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Ici Bistro was outstanding. Classic French Bistro food. Chef put a menu together to go with the wines. Too many good items to recall all but here are the food highlights:

Steak Tartare: outstanding - best I've had. The meat still had some texture. Perfect blend of seasonings with the occasional bit of spicy heat.

Lobster Bisque with shrimp & ginger: Again - oustanding. Other lobster bisque pales. Rich. Beautiful with the white CdP

Braised Beef: no knife required. Could cut it with a spoon. Beautiful. Little beef marrow & truffle balls (don't recall the correct name). Again - wonderful

Duck breast with gastrique: Duck was perfectly cooked. The gastrique was superb.

Gran Marnier Souffle: Best souffle I've had. Perfect match the the mature Sauternes.

The wines:


2009 Grand Veneur La Fontaine CdP Blanc: Rich and aromatic. A bit cleaner, more minerality and citrus than the Beaucastel.

2009 Beaucastel CdP Blanc: Buttery, vanilla (maybe the oak showing). Very rich, opulent, aromatic. Bit of heat on the finish. My favorite of the two whites. Great pairing with the lobster bisque.


1995 La Bernardine CdP: Showing some oxidation on nose, and a bit past peak but still very enjoyable. It was a bit overshadowed by Verjino and would have been more enjoyable on its own (had this a couple of years ago and it was great by itself). Garnet-brick colour. Smoky, dark fruit, tobacco, hint of anchovy. Very good.

1996 Gaecj & JP Verjino CdP: WOTN The nose bursts from the glass. More vibrant and complex than the others in this flight. Still youthful. Amazing. Red fruit, leather. Stunning nose. Overshadowed the other two in the flight. Good balance. At its peak. Quote of the night: ‘Where did you find this one Rick?’…’Chateauneuf du Papes’…’we drove up from Niece and hit as many vineyards as we could in 1 day and found this one. – Great answer!

2000 Tablas Creek: Fit right in the the CdPs – wouldn’t have pegged as California if tasted blind. Much younger than the Bernardine and Verjino. Excellent. Bit of barnyard on the nose. Raspberry, cassis. Excellent


1998 La Nerthe Cuvee des Cadettes: Wine of this flight. Note taking wheels starting to wobble.

1998 Vieux Telegraphe: FLAWED

1998 Vendage du Roy Cuvee: Bit of oxidation as with the Bernardine, but not as much. Similar dark notes. Still has more time to go though. Good.


2003 Clos des Papes: Lighter in body and youthful. Good for 2003. I’d give it 5 more years. Preferred over the Beaucastel but very close between the two.

2003 Beaucastel: Very similar to the Clos des Papes. Drinking well now, but has time to go, better in 5 years.

2004 Vieux Donjon: Barnyard. Wheels starting to fall off the note taking bus. Very good but preferred the two 2003s

2008 Guigal Cote Rotie: Young but great potential here. Great nose- lots of complexity, even at this early stage. Shows N Rhone character well. Great wine. Come back in 10 years, or more.


1989 Bastor Lamontagne: Mature Sauternes at its peak imo. Colour was good, deepening gold with bit of copper but not too dark. Orange marmalade was the predominant aroma and flavour. Moderate complexity with hints of spice. Nicely balanced. This is at its prime but has years to go. I plan to drink the next one within the next 5 years. Perfectly paired with the Gran Marnier Soufflé. Excellent!
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This was one of those times where it was hard to tell which was better - the food or the wine. The wines were great, but for me, the food was the real high point of the evening.

The 1996 Gaecj & JP Verjino CdP was a complete surprise. I thought I knew a little about CdP, but this wine was a real surprise for me. Vey complex aroma, not completely typical of CdP in the amount of red liquorice. And the palate was not a replay of the aroma flavours, but offered a much more traditional CdP profile with savoury spiciness, leather and dark fruit.

I mostly like red wines, but I thought both of the white CdPs were outstanding. I wish I had bought more of the 09 Grand Veneur La Fontaine.

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