"Yes that is a whole roasted suckling pig on our table. And yes, people are giddy with excitement."

"Dunkin Quinn & Co. getting medieval on the roast suckling pig".

So once again I had the pleasure of attending another great wine dinner thrown by master bespoke tailor Duncan Quinn and Justin Christoph of the Acker Merrall and AC Reisling fame.  We dined at The Breslin at the Ace Hotel here in Manhattan.  The center piece of the evening was an entire roast suckling pig served to us at the chef’s table.  It was a bit Lord of the Flies, but it was amazing.  I still can’t believe I ate a pig ear!  The side dishes were equally amazing, the Caesar salad was one of the best I have had and the potatoes cooked with duck fat were legendary.  Spinach and roasted fennel were nice too to get some green in there.  While the pig was the center of the table, it was not the star of the evening.  The real stars were the wines.  It was an eclectic mix of wines, so I was not sure what to expect, but I went in with an open mind.  All the bottles were magnums, or double bottles, hence the name of the dinner.  Justin said he chose wines that could stand up to a roast pig, and they certainly did, and went beyond that as well.  Usually wine dinners have highs and lows, but these wines were all amazing.  And if it looks like we were having a lot of fun, we were!  Here is a recap of the magnums that were served.

Joguet-Chinon Les Varennes 1999

"Drinking wine from magnum is quite a different experience."

Made from the Cabernet Franc grape, this Chinon from Charles Joguet was still very youthful for a wine that many people don’t typically think can age.  There is a distinctive bright berry, cranberry nose.  There are also smoke, wet earth, pepper, sour cherry, liquorish, caramel, and herbal notes.  Tannins are very light, and finish is still a bit closed.  Well done.  RECOMMENDED

Château Mouton Rothschild 1976

The Mouton was brick and sanguine in color.  There is a dark smokey oak nose to the wine that is very hedonistic.  There are tones of really dark black cherry fruit and cassis on the nose and palate.  It has a pretty big mouth feel, and although the finish lingers it seems a tad flat compared to the intense aromatics.  I have to say I would have thought this wine would have been over the hill because the 1970′s were not the most memorable decade for Bordeaux.  But it was not at all over the hill, and was drinking wonderfully.  Justin reminded me that the larger the wine bottle the more slowly the wine will age due to the subtle exchange of air from cork to wine, hence more wine equals longer aging.  Also, the wine came from a great old cellar in Switzerland, so it was probably kept at a slightly lower temperature than most cellars, thus a more youthful tasting wine.  Definitely the surprise of the evening.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Château Musar 1978

This blend of Cabernet, Syrah, and Cinsault hails from Château Musar in Lebanon.  Yes Lebanon.  In the Middle East.  And it was a wine out of left field for me, because who would think of wine coming from Lebanon.  But you know what, this was the wine of the night in my book, and many others as well.  Such as my friend Danielle who is pictured with yours truly at the dinner.  Anyway, this wine is bright, bright sweet fruit.  There is a mix of sweet smokey and mild earthy flavors.  There are also hints of Indian spices, dried fruits, Amarone, mesquite barbecue sauce and rich caramel.  An absolutely delicious and unexpected wine which leaves you wanting more.  Best of the night?  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – ALL STAR

"Me and Danielle at The Breslin".

Verset Cornas 1990

Danielle reckoned this would be the wine of the evening, and going in I probably would have agreed.  Danielle and I came out with a slight edge for the Musar, but Justin thought it was the Cornas.  That is the beauty of wine, it comes down to individual taste.  That said, this was a fabulous wine that continued the trend of eclectic flavors and aromas of the earlier wines.  It was dark garnet in color, and smelled of dark red fruit, roasted game, earth, medicinal herbs, smoked paprika, olives, and cornichons.  The wine really just kept getting more complex in the glass, developing additional nuances.  Cornas is located in the Rhone region of southern France, and Verset was one of the most traditional in style.  From what was discussed at the dinner and what I can find out, Verset is no longer really being produced.  Its maker Noel Verset is in his 90′s and has sold off the vineyards.  This was truly a blessing to be able to try a wine that will probably be impossible to ever try again.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Sean Thackrey, Orion 1989

The last red that we tasted was at first thought to be off, but in fact, it was not.  It opened up into an incredibly full bodied wine, which I reckon still has a long life ahead.  The wine is very dense and dark, with aromas of beef bullion, black cherries, sultana raisins, dark chocolate, mocha, and sweet toasted oak.  There is still a lot of structure to this wine, it’s big, but it works.  The finish keeps going.  A real pleasure to drink, and a very close runner up to the Musar!  Sean Thackrey is a very colorful winemaker, and I could not find a website for him or his wines, but they seem to be widely available.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – ALL STAR

"That is some long bottle."

Riesling Gold Kap S.A. Prüm 1997

The final wine of evening was a white wine, a semi sweet Riesling, which was served with dessert.  There was chocolate torte cake, but Justin and I paired it with the hazelnut gelato.  What a great combo!  The Riesling was somewhere in between sweet and dry and tasted of tart apricot and nectarine.  There were also hints of citrus, roasted nuts, flint, lychee and cherry flavored Flintstones vitamins.  A very interesting wine and look at the length of that bottle.  RECOMMENDED