The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2011

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Page 89 of 128

Chandon Takes the Heat I f you thought bubbly was only for delicate drinking, think again. The F&B team at Domaine Chandon is on a "champaign" to bring its sparkling wines onto the hot and spicy dinner table. Catching up with the cross- cultural references that many other reserved wines have embraced, the winery, known for its fine-dining Étoile restaurant, is spreading the word that bubbles can find a happy place alongside exotic ingredients, ethnic dishes and hard-to-match foods such as asparagus. At a recent promotional event in New York City, Étoile Executive Chef Perry Hoffman and Chandon's head sparkling winemaker, Tom Tiburzi, led wine professionals through a gamut of tastes—from smoky depths to fruity high notes. "It's a fine line working those yeasts with direct pairings," said Tiburzi, adding that the challenge was to keep flavors intact. A successful ingredient pairing? A stone fruit panzanella with Chandon Blanc de Noirs—a fresh combination the winemaker calls "sum- mer in a glass." Chandon farms its three varieties—Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier—sus- tainably on 1,000 acres in the Yountville, Carneros and Mount Veeder appellations. Chef Hoffman changes the menu at Étoile sea- sonally, taking advantage of the "what grows together goes together" philosophy. —L. B. Inherent Heritance A Étoile Executive Chef Perry Hoffman (left) and Domaine Chandon's head sparkling winemaker, Tom Tiburzi, toast a successful pairing. fter 39 years of being the man behind Stags Leap District winery Clos du Val, Bernard Portet has created his own label: Heritance. Raised in Bordeaux (his father was a director at Château Lafite), traveling the world and eventually settling in Napa Valley, has culminated in a lifetime of understanding his craft; throughout his career, the winemaker has produced wine on four continents. His latest endeavor is an assemblage Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc: blending wines from different varieties and ter- roirs from the Napa Valley. Napa Valley wine pioneer Bernard Portet tastes us on his latest wine, Heritance. Heritance 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $28) is awash with dense blackberry and spreads an inky carpet that leads a rounded path from daring start to big-bodied middle to spicy end. Heritance Sauvignon Blanc (SRP $18) offers that same clean approach, tex- tured with weight of peach and lanolin mid-palate and finishing with a cleansing lemon chiffon. The result? The food melts away with each sip—the desired effect of a wine's best work. —Meridith May december 201 1 / the tasting panel / 89 PHOTO: MERIDITH MAY

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