Grain Nobles, Steinsel, Luxembourg – 25th November 2011

An evening with the boys…

I first met Fernand Klêe in the early nineties, since then he has established himself as one of the leading figures in the Luxembourgish wine scene. As a sommelier, conferencier, wine lover, or just a fantastic guy to spend a few hours with. He is truly entertaining, warm-hearted and witty.

So when my friend Richard asked me if I wanted to join his mostly Norwegian gang on a “Friday Night Christmas Celebration” in the hands of Fernand – with food provided by Cookconcept, there was 3 things I knew right away. Yes, I would, 2) I would be first to arrive 5 min before the set time 7 pm, and Lorenzo was gonna be the last to arrive.

So, being early when you are in the hands of Fernand Klêe is not a problem. First wine was a…..I forgot – or wait was it the Bruno Colin ?. Second up a Domaine Leflaive, third a Marsanne/Viognier thing and then the Champagne…..and this was before the first half of the rest of the boys arrived.

After great amuses, oysters, spicy chili/choriandre soup, buffalo Mozzarella, Salmon etc. – and the arrival of  Lorenzo and a few others around 8.30. pm  (Italians are from a different planet – and thus have longer travelling time. Capiche ?) – the evening could (finally) commence…

The GREAT GREAT Fernand Klêe

A GREAT Blanc de blancs

First dish of the evening was this wonderful fois gras.

Terine of Fois Gras

The cinnamon on the apples just there, not too much, the brioche, classic. One of the best dishes of the evening. Sam – your terine is truly great. It was accompanied by…

On the rich side - which I love....

A classic great marriage...

What followed was an army of good whites, look at the producers below….all outstanding in their own respect. With the below whites we also had the following two dishes….

– and the dishes

The salmon excellent, – the soup with the loup de mer on the very spicy side. I loved the dish but I do not think it fitted the wines or visa-versa. The only wine to almost match it was the beforementioned Marsanne/Viognier.

As for the whites they were all fantastic, most notably the Puligny Montrachet 1.cru from Domaine Leflaive, what a nose, what a tour de la force….

We left the whites and Fernand now like a true wizzard – as if by magic – presented a young 2009 Echezeaux from Richard Maniere.

My favourite wine of the evening. It was only to clear the palate Fernand claimed – before the Bordeaux’s that would follow, but what a wine. Bourgogne 2009 is all I want in a wine, lovely sun, fruits, subtle tannins.

A true classic, Tertre Roteboeuf is a favourite among many wine critics, and I can see why. Second best wine of the evening – together with the Domaine Leflaive.

Now to all these reds we were served (twice) a wonderful rack of lamb with rösti and a mushroom ragout. The lamb was fantastic, the rösti right on the spot, the mushrooms lacked a bit salt and pepper and just slightly overcooked for my taste. My camera was absent during that dish and the cheese that followed. But trust me it was great.

The  biggest name of the evening was up next. The magnum bottle of the 1985 Chateau Ausone. One of the best wines in France….

This almost brought back memories to the early nineties where my good friend Jan Pedersen had a wine cellar to die for. I had the honour to prepare a dinner to go with his great wines on several occasions and the 1986 Ausone was a highligt of that period. Now 20 years later, the 1985 was still vibrant, still powerful…but deep down in my heart I must admit that it was no way near what I prefer in wine. I simply just prefer them younger. But what a privelege to try this kind of wine, and see how it matures and stays fresh and drinkable.

The cheese platter was accompied by a “lighter” 1995 Musigny.

How can you not like such a wine. Even though 1995 has proven a difficult year, these great drops – Grand Cru’s  – shows that with the right soft- and hardware you can still make good wine.

There was a few other wines, which were not shot – the fnal glass I got halfway out the door – a 2009 Chambolle Musigny (I think) from Henri Perrot-Minot in Morey Saint Denis. I shall give you a few impressions of the happy faces that was all around. Lorenzo is not in the pictures, he was busy dancing and remembering his disc-jockey days – some 20 years ago.

Conclusion:

To have such a vast number of great bottles in one evening could be considered too much for what one can digest, but actually it was not a problem. I woke up the next morning with a smile on my lips and no sight of hang-over. I thank you – Norwegian friends and Richard for letting me participate in this great event. I thank you Fernand Klêe for selecting the wines – your wit and knowledge is amazing. I shall just just mention that Fernand Klêe sells a large selection of outstanding wines and cognacs as well as a lot of accesoires and art from the shop in Steinsel. Do check it out. Especially here in December they have a large selection of Christmas gifts as well as tastings, starting 10th December up till Christmas. I know I will go for sure…..

*
“And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun,
The near and the dear ones, the old and the young”

John Lennon

*

http://www.fernandklee.lu/

http://www.cookconcept.lu/

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Marbella Club Hotel (Restaurant Club de Playa), Marbella – October 31, 2011

So happy to be back at this place – and more importantly happy to be able to show the missus this little piece of paradise on earth.  We could not have chosen a better day. Clear blue sky, an almost empty pool for the boys to enjoy and a not conpletely full restaurant. It was clearly the end of the season.

We were as always early, so we went for the bar, and the boys went for the pool. A moment of stress occured when I could not find my wallet with all the holiday money and then some. I went back to the car, but no luck. A strange looking person had just passed close to our table and the waiter had warned us not to leave bags close to the windows. So…what to do? The missus went back to the car to take a second look, while I drank a chilled beer, seeing some moment of distress ahead. But as most of the time…the worries were uncalled for, and the misssus returned with the wallet.

The boys already in and out of the pool were having the time of their life. I got to see Oscar swim for the first time, proudly showing off….

Oscar can swim...

and dive...

Emil having fun too..

The waiter at the bar, went for some huge towels….great service. Second beer and wine was ordered. Thanks for everything Carlos…

Before service...peace and quiet, except for the boys in the pool.

Roasted almonds and olives were handed...and eaten..

The missus looking for a drink and at the beautiful beach below.

As I mentioned in my previous review of this place, the lunch here is buffet only at a price of 70 eur per adult and 40 per child. Now that is expensive for Spain. But the quality of the buffet is second to none, also on this visit and the extras you want to order are all incuded. We ordered some pata negra ham and filets of grilled sole for the boys. I took a larger selection of goodies from the buffet than last time, and furthermore grilled slices of filet of Beef – and also tried the desserts. So we did not leave hungry. I think we arrived around noon and left some 3-4 hours later. During that entire period, we had been taken care of by the excellent army of waiters…especially my new amigo Javier Doncel who was just so damn good. Making sure everything was to our liking at all times.

Our table...just waiting for us to indulge.

The missus with Javier, the best Spanish waiter of 2011 🙂

Oscar with his Strawberries and cream...

Conclusion:

There is no way the boys could ever had eaten for 40 eur – not even combined lol. So the price for them was too much you may ask. Yes off course it was, but on the other hand they spend a perfect day in paradise, and if you compare to a day in Legoland or Tivoli I think it was a better deal. The mount of fun the same, the amount of stress for them and their parents – not to be compared….lol. This was heaven in that respect. The only amount of stress that day was the missing wallet. Even the 90 min drive home was managed with a big smile. I was glad we made the trip and the missus was impressed by it all. I do think that the food this time had minor flaws in compare to the first time, but some of it was to die for and I shall focus on those in my warm memories as winter is now approacing rapidly. So Javier, thanks for your attention. Looking forward to see you and your colleagues again, hopefully soon.

Bridge over troubled water....

Emil with a rare BIG smile....

My rating for this visit: Food 7.5p (10), service 5p (5), ambience 5p (5), 1 extra happiness point courtesy of Javier – Total Score 18.5p (20)