Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Bobby Kacher
I have always been a big fan of Robert Kacher Selections wines and now I had the chance to have dinner with Robert “Bobby” Kacher - who Robert Parker called "one of the 20 most influential wine personalities in the past 20 years." The dinner was organized by Calvert and Woodley and took place at Ruth's Chris in Dupont Circle in Washington DC. Robert Kacher lead us through a highly informative tasting of specially selected wines, each paired to Ruth's Chris delectable cuisine.
The dinner offered me the chance to spend an evening with 3 important wine personalities of the Washington DC wine scene: Maria E. Denton, CWE, from Ruth’s Steak House in Dupont Circle, Ed Sands from Calvert and Woodley and Robert Kacher from Kacher Wine Selection, all from Washington DC, USA.
Maria E. Denton, CWE, from Ruth’s Steak House in Dupont Circle
Let’s start with Maria. She was only acting in the background of this evening that belonged to Bobby Kacher. But she is an important name in the Washington DC wine scene. Maria E. Denton is the General Manager and Sommelier of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Dupopnt Circle. Her certifications include Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, Certified Wine Educator and Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators and Spanish Wine Educator with the Wine Academy of Spain. She currently sits on the Board of the Society of Wine Educators.
Picture: Maria E. Denton
Maria told me that she is planning a wine dinner with Panos Kakaviatos for early 2012. I am sure this will be a highly interesting evening.
Ed Sands from Calvert and Woodley
Then there was Ed Sands from Calvert and Woodley, with MacArthur Beverages the top wine retailer in Washington DC. Ed Sands opened and closed the evening.
Calvert Woodley opened its doors in 1982 after the merger of two competitors, Calvert Liquors and Woodley Wine & Liquor, and is still owned and operated by the original owners and their families. Dating back to 1945, Calvert Liquors was located on Wisconsin Avenue in the Glover Park neighborhood. Woodley Wine & Liquor, created in 1966, was in the Cleveland Park strip across from the Uptown Theater. When the opportunity arose for Aaron Bernstein of Calvert to join forces with Ed Sands of Woodley, the two jumped at the chance and moved to the current location in the Van Ness/UDC neighborhood at the corner of Connecticut Ave and Windom.
Pictures: Ed Sands and Robert Kacher
Each store brought its strengths to help Calvert Woodley thrive. From Calvert came, among other things, La Cheeserie & International Deli and from Woodley came the direct importing of Bordeaux that has helped make the Calvert Woodley wine department the power it is today. Woodley began selling Bordeaux Futures with the 1966 vintage! With about 50 employees, including sons of owners David Bernstein and Michael Sands, Calvert Woodley is poised to excel for years to come.
Robert Kacher from Robert Kacher Wine Selections
Then, last but not least, Robert “Bobby” Kacher. Over more than three decades in the wine business, Robert has poured his boundless energy, acuity, and extraordinary passion for wine wholeheartedly into every bottle he imports. The proof is in his portfolio. It is an unrivaled collection of distinctive wines from every nook and cranny of France (and increasingly, elsewhere), from Grand Cru wines down to the most humble vin de table. Regardless of official classification, country of origin, or price category, every bottle that Bobby imports is unmistakably a "Robert Kacher Selection" -- an impeccably made wine of vibrant fruit, exceptional character and authenticity to the appellation, and more often than not, a tremendous value.
Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller, Maria E. Denton, Ed Sands and Robert Kacher
Born and raised in Florida before moving to Washington, DC in 1971, Robert Kacher received his wine education traveling the wine roads of France. Strapping on a backpack, he headed to Europe with a desire to learn about wines and winemaking by exploring France and its many varied wine-producing regions. While traveling, he fell in love with the wine, food, family and the vineyards and kitchens of France. This lifestyle captivated Bobby and it grew to become an all-consuming passion. After working as a consultant at a retail shop in Washington, DC following his return from France, Bobby soon switched to the import side of the business. Twenty-five years ago, he founded Robert Kacher Selections. His goal with the new company was to associate himself with the growers and producers who had both the pass ion and energy to become the top winemakers of their respective regions. Bobby spent almost half of each year in France, criss-crossing from region to region in an effort to select and help develop the finest portfolio of French estate wines offered in the US. Through this hands-on approach of working side by side with growers and producers, Bobby was able to ensure the quality and authenticity of every wine in his collection.
