wines as we taste them, and last week we got to hang out with Kinou Cazes Hachemian, whose family has owned Chateau Lynch Bages since the 1930s. She lives in New York but travels to the winery often and serves as an ambassador for the wines all over the world. Cool job.fullsizerender

Since Lynch-Bages is in the Pauillac appellation of Bordeaux (same hood as Mouton Rothschild), they’re mostly known for their red blends. So I was pretty surprised when the white was one of my mindblowers of the night! fullsizerender_3The Blanc de Lynch Bages was just gorgeous grapefruit and lemon peel – so tangy and still very elegant. It was down the same road as a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but while those tend to get get really overpowering this one was silky and lovely. The 2015 is 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 33% Semillon and 17% Muscadelle (which gives it lots of those tropical notes) and they don’t make a lot of it. You could go deep on flavor layers here – but sometimes you just tell your brain to shut up and really enjoy a wine.

They served it with the amuse-bouche of hamachi crudo with grapefruit caviar (the chef later gave us a ridiculously impressive explanation of how he makes that, so cool) and the pairing was perfection. Total wine moment. I wanted to pace myself because I knew we had four courses ahead involving lots of wines that were sure to be awesome, but I had to get another half-glass. The poor waiter thought I was a full stalker and he was super polite and amused to wait for me to take my photo with the bottle. My job is rough, grapefriends!  img_2559

When we sat down, we had the Blanc with a prawn and toasted almond gazpacho. This was more of a counter-balance pairing where the acid of the wine helped cut through the nutty liquid. Counter pairings are often more recommended but damn, sometimes you just have to go with the matchy-matchy because that amuse-bouche pairing was sublime. fullsizerender_1

So obviously, killer start to the night. We then went to their Echo de Lynch-Bages, which is made from their youngest vines and specific plots in the vineyard to create an “echo” of the wine they’re known for. The 2012 is 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc and was very lush for a young Bordeaux which made it great with the duck. At less than $50, it’s a great way to be able to afford a nice Bordeaux.

Next up was the money course: deconstructed prime rib with a 2008 and 2000 Lynch-Bages. It’s always just crazy to me that a 17-year-old wine can still taste so young, but both were delicious. With meat like prime rib, sometimes it’s actually nice to have bold, younger 2008 to hold up to it. As we all described the 2008, it was rustic and had a lot going on, just like a young boy. The 2000 had similar blackberry flavors, but was more velvety and calm. fullsizerender_2

So you may notice a third wine in the above pic. Well, this couple who came to the dinner was a huge fan of Lynch-Bages and brought a 1985 bottle from their cellar to share with Kinou! Benefit of sitting next to her: I got a taste. I mean, these are the wines I live for. Black pepper. Leather. Complex. To me, these wines are like drinking an old leather-bound great book. If you can find them, the older Lynch-Bages will run you about 200-250 bucks.

I didn’t drink much of the ’85 with the prime rib because it was just best to drink on its own. I saved most of it for after the dinner and then also had some with the cheese course. fullsizerender-2

They served the cheese with Ormes de Pez, which is mostly Cab so it has a lot of backbone and structure. Someone said they were surprised they served a red with cheese – nooooo. Definitely try a red with your cheese course, especially if it’s like an aged gouda or cheddar or something. Cheese is strong and pungent, so it can be nice to try a red with it.

Great dinner! And as always, part of the proceeds from the Phenomenal Femmes dinners goes to the Women’s Shelter at Crossroads Community Services at St. Bart’s Church in NYC.

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