Friday, December 17, 2010

Terry Theise Dinner at Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston

Grower Champagne advocate and importer Terry Thiese moved to Boston recently and a group descended on Island Creek Oyster Bar in the Hotel Commonwealth, in the shadow of Fenway Park, for a shellfish extravaganza. There was some beef, too, as folks brought some middle-age Bordeaux and Barolo, in addition to our embarrassment of bubbly riches.

Here is the Champagne lineup, which frankly, was all I was focused on:
  • NV Varnier Fanniere BdB
  • NV Gaston Chiquet BdB
  • NV Billiot Cuvee Laetitia (actually a solera)
  • 2001 Vilmart Coeur de Cuvee
  • 2002 Goutourbe Special Club
  • 2002 Pierre Peters Chetillons
  • 2002 Chartogne-Taillet Fiacre
  • 2003 Pierre Peters BdB
  • 2004 Gimonnet Fleurons BdB

I've actually been fortunate enough to try all of these wines before but tasting them alongside each other was a revelation for how distinct they were, and was another argument in favor of "terroir."

Sniffing the Varnier Fanniere was a great example, it clearly showed off it's pencil lead aromas associated with the vines in Avize.

The 02 Pierre Peters Chetillons was such a complete wine even in its youth, it and the 01 Vilmart Coeur de Cuvee stole the show. The latter wine is almost beyond description and is certainly a singular wine.

Amazingly these wines are always fairly priced when compared to their large-house brethren. At a recent single-blind tasting, the 02 Gourtourbe Special Club (approx. $70) dusted some heavyweights, such as 1996 Krug (approx. $250+) and 1996 Dom Perignon ($260+), with its rich flavors.

Some argue that there aren't enough aged examples to judge how they might taste years from now. There could be a point there.

But even so, if a wine tastes incredible in its youth - is that pleasure any less or diminished versus one that has a couple of decades of age and drinks well?


  1. Nice! Now you'll have to drink more. I've discovered some great bottles from your past posts on the wine boards so it'll be fun to get the goods here.

    Great night with Terry. The 2002 Goutorbe, 2002 Fiacre and 2002 Chetillons are so good- they're addictive.

    Never had NV Varnier Fanniere Saint Denis. Terry says that it's one of his best values. Maybe you could slog and blog now that you have responsibilities?


  2. Thanks Paul!

    Yeah all three of those 2002s are amazing, the Gimonnet Fleurons isn't too shabby either.

    I haven't had the Saint Denis either, on my "to drink" list. The regular NV was really elegant.