Sometimes you just have to brag a little. And this past week, I had an evening worth bragging about. Some friends gathered after a holiday party for a feast at one of D.C.’s top restaurants. It’s taken me far too long to try this place and as Julia Roberts might tell a Rodeo Drive boutique salesgirl: Big Mistake. Big. Huge.
Here are four first-time experiences thanks to this special night out with friends:
1. Mintwood Place is everything you want it to be. A cozy but lively bistro with staff that smile and treat you like you’ve been coming in for years. And then the food arrives. And it’s perfect. While the main ingredient on each dish is elevated beyond what you would ever expect, it’s the small touches of flavor – from a dab of dressing on a creamy burrata nestled on crispy kale or a side dish of smashed fingerling potatoes that only appear ordinary – which steal your attention.
And while this should be enough for a wonderful evening, it was really just the backdrop for a table laced with legendary wines.
2. The stars were four bottles of Domaine Romanee Conti Echezeaux from 1989, 1993, 1994 and 2002 (to be exact, the ‘89 was a Grandes). A 1997 Louis Jadot Grands Echezeaux joined in as well. These were my first experiences with DRC, and while the mythical, magical, Angel-singing moment I’ve heard so much about may have been slightly exaggerated, a quiet calmness enveloped me as I sipped each one savoring the wines finesse and complexities. (For real tasting notes, look here.)
3. A 2004 Dom Perignon Rosé was poured soon after we were seated. There were other bottles of bubbles, all of which I hadn’t experienced before, but the Dom Rosé was different. With more body, fruit and refined explosiveness than other sparklers I’ve tried, it’s very tiny bubbles were hardly visible in my non-fluted wine glass.
4. The final splurge-worthy decadence I’ll write about here (but certainly not the last of the evening) was poured toward the end of the night, just prior to the popping of the dessert wines (which I politely passed on in favor of sipping another glass of the Dom). Given what was already served, I’m afraid this particular wine didn’t receive the attention it deserved. The waiter poured my glass out of the decanter and I took a few sips, but then let it sit. The dark brooding Syrah seemed like it had a lot to say, but it wasn’t talking yet. Or maybe my palate was too severely compromised. I put the glass down and walked away, only to come back to it a little while later in a quiet moment, while the others were swirling around the dining room and enjoying the effects of the evening. This time a glorious sense of earth emerged from “Stock,” a 2012 Sine Qua Non from California’s Central Coast. It’s the type of wine that deserves an evening unto itself.