The Hôtel Le St-James is a famous Montreal landmark, a boutique hotel in Montreal's increasingly trendy old port, and tonight's business dinner gave me a chance to try their rather posh restaurant, XO.
Our first wine was the 2005 Lucien Muzard et Fils Santenay Gravières. I had tasted the 2004 version recently and speculated that the 2005 would be bigger, fleshier...nope. Fresh strawberries, old leather, slate and hints of cola, but a bit too smokey (too much oak) on the nose. Crisp, fresh berries and stark minerality - tight and less fleshy than most 2005s. Angular at first, but softening nicely over the evening...my style of Burgundy. Score: 16.5/20
Our next wine was a Zickefoose Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma. This special order, recommended by the sommelier, is not on the current wine list so the vintage details (2004 or 2005) are lost forever. Nice green pepper and vegetal notes, some minty cocoa and blackberries as well. Fleshy blackberry on the palate, it was fresh and lively yet silky smooth and incredibly well balanced at the same time. A modest finish, drink now. Score: 17/20
I was not picking wines tonight, just nudging my buddy Lloyd along, but the wines and the pairings were spectacular. I didn't take any notes on the food, but the food was of very high quality and the service and ambience at XO were excellent.