Excuse: 2 day seminar, attended by myself and a good friend who enjoys food and wine. Result: 8 courses paired to 4 beverages, 1 hangover. This wasn’t my first time with a menu of this scope, or wines of this caliber – but something – perhaps the reprieve of boredom from sitting through sessions on our butts all day – made this evening connect. I tried hard with the pairings – but I always do. Maybe I just got lucky on this menu. Whatever the case, it was fantastic, and here’s what went down:
First wine to pair: 2006 Paul Zinck Riesling Grand Cru Pfersiberg. I’d tasted it at the winery in Alsace, and scored it a 92. Found it here, had to try it. Fortunately, my geek streak left me with tasting notes to help with pairing: lemon and rock predominated on a dry structure.
First course: salmon sashimi. I always opt for the belly, which is in the center of the plate, but I was intrigued by the fat in the loin section, which are the foreground bits. The loin surpassed the belly – not a typical result. Yen put me on to fleur de sel to cut the fat, and this version had a light dosing of lemon and good quality olive oil. The lemon notes in the wine and the fish danced.
Second course for the white: salmon noodle soup. Fresh pho noodle, chive blossoms, lemongrass poached salmon, and broth. Simple, and parts worked well with the wine. Carbs and hydration were important inclusions in the menu.
Smoked salmon gummies on smoked salmon mousse. Still with the white. The texture from the cure was unlike any I’d experienced. Akin to gummy bears. The smoking was done in a flash post-alarm-not-going-off-pre-seminar. 25 minute smoke, so it was light, but the whole worked with the wine.
Seared but basically raw pronghorn antelope tenderoin with rutabaga and carrot, and horseradish. This method with antelope loin, nevermind tenderloin, is sublime. This paired with a 2003 Schulz Marcus Shiraz Old Vine, the best shiraz either of us had ever had. And my guest collects good Aussie shiraz. Smoothe, supple, alluring, concentrated, with lucious seared red meat. Man. Parker scored it 97, we were 98+.
Second course for the shiraz. Aussie shiraz has frequently given me cooked ginger and meat – ginger beef, essentially, on the nose. I wanted to go bold in flavor and asian. This is wok charred yu choy, with seared game, two textures. Both were marinated along the vein of Korean kalbi. First was calf elk loin, second was calf moose heart. We were both blown away by the heart – super tender and tasty. Best heart we’d ever had, and the dish rocked with the wine.
The next course with the red was a roquefort noir…but….having had lots of wine by that point already, I forgot to snap a photo. This course was paired with a Pelliterri Vidal ice wine: homemade whole-wheat bread with strasbourg foie gras mousse and compotine de fruits secs. Simple, rustic, but man does this classic pairing work. Anything sauternes/icewine/lateharvesty and foie gras.
Last course. Kind of. We went back to the antelope course cause it was so good. But finally, last pairing was with Williams Pear Etter. I paired it with a caramel sauce with anjoy and bartlett pears atop a creme brulee powered by vanilla bean from papua new guinea. The pairing, again, worked.
The denouement of the evening was a few crappy hours of sleep followed by a hungover morning of seminar sessions. In this case, a small price to pay.