It was a glorious Bastille Day. The weather was so appealing you could not resist being outside. So, off we went to Portland’s Bastille Day Festival. As the lines at the food stands were just too long, we opted for lunch at the lovely Fenouil restaurant, which is on the same plaza as the festival, to more comfortably enjoy some fine French cuisine and wine to celebrate the day.
The spectacular day combined with my anticipation for the excellent lunch soon to arrive and the charming live French music coming from the adjacent celebration inspired me to splurge a bit on the wine. Although, I confess this does not take much inspiration. I could not resist trying the 2003 La Font ď’Estévenas, Domaine Daniel and Denis Alary, Cairanne Côtes du Rhône. Although expensive for a Cairanne, I love the firm earthy intensity of a good Côtes du Rhône and as it was imported by Weygandt/Metzler it seemed especially promising.
I goofed. I should have followed a newly developing rule: When in doubt, stick with the medium priced wines on the list. Unfortunately these days, high prices usually mean you’ll get what I got: an over-extracted, over-oaked fruit bomb with high alcohol (14.5% in this case), that tasted awful with food and sedated my taste buds into hibernation. What a disappointment this heavy-handed effort was. It was so massive that even the delicious, rich roasted pork from a wood fire roasted whole pig prepared specially for the Bastille Day menu was overwhelmed.
For half the price I could have enjoyed a number of zesty southern French reds from lesser known regions that would have been a delight. I hope I have finally learned my lesson and remember that for less you often get more. Not more power, but more pleasure. When it comes to dining I prefer pleasure over power.