What would be better than a leisurely, specially made lunch at one of Calgary’s finest new restaurants?
How about a lunch specially made to go with 10 Bordeaux and Sauternes pairings?
I previously wrote about the French Winemaker’s Lunch hosted by Rush Restaurant on 9 Ave.
The award-winning eatery has a strong focus on wine, as well as top-class food, and this pairing couldn’t have been more perfect.
I’ll admit to being a Bordeaux neophyte, and my previous Sauternes experience has been whisky finished in barrels that housed the sweet wine. So what better crash course than from the people responsible for these sought-after wines?
The top-notch food at Rush, prepared by chef Ray Bear and his able crew surely helped as well.
Rush recently hosted a French winemaker’s lunch, offering a taste of some exquisite wines and how they pair with some of the city’s best food.
So how did it all play out? Does “deliciously” cut it? No? OK.
What I found interesting about the lunch was the dual wine pairing. Each course featured two wines that played off the food differently.
The afternoon out of the office (and is there any better phrase than “afternoon out of the office?”) started with a glass of the 2010 Petit Guiraud Sauternes, sweet and bright with orchard fruit, apricots, but also honey. A nice taste to awaken the palate.
The lunch kicked off with wild boar and mushroom ravioli, topped with mushroom froth and shaved Grana Padano, paired with a 2009 Les Hauts Du Tertre and a 2008 Chateau Giscours, Grand Cru Classe. The dish itself was rich, but featured the earthy spring flavours of green peas scattered about the plate, and the mushrooms and the boar didn’t compete on the palate. The 2009 Hauts Du Tertre was buttery and complemented the pasta, while the 2008 Giscours was more tannic (suited for possibly another 10 years aging, winemaker Didier Foret told us), and cut through the richness of the plate.
After the ravioli, they brought out the big guns, both the food and the wine: Elk tenderloin accompanied by sunchoke puree, carros, savoy, butter beets and a rosemary-juniper jus, paired with a 2005 Chateau Du Tertre and a 2005 Chateau Giscours Grand Cru Classe. The elk was rich and tender, seared perfectly. And all the earthy flavours on the plate matched very well with the earthiness of the wine. Of the pair, the Chateau Du Tertre was the more mellow, blending into the silkiness of the sunchoke puree and the buttery elk meat. It was the more instantly drinkable of the two as well. That’s not a knock against the Giscours, mind you. While it could still age for another 10 years or so, its tannins stood up to the game.
The most playful course, and interesting pairings was in the cheese course, a grilled Camobozola brioche. This delicious little cheese bread had a beautifully creamy dollop of blue brie in the centre, served with a pear compote. I could have eaten three courses of this and left happy. This was paired with a Bordeaux, the 2000 Charteau Giscours Grand Cru Classe and a Sauternes, the 1989 Chateau Guiraud 1er Cru. On the Giscours, Foret said “the wine can talk for me,” adding the “beautiful vintage” is at the beginning of its “real life”. The 2000 was a great vintage for Margeaux (I had to look it up), and this is an amazing wine, with mellow tannins that cut through the richness of the Cambozola. Meanwhile, the 1989 Guiraud, with all its marmalade jamminess, played off of the sweetness of the fruit and the cheese. This would be the perfect dessert course for people who don’t like dessert.
But they still had dessert coming — a roasted peach, pecan tarts with sour cream ice cream and candied sage. This came paired with the 2003 Chateau Giraud 1er Cru Sauternes. Fiona Perrin, brand ambassador for the winery said this is one of their vintages with the “most age potential,” but it is certainly drinkable now. And it’s certainly drinkable with this dessert, the sweet fruit of the wine matching the sweetness of the fruit and the creaminess of the ice cream. And how did I JUST find out about candied sage?
Cue food coma. And kudos to Lanigan & Edwards Wine Merchants for bringing the wine, and winemakers, to the table.
There are many restaurants, bars and liquor stores that are offering events featuring specialty menus prepared to showcase a winery or brewery. I try and keep people abreast of as many as I find out about, but keep your eyes peeled.
These are typically well-thought-out event designed to highlight both the food and the beverage.