The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 87 of 126

july 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  85 (laughing) Don't worry; I've been trying to forget too! I have to admit that I will miss torturing, er, teaching you. And here we are at Manresa, home of the great chef David Kinch and three, count 'em, three Michelin stars. How many seat- ings a night? We only sit one party an evening at each table. There is no table turn here. So you are invited to dine as long as you wish. The menu is a prix fixe $235 per guest. Are there any upgrades for cuisine? Truffles, caviar? Not a one. David is very comfortable with each dish he sends out being the peak of perfection. We do have a wine pairing that is an additional charge. Again, there is no "premium pairing." We have a great wine list of a thousand selections that you are welcome to explore. What are the percentages by country on the list? The U.S. represents the largest at 35 percent. Of course, France is also a major player. We have all the major regions, but our forte is Burgundy, with an emphasis on Chardonnay. We are strong in the Northern Rhône and Loire Valley. Bordeaux? The Millennials aren't showing much love. When I first got here, there was almost none. But being a Michelin three star, I felt that we had to have a good selec- tion of mature wines. So we now have a significant option of those wines. I visited Bordeaux with a group of American sommeliers last year, and we had that conversation. They have a lot of work to do. The rest of the world is doing a spectacular job with Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends. Today we are tasting a superb example from Nick Goldschmidt: his Katherine Crazy Creek from Alexander Valley. What a classic profile! Ripe fruit, very clean, great balance. It really tastes great right now but has aging potential. People love this style, and quality, of wine. You have a real affinity for white wine here at Manresa. I would venture a guess that makes you fairly unique in the world of three Michelin stars. It says even more about you when we know that the high end of reds is much higher than the majority of whites. It's the menu. That comes first. David Kinch's menu of luxury ingredients features a large number of courses from fish, shellfish and vegetables. We often have a seven-course menu paired with five whites and two reds. I have to comment that a number of diners start off with skepticism, but the results turn them around. If you want all red, we can do that from the list as David's cuisine is so wine-friendly. I don't think I've met another chef who is as wine knowledgeable as he is. What is the corkage cost? It's $75 per bottle, and we won't allow anything that is on the wine list unless there is a vintage variation. Is there a recent food and wine pairing that you fell in love with? It's a poached bass with an artichoke barigoule sauce, grilled artichoke and, of course, the Kinch coup de grâce: roasted strawberry. We paired it with a dry Alsatian Muscat. Difficult to source, but worth the effort. People taste it and expect it to be sweet, but it's bone dry. What a great call! I seem to remember pouring you one blind before your examination. A good lesson indeed! How long will you stay on the floor? As long as I am physically able to do it. Age has a way of slowing us down. But I love every minute that I am on that floor. Especially here. What does Jim Rollston like to drink when it's his time? Riesling: Germany, Australia, Alsace, anywhere. I just love it. That's because you're tight with a buck! I knew it! (laughing) That may be true! What do we need to do to make the world of wine a better place? I think I'd eliminate the word "dry" from the wine lexicon. We don't really need to use that one anymore. It's only useful for a conversation about sweet- ness, but now it's used for everything else. It's been a long road and I'm glad to be at the end of the journey [of pass- ing the Master Sommelier exam]." —Jim Rollston, MS

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - July 2016