Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Three Latest and Best -- Wine Weekend Edition

Lunch at Elements: Ever a peaceful oasis downtown, Friday lunch in a perfect time to sit down at Elements and escape for an hour or two. My croque madam with a perfectly fried egg on top and greens dressed simply was the the order of the day. (Next time? I'm going for those beef tenderloin sliders!)

St. Vincent's Day with the Confrerie: Wow. Wow. While I could leave this post at that and everyone who was there would know exactly what I meant, I feel I should explain more. St. Vincent's Day (honoring the patron saint of winemakers) was a perfect occasion for a true feast in the French style with our local chapter of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, a wine society specializing in all things Burgundy. Chef Brad Gates' incredible short ribs were the centerpiece of the meal (providing the backdrop to the only more incredible Burgundies. The attendees themselves provided the perfect third component to a French feast with warm welcomes to old friends and new. (Brad, can I have a bucket of that lobster ravioli to go?) Salut a Tous en Saint Vincent, Patron des Vignerons indeed.

Jackson Estates at Meridian: And as if the weekend couldn't get any better, Chef Dan Dunville at Meridian outdid himself with a true wine-pairing delight. I've long held that some whites -- especially dry Sauv Blancs and Chardonnays can be the hardest wines to pair well, but they didn't phase Dan. A scallop with preserved lemon and a rich, cheesy risotto and tomato jam worked perfectly with the Jackson Estates 2006 Sauv Blanc -- along with the very interested 1993 version of the same wine. The 2006 was a real stunner. Winemaker Michael Patterson, fresh off the plane and only a little jet lagged, toured us through the next offerings, the Jackson Estates Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, both 2007. Dunville kept knocking our socks off -- first with a barramundi on a bed of gnocchi and tarragon beurre noisette (and a perfect, earthy bit of chard and capers) then with a lamb "sirloin" dusted in fennel pollen (with a Pinot?! Isn't that cheating?! Maybe, but oh, so good!) Even dessert had me for every bite -- along with the Petit-Manseng November Brumaire. Yes, yes, it's from southern France and not New Zealand, but it was great all the same. (Apparently the Jackson Estates dessert wine decided to take a trip of its own after it cleared customs to end up halfway around the world.) A shout out to Dave Davis of World of Wines who distributes Jackson Estate. Terrific job all around.

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