Went to Pinot Provence today, in Costa Mesa, near South Coast Plaza, in the Westin Hotel. This is a very nice restaurant, which has ABSOLUTELY NO CORKAGE FEE. Menu is French/Med food. We started with Sauteed Foie Gras on pears, which was absolutely outstanding and the highlight of the evening. Flavorful and tender, this was a great match for the half bottle of '01 Rieussec that I brought. For the main courses we had duck breast with balsamic glaze and lamb ribeye with dolma. Both were outstanding, and portions were extremely generous for a French restaurant. For the main course, I cracked a '02 Pride, which was tremendous. For dessert, we both had the flourless chocolate cake, and paired it with '99 Vin d' Constance, a perfect match. Overall a great meal, and price was extremely affordable, especially with free corkage. Tasting Notes: '01 Rieussec: I could sniff this wine forever, bouquet is so rich and lush, with apricots, pears, and creme brulee. Mouth feel is full bodied, very sweet and thick, with a nice long finish. This is a great Sauternes, and will get better with time. 96 pts. '02 Pride CS Nice bouquet, nose had blueberries and abundant fruit, very structured and open, not overly tannic, but nicely balanced, nice complexity and a 20+ second finish. I think this is drinking well now but will get better with time. 95 pts 1999 Klein Constantia "Vin d' Constance" This is a famous dessert wine from South Africa, apparently drank by Napoleon and Jane Austen. Well, this is one big bad dessert wine. 14.5% alcohol, but not extremely noticable. Bouquet was apricots, strawberries, a few cherries, maybe a hint of blueberry as well. This was a thick juicy wine, full of fruit, with incredible complexity, and at least a 30 second finish. Stunningly good, and you don't notice the alcohol until you've finished half the bottle before the dessert is even served... I would give it 97 pts, with potential for more, I think this could use a few years in the cellar and improve from even these heights. Best wine I've tasted this year.
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2/11/05 at 3:20am