This was my first time dining at Bateau and it’s a classic, French-inspired bistro specializing in dry aged beef. The menu is reasonably priced and they offer a five-course tasting menu as well. While the focus was on the wine, the food and service were impeccably done. The restaurant features a large window in the dining room where you can see the dry aged beef. Let me tell you, the Côte de Bœufs did not disappoint!
As to the wines, the only white was Manfred Krankl’s 2010 The Monkey, which was tight and reserved right out of the gate (don’t be afraid to give Manfred’s whites plenty of air, they need it). Decadent, powerful and concentrated on the palate, it will easily stand up to the top northern Rhone whites.
Moving to the reds, all the bottles were opened and put on the table and enjoyed over the evening, which is unquestionably my favorite way to enjoy an evening.
A tired bottle of the 1978 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape improved with air, but still was a touch mousey and muddled. The 2007 Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape was firing on all cylinders and one of the better bottles I’ve had of this cuvee, which has been a touch hit or miss since release. Kirsch liquor, black raspberries, flowers, incense, and spice all showed from this total blockbuster bottle that was singing.
Both of the Piedmont bottles were fabulous. The 1990 Angelo Gaja Barolo Sperss just continues to sing (I’ve been lucky enough to have had multiple bottles of this over the past year) and this is a glorious Barolo that’s pure silky on the palate and offers textbook rose petal and violets aromatics. The 2010 Domenico Clerico Ciabot Mentin Barolo was more structured and tannic but had terrific fruit. Forget bottles for 3-4 years (or more).
There was a bevy of Bordeaux and we generally went through them from the oldest to the youngest. I loved the 1982 Cos d’Estournel and this was the best bottle I’ve had of this wine, which has always shown slightly tired and over the hill for me. It shows classic, even youthful, notes of lead pencil, currants and saddle leather, and was a joy to drink. The 1983 Palmer was completely mature, yet stunning with notes of forest floor, currants, and spice. The palate was beautiful as well and this was a true treat. The 2008 Haut Bailly was as elegant and seamless as they come, and I continue to think this is an under-rated vintage as the wines have impressive concentration, as well as a pure, slightly understated style that grows on you with each glass.
The 2005 Beau-Sejour-Becot is another terrific 2005 that’s still young, yet offers plenty of pleasure. Crème de cassis, graphite and chocolate characteristics all emerge from this broad, fabulously pure, concentrated beauty. In contrast, the 2005 Chateau Saint-Pierre was a brooding monster of a wine that gives up full-bodied, chunky notes of black fruits and chocolate. It needs another 3-4 years of bottle age to gain a touch of elegance. The 2009 Beausejour (Duffau Lagarrosse) was utter perfection, and man, what a wine. Deep, inky, incredibly concentrated, yet also silky and weightless, it delivers that rare mix of intensity and weightlessness on the palate.
If tasted blind, the bottle of the 2000 Dalla Valle Maya Proprietary Red Wine would easily have passed undetected among the lineup of Bordeaux. It was fully mature, yet offered plenty of fruit, as well as an old-world slant. I don’t see any upside, but well-stored bottles will certainly keep nicely. Lastly, a bottle of Jim Binn’s 2013 Andremily No 2 hit the spot and was an incredible wine that offered blockbuster styled aromatics with an elegant, seamless, silky style on the palate.
All in all, a sensational evening.
Bateau Seattle, 1040 East Union, Seattle, WA Tel + 1 206 900-8699
Course 1: Spot Prawns—honey, walnut, cabbage, brussel’s sprouts
Course 2: Massive, bone in Cote de Boeuf(s)