The Restaurant at Meadowood

900 Meadowood Lane

St. Helena, CA 94574

Tel 707 967-1205

March 2008

Meadowood is the posh resort located just off the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley. We arrived for dinner just as the sun was setting but did manage to get a few glimpses of the stunning property. The Restaurant at Meadowood had been closed for over three years, but was recently re-opened to much acclaim. The dining room itself is spacious and airy in design, adding to a relaxed country feel that will probably be most appreciated by readers who are accustomed to the frantic pace of city life, as I am. We opted for the Chef’s Tasting Menu, as I am always intrigued by trying to understand what makes a chef tick, and this menu seemed absolutely perfect for the wines we had chosen beforehand. Everything about this dinner was perfect. Chef Christopher Kostow’s menu was brilliant and consistent from course to course. The service was highly professional but never intrusive.

We started with Philipponat’s  1961 Clos de Goisses. It revealed delicate notes of mint, roasted coffee beans, caramel and candied apricots, with a delicate and highly nuanced personality. Though a beautiful wine, its best days seemed to be behind it. Still, it was a privilege to enjoy this deeply fascinating Champagne before dinner. Raveneau’s 1990 Chablis Les Clos was stunning. Smoke, minerals and citrus peel all flowed from the glass as this surprisingly opulent, rich Chablis continued to evolve throughout the night. It was an ideal match to the full-flavored, rich fish and seafood dishes on the menu, in particular the citrus cured Spanish mackerel, which was sublime. The foie gras and apple was incredibly delicious on its own, but even more so alongside a glass of the 1990 Chateau Climens, which offered an irresistibly sensual expression of exotic coconut, passion fruit, tangerine and mint. I loved the wine’s purity, understated elegance and sheer class.

I hadn’t tasted Rousseau’s 1993s in over a year, so it was great to get a progress report, although things haven’t changed much. These remain two exquisite Burgundies with another 20 years ahead of them, if not more. The 1993 Chambertin was a regal, aristocratic wine in every way. Still extremely primary, it offered up plenty of compellingly ripe, plummy fruit along with phenomenal length and beautifully well-integrated tannins. Though less extroverted and opulent than the Clos de Bèze, it offered greater elegance and polish. The 1993 Chambertin - Clos de Bèze presented a dark and more concentrated profile dominated by earthy and tarry notes that complemented its lush, generous fruit. This full-bodied, youthful wine came across as needing another decade of cellaring, but it was still magnificent on this night. Needless to say, it was great fun spending several hours watching these stunning wines develop in the glass. 


Cold smoked toro and Osetra caviar

Foie gras and apple

Citrus cured Spanish mackerel

Lobster and sweetbread

Crispy confit of suckling pig

Poached grass fed beef

Herve Mons Fourme d’Ambert



Philipponnat Clos de Goisses



Raveneau Chablis Les Clos



Chateau Climens



Rousseau Chambertin



Rousseau Chambertin - Clos de Bèze


[Photo and credit: The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, CA]

--Antonio Galloni