I had the pleasure of attending a dinner put on by the American Wine Society in collaboration with North Berkeley Imports about a week ago at FIRE restaurant. The menu was set with five courses created by Chef Jakubiec and wines were paired with each course by Eddie Gilbert, Director of North Berkeley Imports. The twenty-four attendees had a range of interests’ and knowledge in regards to wine but overall the focus that night was to shed light on classic Burgundy producers and discuss what makes them so unique.
We were fortunate enough to eat dinner in the Bear’s Den (a private dinning room at FIRE); the mood was set early with the lights dimmed, glowing red candles, and a sea of glassware to accompany all the wines we were about to taste! The menu was amazing in itself too (honestly, what else would you expect from such a great chef as Chef Jakubiec).
First course was gougere puffs with hot truffle béchamel inside. Eddie paired the puffs with a 2013 Domaine Brigitte Berthelemot Beaune Longbois Blanc and it was magical! The acidity of the wine helped cut the richness of the truffle béchamel and elevate the overall flavors in the wine and the food. Needless to say, we were all excited to see what the rest of the night had in store because first course was so damn good.
Second course consisted of a steak tartar with grilled artisan bread and a dollop of whole grain mustard. This was paired with two beautiful wines that could not have been more different from each other, a 2014 Remoissenet Bourgogne Blanc and a 2014 Guy Robin Chablis ‘Montee de Tonnerre’ 1er Cru. Both wines are made with 100% Chardonnay grapes in a similar style but each expressed its individual terrior (essentially a wines sense of place) above all else. As soon as Eddie was done explaining a little bit about each producer everyone questioned him as to why he chose to pair white wine with red meat.
In America we tend to think red meat only pairs with red wine, well that is not always true. The acidity in white wine helps cut the richness of red meat making a great pairing (as long as you use a full-bodied white wine). Once everyone tried it for themselves I think they understood exactly what Eddie was getting at.
Third course was grilled sea scallops with celeriac mousseline, braised celery, apple and grated truffles paired with a 2013 Remoissenet Puligny-Montrachet and a 2014 Bouard-Bonnefoy Chassagne-Montrachet ‘Le Petit Clos’. Again, both wines expressed their individual terrior well and enlightened the delicacy of the dish overall.
Fourth course was probably my favorite dish of the night, braised Duroc pork cheek with roasted sweet potatoes, baby kale with a fermented black bean sauce! It was rich with a touch of bitter coming from the black bean sauce. Eddie paired this dish with a 2013 Philippe Livera ‘Clos Village’ and a 2013 Philippe Gavignet ‘Les Chaboeufs’. Both of those are 100% Pinot Noir and to be honest, they did not pair the best with the braised pork cheek. I think the bitterness of the black bean sauce threw the wine off a bit. However, on their own they both blew me away!
The last course of the night was a rather hearty lamb cassoulet with prosciutto braised flageolet beans, crispy lamb sweetbreads and fennel confit. This dish was paired with a 2013 Marius Delarche Corton Renardes Grand Cru VV and a 2012 Dominique Mugneret Vosne-Romanee ‘Alliance des Terriors’. These are also 100% Pinot Noir but these wines were more earth toned than the last two. I enjoyed them both but my favorite was the 2013 Grand Cru VV because of its unfiltered qualities. It was a more complex wine overall and I love wines that make me think about what is in my glass as opposed to just drinking it.
At the end of it all, I was overly grateful to have been invited to dinner with fabulous wines, great food and even better company! All I had left to say at the end of dinner was, “Thank you and when can we do this again?”
Until next time…
I would just like to say thank you for following me on my journey to become a Master Sommelier, it means so much to have your support. Please be sure to leave a comment and subscribe to my blog so you can stay up to date on all of my latest adventures!