July 14, 2015

On Chablis and Food

in the form of a thank you letter to a dinner host

By In Food and Wine, Tasting Reports, Visiting Chablis
Dear Douglas

Just a word or two of thanks for hosting that excellent Chablis and Food matching dinner the other month. Apols for the tardiness in penning this letter.

I should mention what a stroke of genius to have chunks of the distinctive Chablis kimmeridgian rock on the table. It really linked that pure Chablis minerality right to the terrior, and brought back happy memories of my visit last year.

I was however a little perturbed when the young lady sitting to my right attempted to butter the lump of stone. She looked a tad agitated when I pointed out that the fine restaurant in which we sat was not in the habit of offering stale bread to its treasured guests. I suggested she attempted to detect the link between the wine in her glass – the Dauvissat Petit Chablis 2012 (The Sampler £23) served as the aperitif if memory serves – and the chunk of rock on her side plate. Her attempts to dunk the rock in the wine proved fruitless as the opening of the glass was rather too narrow.

Do you agree that ‘petit’ gets a rather poor deal in the minds of consumers? Rather than being perceived as a fine style of dry, steely, minerally, Chardonnay in its own right it is looked down on as a ‘lesser’ wine? Work beautifully with the crab beignets I have to say; and I’m not a huge fan of crab. (Unlike the other young lady sat on my left, who appeared to have dropped a couple to the floor and, to save embarrassment, concealed them in her handbag).

I certainly scored in the seating arrangements that evening having two thoroughly entertaining and interesting ladies sitting on either side.

I was hugely grateful that you served two differing styles of Chablis with the next course. My tour that I alluded to earlier involved a visit to Domain Christian Moreau whose take on Chablis is far removed from the ‘accepted’ – richer and riper in style with judicious use of oak. Akin to Chardonnays from further south rather than those from Chablis. Very similar to the Garnier & Fils ‘Grains Dores’ 2012, (Sommelierschoice £15.60) It would seem my palate revels in this richer, oakier style. I also thought it a joy with the Marinated scallops, cucumber jelly and avocado cream although both my immediate dinning companions thought the second wine, a youthful Louis Moreau 2014, (Waitrose £15.99) added a welcome blast of citrus notes to the food. Lean and minerally a great counter-point to the Moreau style.

Photo Gallery: On Chablis and Food

I can perhaps understand why my left hand side dining neighbour sat hugging the Jean Marc Brocard’s Montée de Tonerre 2011 (Wine Society £19), it is a mighty fine wine. Although, as I attempted to point out, the wine required a few degrees of chillness that wrapping in a delightful woollen scarf would remove.

Having visited Jean Marc Brocard’s estate I regaled all at my end of the table with a highly entertaining tale of my attempts to photograph their checkered floored cellar (the photo formed part of my ARPS panel) and the estates neighbouring Church Saint Claire Prehy while being pressured for time and in rather desperate need of the toilet. Such tales inevitably provoke such urges on those listening as my end of the table was rapidly empty.

Still, this gave me a chance to enjoy another glass of the Val de Mercy’s Beauregard 2012 Premier Cru (The Sampler £19.80), which provided a nuttier edge matching the macadamia nuts in the ‘Tartare of Trout with poached apple, nettle purée, macadamia nuts and trout eggs’.

Having spied the menu I was thoroughly interested in how a white wine would match up to ‘Roasted quail, cannelloni of the leg and foie gras, sweetcorn, hazelnuts, pickled mushrooms and wild garlic’. Remarkably the two Grand Cru Chablis that were served – the oak-stroked William Fevre Grand Cru Les Clos 2012 (Berry Brothers £75) and the old vine Samuel Billaud Grand Cr Les Preuses 2013 (Berry Brothers £55) were rather good matches; a joy to sample each with such a complicated dish where one would normally scurry over to the red wine shelves for a match.

At this point you may recall that I had to make a hurried exit. Not solely due to the small rock pile my returned neighbour was constructing from a foraging mission up and down the table but mostly due to that ‘last train home’ panic. Those of us who reside in the far reaches of Oxfordshire experience such panics quite often on trips up to that London.

Once again my friend, I send huge thanks for hosting and inviting an out-of-towner to such a marvellous event. I finish with a photo of the cellars at Domaine Vincent Dauvissat, a notoriously reclusive and highly revered wine maker whose cellars I was lucky to visit during my visit last year.


Cellars at Domaine Vincent Dauvissat

The Chablis Gastronomy and Geology Dinner was held at The Chancery Restaurant, London. For another taken on the evening please see the post on Hot and Chilli.

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Top :: Comments

  1. Very funny … an off-the-wall blog post on my favourite wine, Chablis, which I really enjoyed. The post that is – not the wine – as I wasn’t there. (more’s the pity).

    • Andrew Barrow July 14, 2015

      thanks Claretgirl; glad you enjoyed it and shame you were not at the dinner, it was rather fun!

  2. plushposhprecious July 14, 2015

    Very fine prose from the best nose…
    And the colour of the Newcastle Ale is… brown!

  3. hugging the wine bottle? buttering the rock? Hmmm…. Your left side neighbour is fabulous! Love her!!! Great Post Andrew and thanks for mention. R

    • Andrew Barrow July 14, 2015

      🙂 I might, how do you say, have been a little liberal with the truth…

  4. Red Stained Feet July 15, 2015

    Since moving to Australia, there are very slim pickings as far as Chablis go. The general quality of the wine is exceptional with much greater variations between terroirs than I have been used to. The Federal government also triples the price of any alcohol with huge taxes. Do yourself a favour and track down a Leeuwin Art series chardonnay if you can!

  5. Whoops, not sure if I should be embarrassed to admit I have zero knowledge of Chablis or wine in general!


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