At the beginning of the month I received a phone call from a gentleman inquiring about hosting a French-themed dinner party in his home. I asked him about his “vision” for the evening, allergies & food dislikes he or his guests might have, and then I created some menu choices for him and sent them via e-mail for he and his wife to review. I followed up with him a couple days later to make sure he’d received the e-mail and he told me that they’d been looking at other chefs, but decided to hire me. (That’s always a great feeling!) After a few days of discussing the menu items and the flow for the evening, my clients decided on their final menu.
My brother-in-law, Jimmy, is a wine representative with Glazers Distributors. I often turn to him for wine pairing advice to pass along to my clients. For this event, at the very last moment, I convinced him to come along to the dinner party with me to introduce each wine course after I introduced the food course. What a treat for everyone!
Jimmy’s notes about this pairing: “This is a fairly new product in the famous Burgundy Region of France. The 2012 vintage is exceptionally rated at 94 points. Comprised of 100% Pinot Noir, you will find fresh fruit (Red Berry & Plum), subtle minerality & acidity will pair nicely with meats of all sorts.
After all the guests had arrived and nibbled on the charcuterie, they were invited to the dining room. The dining room portion of the dinner party started with a St. Agur and Beet Verrine.
Jimmy’s Wine Pairing Notes: On the nose you will detect aromas of fresh bread and vanilla. This is a full-bodied, rich, deep champagne with ripe apple flavors and a long creamy finish.
Jimmy’s Notes: The vibrant intensity of green apple and citrus fruit on the nose carries over to the fast of delicious white-fleshed fruits (pear, peach, apple.)
4th Course, a little respite for the palate:
Jimmy’s Notes: On the nose you will find the powerful aroma of tropical fruits (mango, guava) moving in the taste of sweet caramel and quince jelly, refreshing acidity of grapefruit and ginger.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, I was removing chicken (I searched EVERYWHERE for duck on Friday, and just couldn’t find duck legs, so we made a command decision to substitute chicken legs) from the sous vide and crackling skin with my blow torch.
Jimmy’s Notes: Fresh aromas of plum, raspberry, and nutmeg. These aromas follow through on the palate and are layered with subtle and delicate flavors of cocoa powder. This sparkling Wine from the Carneros region in California is a prime example of how Champagne & Sparkling Wines can be paired with even the richest, and complex of meals….such as Duck Confit.
Belletoile Brie, Comte St. Antoine, Raw Milk Cottonwood Cheddar
Jimmy’s Notes: This Champagne is elegant and sensual. Notes of raspberry, wild strawberry, and cherry lead in to a touch of dried fruits and pastry.
While the guests were slowly tasting the cheeses, I was in the kitchen rapidly whisking egg whites and folding them in to a melted chocolate and yolk mixture for the grande finale. You know I was happy, happy when I turned the oven light on to see this.
I neglected to capture a picture of the final plated course.
Jimmy’s notes: Intense ripe berries (wild strawberry, red currant and black currant) on the nose, leads into nutmeg and caramel in the mouth.
Having Jimmy accompany us to this dinner was truly an incredible added bonus. I’d like to see this repeated for future dinner parties. From the chef point of view, I enjoyed this dinner tremendously, and I didn’t even get to sit down and eat! I know that the guests thoroughly enjoyed the meal and had a fantastic evening.