301 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Tel. + 1 (415) 543-7474
2005 Cédric Bouchard Blanc
de Noirs La Parcelle Côte de Bechalin 94
2010 Guiberteau Saumur 89
2011 François Cotat Sancerre La
Grande Côte 87
1979 Tollot-Beaut Corton-Bressandes –
Grand Cru 96
1982 Jasmin Côte-Rôtie 96
1996 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Hirsch
Maitake Mushroom Tempura; Scallion Mousseline, Yuzu Salt
Ahi Tuna Crudo; Hawaiian Hearts of Palm, Snow Peas, Green Apple,
Grilled Spanish Octopus; Little Gems, Pommes Frites, Almonds.
Arctic Char; Steamed Mussels, Pea Tendrils, Leeks, White Wine
Why have I let so much time pass between visits? That is what I
kept thinking as a dear friend and I enjoyed a spectacular dinner at RN74 a few weeks ago. The wine list, under the stewardship of
Michael Mina Group Wine Director Rajat Parr, is to die for. Readers will find
an abundance of the world’s most coveted bottles, both young and old, for any
budget. Where do you start? The Champagne selection includes wines from Cédric
Bouchard, Jérôme Prévost, Vilmart, Pierre Peters, Egly-Ouriet and
Marie-Courtin. In other words, a who’s who of top-flight growers. In Chablis,
diners will find Piuze, Pattes Loup, Christian Moreau in addition to the region’s
heavyweights. Colin-Morey, Roulot, (Louis) Carillon and others are tempting in
the White Burgundy section. The Loire and Austria are regions I know less
intimately, but there is plenty to choose from here as well. Then it is Red
Burgundy, and an eye-opening array of wines I rarely see anywhere, like
Mugneret-Gibourg’s Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru (young vines from Ruchottes) and
de Montille’s Malconsorts Cuvée Christiane, another jewel. Many of the mature
wines come from the cellar of Wilf Jaeger, a San Francisco-based collector who
owns vineyards in Burgundy and also happens to be one of the most knowledgeable
people I have ever met, and not just when it comes to Burgundy.
We started with Cédric Bouchard’s 2005 La Parcelle Côte
de Bechalin. What a Champagne! Rich, vinous and deeply resonant, the 2005
impressed with its balance and sheer class. Wow. This was a great showing. Next
up were two whites. The
2010 Guiberteau Saumur was right up
my alley. A crisp, energetic and vibrant wine, this superb Chenin Blanc was a
perfect foil to the Maitake mushroom tempura, Ahi tuna crudo and grilled
Spanish octopus. François Cotat’s 2011 Sancerre La Grande Côte was
very good, but a bit too heavy for my taste.
Then the real fireworks started. Tollot-Beaut’s 1979
Corton-Bressandes was a revelation. So silky, so pure, so beautiful.
It was utterly captivating from the very first taste. Jasmin’s 1982
Côte-Rôtie was also drop-dead gorgeous. Deeply colored, rich and
layered, it exuded class and personality. I imagine the 1982 will still be
going strong in 20 years, as it has more than enough fruit to run the distance.
Both reds were sensational with the arctic char, which was served with steamed
mussels, pea tendrils, leeks and white wine broth, a fabulous dish in its own
right. The 1996 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard was
in an awkward stage, not young, but also not fully mature either, and just not
showing all of its cards...yet.
Readers visiting San Francisco own themselves a visit (or two!)
to RN74. I can't wait to go back.
-- Antonio Galloni