Thursday is often date night around our house, which invariably includes dinner at a nice restaurant. Last night we ate at the Gotham Grill near Union Square. Margaret had pear and celeriac soup and winter squash risotto; I had oysters and a roasted rack of pork.
Since we were going to a play, I skipped my regular cocktail and reached for the wine list.
The list at the Gotham Grill is 33 pages long, but it was so well organized that we knew exactly what we wanted by page 4.
We started with a glass of Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé, followed by a half bottle of Pouilly-Fuissé.
We regularly serve Cremant at our house as a champagne substitute. It’s usually 1/3 the price of “true” champagnes, i.e., those from Champagne, and is usually very good. Cremant is made all over France, in Alsace, Bordeaux and the Loire – even Luxembourg — using local varietals and strict adherence to champagne methods. Ours tonight, a rosé from Burgundy, was probably made largely, if not exclusively, from the Pinot Noir grape.
The wine was a salmony pink, dry, soft and balanced in the mouth, with light acidity and great bubbles; a festive opening and elegant accompaniment to our appetizers.
Half bottles are just the thing when you’re going to the theater. Our Pouilly-Fuissé, a 2007 from Daniel and Martine Barraud, in addition to being as good as many premier crus I’ve tried, was also the cheapest bottle on the list. It had the tart smell of green apples, characteristic of Chardonnay, but also an exotic aroma we couldn’t quite nail down. Margaret thought mango; the sommelier, with whom we consulted, supplied us with papaya and white pepper. Our waiter managed our wine so well that I still had one more swallow in my glass when I finished gnawing on the bones.