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Vertical Cornas at Bar Henry

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I didn’t plan on drinking 1962 Jaboulet Cornas on a Monday night. But it was the inaugural wine dinner at Bar Henry, the subterranean restaurant in New York City’s West Village, and the small wine region Cornas is, according to my very smart wine friend, the most interesting part of northern Rhône. That same friend also said that Bar Henry has one of the city’s best wine lists these days and there were eight different vintages of Cornas being offered, so not going seemed like a bad idea. In fact, the ’62 Cornas was not the wine of the night (it was “dead of air, not old age,” someone at the table noted). John Slover, Bar Henry’s awesome wine consultant and the dinner’s organizer, said the wine of the night was the ’89 Verset  (“the most elegant barnyard ever”). Robert Bohr, one of Food & Wine’s favorite wine experts, liked the 1983 Verset best. (He called it “smoking.” For Slover, it was "also elegant barnyard but with softer tannins.") Me, I loved the ’90 Verset. My friend Augie, whom I wish would bring back his terrific blog, augieland, compared the flavor (though not the nose) to the chalky, sweet candy cigarettes we had when we were kids, which might be why I liked it so much. I learned something else from Augie: Finish your Cornas dinner with Champagne. Specifically, the not-so-well-known-but-delicious 2000 Gaston Chiquet Special Club Brut.

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