Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yoyo, a Resto, it's BYO

Our tasting group now has a new annual event, the Christmas BYO dinner. Last year it was Bistro l'Entrepont and the year before it was Les Infidèles, so when La Colombe (wisely) rejected us, Yoyo happily took us in. The only theme this year was NOT EXTREME - bring anything you want, but not the stupid-priced stuff we had last year.

Yoyo was an incredible BYO so I will start with the food. Serving up a diverse menu of French comfort food, the menu had unusual creations and well-loved classics, with the most diverse set of appys and entrees I have yet seen at a Montreal BYO. Slightly larger than the city's other BYOs, it was probably a bit less romantic, but more appropriate for our large-ish group. The only criticisms I can think of are that it was a bit out of the way and the freakish heating system rapidly alternated between Havana and Baffin Island, but that's nitpicking.

I took advantage of the unusual menu to try some things you don't get every day - a blood sausage appetizer and a "sweetbread" stuffed with sweet goat cheese for the main course. Both were impeccably prepared, and tasty enough to convert the vast majority of you who just vomited under their computer desks.

Of course there was wine involved. Enjoyed, but not intensely scrutinized, here are some notes:

2001 Chateau Lagrezette Cuvee Dame Honneur: My contribution had beautiful violet aromas were framed by leather. tobacco, earthy wet stones, pencil shaving, minerals and and copious dark fruit - very intriguing, and the favourite of a few diners. A bruiser on the palate, with tough tannins and a bit hot, but with nice leathery fruit. A wine to sip and ponder, it only started to open up late in the eveing. Needs time. cork, 15% alcohol

2002 d'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz: Pramod's Dead Arm showed big jammy cherries and fresh wild berries, later some mint, pepper and flinty notes, it continued to evolve right up to the last drop. Despite its youth it tasted more delicate, yet powerful at the same time. Very tannic, but with juicy fresh fruit and good acidity. It softened over the evening, but I just don't think this is ready yet. Sock it away. cork. 14.5% alcohol

2003 d'Arenberg Ironstone Pressings: I generally think of d'Arenberg as more old world style than other Aussie makers, but it is really specific bottlings that seem that way - the Ironstone Pressings is one of them. Cam's wine was Rhone-like: meaty, earthy and cedary up front, with some vegetal, black cherry, and a touch minty. Velvety tannins, I found it more interesting than The Dead Arm, but perhaps a big more rough around the edges on the palate. Fine now, but should improve over time. Probably the wallflower of the evening - nobody's favourite, but enjoyable for all. cork. 15% alcohol

2000 Marchesi di Gresy Martinenga Barbaresco: A beautiful nose of berries, licorice and undergrowth, and even more amazing on the palate - crisp strawberry fruit, silky tannins and very nice length - this was the most elegant and drinkable of the evening, and probably tied with the Burgundy below for the crowd favourite. cork. 13.5% alcohol

2004 Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras: Peanuts? Yes, peanuts on the nose - almost peanut butter - never had that before. Also, truffles, tea and cocoa, pepper, cedar, rose, and minerals. Smooth and elegant, light to medium bodied, with dusty tannin and a short finish, but very well balanced and drinking well today. Overall it started odd, but flowered throughout the evening (and everyone noticed). Drinking well now. cork. 13% alcohol

This was a very diverse set of wines and all were excellent. Hard to call a favourite, but I think the Burgundy and the Barbaresco both crowd favourites (interesting that these were the subtle, lowest alcohol, wines). I liked the Burgundy with my blood sausage, while the Barbaresco (my favourite of the evening) paired best with my sweetbread.

When in Montreal you definitely need to check out Yoyo with a Gresy Barbaresco - highly recommended.


RougeAndBlanc said...

The label on the Dame Honneur is so beautiful. I must find a bottle even just to look at.
Dead Arm Shiraz - Isn't that wine great? 2001 is supposed to be even better, I missed a chance to snap up a couple of bottle of the '01 when it is under $100 US

FrenchScout said...

The 1999 Martinenga was similar. Would you remember a hint of flower or plum?

Marcus said...

Yet to visit Yoyo but your order is scaring me.

La Colombe has a room upstairs so don't give up on them -- they are wonderful there.

Sorry to see Google enforce what appears to be a template issue with your lovely masthead photo... We could take a closer look soon...

Joe said...

Hi Andrew - pricey if it is only for the label. Don't get me wrong on the Dead Arm - very nice and complex, but soooo young that it pained me to drink it!

Salut Félicien - definitely the plums, but not the flowers. It was a chaotic resto, however - I didn't have the ability to concentrate the way I normally do when I taste wine.

Hi Marcus - what, you don't like "sweetbread"? We have tried to do Colombe a few times, but it always falls through - will try again. Can I bribe you with a bottle of Clos Jordanne to come by and have a look?

Marcus said...

You don't need to bribe me. I'm no expert. What you did to customize the image is pretty advanced so you might not get any help from me.

On my http://snakshot.blogspot.com/ blog, which is mostly defunct, I have inserted an image. We could compare techniques... but I guess it'll have to wait until the new year.

All the best!

Brooklynguy said...

"I liked the Burgundy with my blood sausage." --- Joe.

A quote I'm not sure I have ever before or will ever again read. Sounds like a good time. peanuts...?

Joe said...

Hey Marcus, definitely catch up in the new year - all the best!

Hi Neil. What, you don't like the Boudin Noir with your Bourgogne? Try this link for more Boudin Noir pairing ideas...http://www.wineterroirs.com/2007/05/boudin.html
It's all about the "shock and awe", Neil. Yes, peanuts, most definitely - never EVER smelled that before...but it wasn't bad, just different

David McDuff said...

Though I don't have experience with Barthod as a producer, between the peanuts and the short finish, it sounds to me like you may have had a less than perfectly handled bottle. "Les Cras" is an excellent site and should produce, in good hands, a finer experience than what you've described.

It's good to see you found the Marchesi di Gresy enjoyable -- a solid, under-appreciated producer.

Joe said...

Hi David - it wasn't a bad bottle, odd, but not bad - I was wondering about the handling. Loved the Marchesi di Gresy, and bought two pricey bottles to prove it. All the best in 2008 - I hope we catch up on my next trip to Philly!