I've been meeting a group of girlfriends on the first Thursday of each month at Le Chat Noir on Wisconsin Avenue for a free wine tasting. The evenings are an excuse to decompress from work, babies/children, etc., talk about really important things, and to taste new wine. The food is great, too, but we linger with the wine for a bit before getting to the food.
The restaurant exudes warmth, the staff is friendly and busy due to the constant flow of diners. And lingering of diners; there is lots of lingering going on at The Black Cat.
The wine tasting happens in the wine lounge, which is on the second floor of the restaurant. I've never eaten in the first floor dinging room.
The wine tastings at Le Chat Noir also feature the wine distributor who walks around to the tables and chats you up about the wine. I love this. This week, the wines came from The Country Vintner and Justin Pass presented the wines. Justin knew the seven wines we tasted inside and out, and I would have been perfectly content listening to him talk about the wines much longer.
The first flight was white. We tried three wines and one stood out for me: Chateau Guirauton Graves Blanc (2009). I kept my nose in the glass for a long time because the peachy smell was divine. This is a white Bordeaux that retails for less than $20. I had a glass of it with my dinner.
The other two whites were Guilhem Blanc (2009) (good, but did not blow me away); and Trouillet Macon Solutre (2008) (a Chardonnay). I could not fully appreciate the Chardonnay because my mouth was still dancing from the Bordeaux.
There were four tastings in the red flight. I enjoyed all of them, but especially the first one: Raffault Chinon "Galuches" 2008. I was scribbling notes about the wine when Justin used a word that describes this wine perfectly: gritty. Peppery and gritty. I tasted the pepper right away; Justin pointed out that I was tasting green peppers. The Country Vintner also says this wine has a nice "embedded grip" that "carries the lengthy finish" -- could not agree more. I've never used "grip" to describe wine, and it's a perfect word for this wine.
The other three wines in the red flight were: Chateau Thebot Bordeaux Rouge 2007; Domaine L'Hortus Classique Rouge 2008, and Domaine de Triennes "St. Auguste" 2006. All good with varying degrees of thickness, but the 2007 Chateau Thebot stood out.