Friday, September 23, 2011

Authentic French Wine & Dine Adventure - Le Petit Cafe Redoux

Authentic French Wine & Dine Adventure - Le Petit Cafe Redoux  - 

Imagine leaving the city and driving out to a French country village for an exquisite, quaint dining experience. Such is dining at the French bistro Le Petit Cafe in Bloomington, Indiana which provides an authentic Provencal dining experience as if you've been transported from Southern Indiana to Southern France. You'll not find a more hospitable atmosphere; the food and wine experience is straight out of the Libournais, true to the roots of the owners who also cook and serve. Don't expect elegance and haute cuisine, you'll get honest home style cooking, great food paired with select wines - all at very reasonable prices. For the wine aficionado or gourmand, don't expect a fancy or complex wine list, just ask for wines to accompany the food and leave it at that! You won't be overwhelmed, disappointed or taken for a ride - expect a complete, authentic dining experience at a reasonable fair price. Our complete dinner with wine, shared starter and shared desert was about $30 per person including tip. Don't expect an itemized detailed bill - consider it as a price-fix meal.

The menu is recited by the server or written in marker on the white board if you happen to be seated at that end of the dining room - beef, foul, fish or game, with soup or salad, accompanied by side dishes served family style. With reasonable prices and such authenticity, go for the starter appetizers and deserts to take in all that is to offer for a complete dining experience.

On this visit there were ten of us allowing us too experience everything on offer - steak with blue cheese and butter, steak with olive oil and garlic, white fish with shrimp, rabbit with brown sauce, and chicken with white wine cream sauce. All were delicious, served with a side of cooked carrots and eggplant ravioli with herbs. The appetizers, a memorable pate and a nice delicate puffed pastry with cheese were exquisite. The chocolate gato (cake) desert with cream sauce was sinfully wonderful.

To accompany all the entrees and each course we had four different wines - two Southern Rhones, and two Burgundies. The Burgundies served up as accompaniments to dinner were thoughtfully selected wines, quality easy drinking, wonderfully and appropriately matched to the food.   While they don't boast or profess a wine cellar or extensive winelist, as with each previous visit, we were delighted by the wine courses. On this evening, we were treated to a red and wine Burgundy from the 2000 and 2003 vintages. The other two wines, two southern Rhones from the 1998 vintage were by pre-arrangement. 

The wines:

Domaine Santa Duc, Prestige des Hautes Garrigues Gigondas 1998 - 
This was the biggest of the four wines, even moreso than the Chateauneuf-du-Pape - and was a perfect accompaniment to the pate and the steaks. Dark color - medium - full bodied. As we work through this case in its 12th year, this wine seems to be more subdued but more balanced, integrated and polished than when younger. Still exhibiting full forward black berry, black cherry and hints of anise, slight earthy leather on a moderate firm tannin finish.

RM 90 points. 


Domaine De La Gardine Chateauneuf du Pape 1998 -

From one of the biggest private owned estates in Chateauneuf du Pape, this was medium bodied and complex - good with the pate, the steaks and rabbit dish as well as the chocolate desert.  Dark garnet color, medium bodied, with slightly tart red fruit, pepper, berry, mineral, spice nose; it was very tasty, balanced, slightly tart berry, blackberry, black cherry with mineral  palate, hints of earthy tobacco and cassis and a medium-plus finish. The blend is  60% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 15% Syrah and 5% Muscardin.

RM 88 points. Consistent notes w/ earlier tastings.

92 point Wine Spectator: "Beautiful. Black in color, thick in texture, with delicious ripe fruit and silky, sweet tannins. This balanced, full-bodied Châteauneuf delivers harmony and pleasure from start to finish, although it emphasizes fruit over terroir." (11/02). 90 Points Robert Parker: "The 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape boasts a dense, saturated purple color, as well as an enticing, sweet nose of black fruits, licorice, and violets. Full-bodied, moderately tannic, and impressively concentrated, with a long finish, it will be at its finest between 2003-2016."

Gilles Noblet, Domaine De La Collonge, Macon-Fuisse 2003

Very fresh and acidulous nose of exotic fruits - lychee and subtle apple, with violet and white flowers notes. Great balance, ample and round with a mineral touch. Delicate and soft easy drinking to accompany the salad but supple and full enough to go with the fish and chicken dishes as well. 

What a delightful and fun wine. We learn that Domaine de la Collonge is situated in the village of Fuissé,  the heart of the Pouilly- Fuissé Appellation in the southern Mâconnais. This is Burgundy’s southernmost area and one of the most prestigious vineyards of the Maconnais. The estate has been handed down from father to son for four generations and is now run by Gilles Noblet who has improved it greatly. Gilles Noblet is among the most respected of a new-breed of Mâconnais producers. When he is not occupied with the volunteer fire department in Fuissé, he is busy tending the vines and the cellars of his Domaine de la Collonge. Noblet’s Domaine de la Collonge represents the best artisan traditions of the region: respect for the different “terroirs” of the domaine, low yields in the vineyards that total 9 hectares, meticulous winemaking that expresses both Chardonnay fruit and the characteristics of the vineyards’ earth, with a gentle (20-30%) touch of oak.

The Domaine consists of small parcels of approximately 3 hectares each in three appellations in a region dominated by high-volume cooperatives and the labels of negociant producers, Noblet’s wines show the quality that can be attained in this region with a more personal and artisanal approach. They serve as a reminder of why the Mâconnais region, and Pouilly-Fuissé in particular, originally gained popularity and notoriety for producing some of the world’s best loved and best value Chardonnays. The 2006 Pouilly-Fuissé from Gilles Noblet was named among the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2008. 

Louis Latour, Les Garans Cote-D'Or  Fleurie 2000

From the vineyard of Les Garans, situated to the north-east of the village of Fleurie, acknowledged as one of the finest sites for growing top quality grapes because of its combination of unique soil composition and specific microclimate. This wine is deliciously floral on the nose and possesses great smoothness on the palate with a wonderful balancing acidity. Deep red in colour with a clean and rounded bouquet of ripe red fruits. Structured, balanced and quite sinewy on the finish.  This was a nice balance to the bigger Gigondas and CDP and a perfect accompaniement to the rabbit with brown sauce, yet sufficiently delicate to pair nicely with the chicken. 

Previous visit to Le Petit Cafe.

Le Petit Cafe on the web ...