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Last night's offline at Spiedini (CAUTION: wretched excess ahead)

Larry Stein | Apr 13, 200103:22 PM

After all the talk about your offline at Da Flora, I figure it was time to write up last night's affair. BTW, offline is the term used on Robin Garr's and Brad Harrington's wine boards/websites for meeting the folks behind the pixels. Our friend John and his family were out from Colorado so Stuart sent out an all-points bulletin to all the major Rhoneheads. John and Stuart are MAJOR Rhone wine collectors. In fact, Stuart has assisted Stephane Ogier in making several vintages of Ogier's Cote Rotie. Stuart's knowledge of the wines, winemakers and individual vineyard soil characteristics of the Northern Rhone is staggering.

Stuart also is a regular at Spiedini (located in Walnut Creek) so offlines are fairly common. No corkage, no menus, WAY too much food. There were 10 courses. This wasn't a tasting menu with tiny portions. Oh no, this could've fed a small army. Sorry if I'm not too descriptive, but without a menu and 10 of us talking and drinking, I missed most of the sauce details.

Started with a cheese course. Then bruschetta with red bartletts and Blue d'Auvergne. Next were 3 pastas: duck tortelloni, pheasant tortelloni and spaghetti with 3 different wild mushrooms and fava beans. We were brought 2 enormous platters of the spaghetti. I have a large styrofoam container of it in my fridge. Crabcakes for the fish course. Meat courses: wild boar, duck and lamb. These were full entrees spread over the table. They brought 2 of each. Various desserts. Yup, 10 courses.

Now the wine. When we walked into the restaurant, there were 6 bottles, brown-bagged and left for us by the chef. Spit bucket time! '99 Traminer, Jermann - '99 Tunina, Jermann - '96 Barolo, Luigi Einauldi - '96 Barolo "La Serra", Marcarini and 2 Barberas from '97 that I don't remember the names of.

And this is what we brought (NO, we didn't drain the bottles. Actually, just one.)

'99 Gruner Veltliner Steiner Hund (Austria), Nikolaihof
'96 Riesling Herrenberg (Alsace), Charles Schleret
'98 Condrieu (forget the producer, but I'm not sure if it's imported into the US)
'96 Chassagne Montrachet, Niellon

'87 Cornas, Noel Verset
'89 Cornas "Cuvee C", Marcel Juge
'83 Hermitage "La Chapelle", Jaboulet (a bit over the hill)
'83 Cote Rotie "Cote Blonde", Gentaz(?) (corked, damn...)
'90 Crozes Hermitage "La Guiraude", Alain Graillot
(fabulous, just the right time to drink)
'90 Pignan (Chateauneuf du Pape), Rayas (still a hefty boy, needs time)
'95 Dom. de Marcoux (Chateauneuf du Pape)
'95 Les Cailloux "Cuvee Centenaire" (Chateauneuf du Pape), Andre Brunel (very rare, expensive, I believe we committed infanticide)
'85 Pesquera Riserva (a Spanish interloper!)

Did I wake up with a hangover? Nope, but I had a major food-over.

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