Wine dinner with French wines from Frederick Wildman importer - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 02-09-2009

This year I chose to dine again at St. Jacques Restaurant during Triangle Wine Experience (Feb. 5-7). The owner closed off one room and catered solely to the TWE group of 29 people. A female distributor for the area (Belinda Reynolds) presented the wines. She had met with the restaurant owner a month in advance to taste through various French wines and choose which ones to contribute to the dinner and food pairings.

We started with an amuse bouche of pate on toast with a pickle bite and mustard. Our aperitif was Pol Roger NV Brut. It was lightly yeasty with a crisp, refreshing note. A steady narrow mousse of bubbles. Pale color. It was a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. 50% of the grapes are estate grown. The grapes that go into the Pol Roger NV Brut are rated at 95-100 points by the governing body, a higher rating than the grapes from most houses' Champagne. It is a blend of four different vintages aged in cellars for three to five years (cellars are about 3 degrees colder than normal for region.)

The next wine served was a 2007 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc). Handpicked grapes; biodynamic growing methods. Natural yeast. 12.5% alcohol. This was a very pleasant Sancerre that paired well with the divers scallops lightly breaded and pan seared on a quiche of goat cheese and spinach topped with lump crabmeat, shrimp and roasted red pepper cream.

Then came a seabass course with 2006 Olivier Meursault. The seabass had a crust of dried mushrooms (cremini and chanterelle with melted butter and a thin pastry coating.) This was served with sage cream risotto and and roasted yellow pepper cream sauce.

I really liked the Meursault--it had a creamy texture and some vanilla notes but didn't taste oaky. Some acidity balanced the creaminess well. A lovely, food-friendly wine. Grapes are from 850 foot elevation facing east, 40-year-old vines, marl soil lending to minerality. Great with seafood. Representative said that the present owner of Olivier Leflaive spent millions improving the domaine (and she also said the 2007 Leflaive wines are wonderfu.)

We had St. Jacques's usual palate cleanser of grapefruit and rosemary sorbet.

The main dish was leg of lamb slowly cooked with a Port and red wine reduction served with garlic mashed potates and brussel sprouts. The owner says brussel sprouts are the best vegetable for braised meats because of their natural sugar (still not my favorite veggie.) The dish was finished with a veloute and some rosemary accent for the lamb. The accompanying wine was the 2006 Paul Jaboulet-Aine Crozes Hermitage "Les Jalets" (I have tried this in other vintages.) Deeply colored. Lovely aroma. I was getting rapsberry rather than dark fruits and the presenter agreed on raspberry and black cherry as descriptors. Viscous texture. A little tart on the finish but a promising wine.

I neglected to get the vintage on the dessert wine, a Muscat Beaume de Venise. According to the presenter, the flavors reflected apples, honey and almond. The restaurant owner agreed, pairing it with cooked apples, brown sugar, butter, orange juice in a caramelized dish and then served in crepes.

I enjoyed all the dishes and all the wines which is not always the case at these wine dinners. My tablemates also raved about the food. Two couples were from Smithfield, NC and had not been to the restaurant often or recently but vowed to come back.

TWE benefits Frankie Lemmon School for children with exceptional needs. The following day I went to a tasting at Seaboard Wine and Tasting Bar which I will post later.

[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 02-11-2009).]

- hotwine - 02-09-2009

Very nice indeed, Wonders. Thanks.

- TheEngineer - 02-09-2009


Great notes again! I aways enjoy reading these. Jsut a quick question, for a wine themed dinner, three wines plus a Champagne seemed to be light on the numbers gtried. Especially with all the things that Fredrick Wildman brings in, I would've thought that a dozen wines...or is that wishrful thinking.

- hotwine - 02-09-2009

Have to disagree with Eng on the issue of the number of wines served. This was more like a vintner's dinner, rather than a wine-tasting, so three wines properly paired with foods would be about right IMHO.... more than that and I would go into sensory overload and not enjoy the meal.

- wondersofwine - 02-09-2009

We had five wines counting the Champagne and dessert wine (two whites and a red with other courses.) That's about standard for these wine dinners--I think the winery or in this case the importer/distributor furnishes the wines free of charge or at cost so that the charity can receive the bulk of the money from the purchased tickets.

- brappy - 02-10-2009

I believe Eng went to WW's Typin' school....

- brappy - 02-10-2009

Also, I'm in the camp of more tasting during dinner. Bring on the sensory overload.....


- winoweenie - 02-10-2009

Mikey makes me SO proud. WW [img][/img]