The Tasting Panel magazine

January 2014

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First Course After a little champagne to get the day started, we presented our panel with their first blind course, pairing the Régnard 2011 Grand Chablis with an albacore crudo, served with sea salt, radish and olive oil. Made from a selection of the best vineyards in Chablis, the Grand Régnard bottle is modeled after a 17th-century style. The Somms Say: "Tart cranberry with white peach and white flowers; a touch of spice on the palate, with bitter white plum. No oak and bright, clean florals balance an elegant acid finish with volcanic/soil-limestone minerality. The lemon zest and salt from the fish bring out the citrus and earth from the wine. The texture dances with the wine on the palate and hints of the olive oil with bitter radish really complete the experience." —Peter Estrada "The wine is toasty with notes of oak, high acidity and bright lemon. It pairs beautifully with the richness of the albacore and the acidity is a perfect match." —Dana Farner Second Course We found a perfect pairing for the rich, opulent flavors in Chef Fraser's lobster cavatelli served with sea urchin by pairing it with the Domaines Ott 2011 Clos Mireille Blanc de Blancs. With some of the world's most prestigious wines coming out of the Côtes de Provence, this wine is born out of the ancient shale/clay terrain at the famed Château Mireille. The Somms Say: "Tastes of a place, and smells of rock and gravel. Inviting with much depth." —Michael Ploetz "Slightly exotic with honeysuckle, minerals, Meyer lemon and cleansing acidity. The flavors of the wine match beautifully with the lemon and cream, but the real beauty here lies in the contrast between the two. At Nikita, this would be lovely with our insalate di mare, a beautiful dish that is usually difficult for just one wine, but this wine is multi-faceted enough to handle all of these varied flavors and textures." —Renee-Nicole Kubin Third Course To match the intensity of BLD's grilled quail served with bacon, lentils and served in a roasted tomato sauce, we threw in two wines for our panel of somms to blind taste: Delas Frères 2009 Cornas ChantePédrix, a 100% Syrah from the right bank of the Rhône, and the Pio Cesare 2009 Barolo, from the fourthgeneration winemaking family known for its innovations in Piemonte. The Somms Say: "The whole table agreed the Delas was a Northern Rhône Syrah with a slightly masculine and 'sausage' characteristic. With nice purity of fruit, this wine has great ageing potential. The meaty quality in the wine paired beautifully with the rich notes in the dish, especially the bacon fat." —Michael Hoagland "The Pio Cesare offers lots of sweet spice and vibrant — cherry she's a dirty girl! Horse blanket and jarred cinnamon paired with brown sugar. Lots of dusty notes with grippy tannins and bright acidity—definitely a wine meant for food! This is a lovely pairing, as the bacon really embraces the tannins and sends them off for naptime. The dish and wine are perfect together! At Bouchon, I would pair this with the white Alba truffle risotto—there's nothing I'd rather serve my guests than white truffles and Nebbiolo!" —Rob Harpest 58  /  the tasting panel  /  january 2014 TP0114_034-65.indd 58 12/19/13 9:28 PM

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