Bobby's philosophy is to work as a partner with the growers and winemakers in all aspects of viticulture and vinification, constantly pushing them to produce even higher quality wines. Some of the innovations he introduced to his growers and wine makers include lowering yields, using state-of-the-art trellising, green harvesting of fruit at 'veraison' (the point at which grapes start to change color), and hand harvesting and hand selecting of fruit.
Seared Ahi Tuna
Escargot with Garlic Butter
2010 Domaine de Pouy - Cotes de Gascogne: We started with the super-fresh, citrusy 2010 Domaine de Pouy ($6.99), made in Gascony from the Ugni Blanc grape. Although relatively inexpensive, it's a signature Bobby Kacher wine in every way.
"Crabtini" - Chilled Colossal Crab Meat over Remoulade-dressed Lettuces
2009 Domaine Thomas et Fils - Sancerre "La Crele": The racy complexity of Sauvignon Blanc grown in Sancerre's chalky soil played out brilliantly against the backdrop of the ripe-style 2009 vintage in the impeccable 2009 Thomas "La Crele" Sancerre ($19.99).
2010 Alain Assadet - Menetou-Salon Blanc: Although there are subtle differences between the terroir of Menetou-Salon, an up-and-coming region in central Loire, and that of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé to its east, the biggest difference here maybe the vintage. In sharp contrast to the almost tropical 2009 vintage, 2010 is a classic, cool season Loire year. The well-made 2010 Assadet Menetou-Salon Sauvignon Blanc ($16.99) rings with the freshness and vibrant acidity of the vintage.
Broiled Halibut with Banana-spiced Butter Sauce
2009 Cordier Pere et Fils - Pouilly Fuisse
2009 Domaine Marc Morey - Rully Blanc 1er Cru "Rabource"
From the Loire, we moved to the great vineyards of Burgundy. The captivating 2009 Cordier Pouilly-Fuissé ($25.99), from one very finest producers of the appellation, displayed a creamy mélange of peachy, white flower Chardonnay fruit, nuanced by gentle lees stirring and a touch of oak. Its alter ego must surely be the 2009 Marc Morey 1er Cru "Rabource" Rully ($29.99), a thoroughly modern take on white Burgundy. Its powerful 1er Cru terroir has no problem handling the wine's generous dollop of new oak, made in a style reminiscent of a Meursault.
Beef Wellington with Mashed Potatoes and Creamed Spinach
2009 Xavier Monnot - Maranges 1er Cru "Clos de la Fussière": Xavier Monnot is a 17-hectare estate, all family-owned, located in Meursault. About 50% of the vineyards are planted in white, 50% in red. The production though is 65% white. Domaine Xavier Monnot’s vineyards are very spread out, covering most of the Côte de Beaune starting in Beaune 1er Cru “Cent Vignes” and stretching all the way to Maranges 1er Cru.
2009 Joblot - Givry 1er Cru "Clos de la Servoisine": The outstanding estate of Joblot is run by Jean-Marc and Vincent Joblot is the town of Givry, located in the Côte Chalonnaise. This is the region located directly south of the Côte d’Or. Few would argue Domaine Joblot is producing the finest wines in the appellation. The nucleus of the commune consists of an elongated amphitheater-like band about three miles in length and superbly sheltered from the westerly wind. This section is blessed with a very rocky, limestone rich soil. Situated just above the village, is where the premier cru vineyard of Clos de la Servoisine can be found.
The wine made here is richly textured with profound color, fruit and length. It is surely as good and long lived as many wines at double the price from more pedigreed locations in the Côte d’Or. Our Givry 1er Cru is fermented and aged in barrel for up to 16 months.
Duo of Mini Cheesecakes with Pecan Truffles
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