Sunday, October 06, 2002
Chef Rôtisseur Norbert Bomm
Investiture and Shiraz in Chicago
A crisp Sunday October 7th was the day chosen for the Chicago Chapter’s Ordre Mondial Induction Ceremony and exploration of the Syrah grape accompanied by a Hunting Dinner at the Deerpath Inn in Lake Forest. Ordre Mondial’s Grand Echanson Shelly Margolis came into town to do the honors. The medieval setting of the old English hunting lodge was the perfect cadre and all necessary pomp and circumstance prevailed during the Investiture of the intronisés. Maître Hôtelier Michel Lama accompanied by Chef Rôtisseur Norbert Bomm then led us to well-appointed tables each of which had been named by wine region.
Vice-Echanson Manfred Raiser opened the planned event by introducing Johnson Ho, speaker for the evening. Mr. Ho displayed erudition whilst guiding us on a global tour of the Syrah grape. Chef Bomm’s hunting theme complemented the wine choices and the 1997 Io, Santa Barbara opened the tasting in North America with a fairly vivacious mouth that was satisfying on the palate without food and yet produced a velvety texture with the foie gras.
Traveling eastward the loamy, rocky soil of Stellenbosch north of Cape Town was described to be, perhaps, potentially the best wine-growing region in the world and particularly for the Syrah grape. The 1996 Harkenberg Shiraz seemed to have thrived on the iron as well as the 1200 ft. altitude of its sunny slopes. Chef Bomm’s noted mushroom soup fitted like a glove as the aroma from it mingled with the roasted nut quality of the wine’s initial bouquet. On the palate the rich and mellow soup was responsive to the wine’s crisp acidity giving the impression of a palate cleanser. We later found an intense clove/spice/cinnamon nose.
The masculine quality of Auguste Clape’s 1999 Cornas from the French Rhône Valley pointed out how rustic and traditional an artisan winemaker can be. The ‘cooked berries’ bouquet and good acidity again complemented the wild sturgeon and English pea purée as its chosen dish. Onto Australia next for the Russian wild boar pairing. Mr. Ho had chosen a 1998 Elderton Command Shiraz from Barossa. This wine came across as very viscous and port-like. There was a brawny facet to it and we wondered how it would be followed.
France came through with a 1997 Guigal Château d’Ampuis Côte Rôtie – of course! The burning hot, sheer slopes allowed these old vines, when coupled with handmade production, to burgeon into a succulent and intense result. Venison loin with prunes, allspice and pear could not have been a better choice. Remaining in the Rhône Valley the characteristics of the 1996 P. Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle handled the cheese course with precision particularly as truffled fingerling potatoes accompanied it. Whilst young and aggressive there was, nevertheless, a bouquet of toasted cherry followed by a mouth of dark chocolate and light spice. This observation reinforced the power of the wine when only 100% old Syrah vines are used in its production.
Back to California for the 1997 Petite Sirah Field Stone – the small grapes producing a jammy result. An Australian 2001 Hazyblur closed the tasting and Grand Echanson then inducted Chef Bomm into l’Ordre.