Most people operate the other way. I’d guess most every restaurant does it the other way, as well. Plan the menu, then ask, “What wine would I like with that?” I just find it better and easier to plan from the standpoint of the wine. Food is easy to get. The right wine is a tad harder.
I have a pretty good collection of wines that I like, many of which are somewhat rare, aged perfectly, and ready for drinking whenever I want to call them up to the big leagues. I’m also a pretty good cook and visit my local grocery store frequently.
That math adds up to the fact that it’s easier to plan a meal based on a wine then it is to go find the perfect wine, at the right age, to satisfy whatever food I chose to buy. Wine stores are great and I am sure I could find a bottle that would be good. But would it be right? Better to select the wine, process what meal would be perfect with that wine, then hit the local Whole Foods. It’s less stress.
Enough of the emotional complexities of my meal planning. It’s hard being me.
On my most recent trip to France, I was fortunate enough to be invited for lunch at Domaine Trapet in Gevrey-Chambertin. Domaine Trapet is one of the great Burgundian wineries and produces a series of Grand Cru Burgundies that rival the best wines in the world. Yeah, they’re that good. So, when you run a vineyard and winery, make wine that good, and you serve food, it seems only natural to develop the menu based on the wine, not the other way around.
So, back to lunch. What was in my glass? How about a tasting selection of nine different wines, six of which were Grand Crus. You may wonder how find food to go with that incredible list of wines? Good question. I asked that very thing. The answer I got was,
“Manger comme un dimanche!” “Eat like it’s Sunday.”
So, we ate and drank like it was Sunday – even though is was a Friday. It doesn’t matter. Sunday or not, drinking the wines and eating the food was a religious experience.
-In the glass: Sonnenglanz Pinot Gris (2011)
-On the plate: Nothing. This wine was for saying ‘hi’ and for cleansing the palate.
-In the glass: Sporen Riesling – Grand Cru (2009) & Schoenenbourg Riesling – Grand Cru (2011)
-On the plate: Gougere – A baked savory choux pastry made with mixed cheeses
-In the glass: Gevrey-Chambertin (2011) & Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru (2011)
-On the plate: Jambon Persillé dijonnais – Ham terrine served with whole grain toasts
-In the glass: Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru (1996) & Latricieres-Chambertin Grand Cru (2011) & Chambertin Grand Cru (1996)
-On the plate: Boeuf bourguignon accompagne de pommes de terre ecrasees – A heavenly beef Burgundy served in a cast iron skillet with mashed potatoes (although these were slightly of the scalloped nature)
-In the glass: Sonnenglanz Gewurztraminer Grand Cru (2009)
-On the plate: Fromages de chevre de la ferme du Poiset et fromage de montagne – A selection of goat cheeses from local farms and mountain villages
In the glass: Café (2015?) – It can’t always be about the wine!
What’s the perfect meal?
It’s a solid question, and one that is nearly impossible to answer. Some would say pizza. Others, a nice and spicy Pad Thai. Personally, until recently, my favorite meal was Tortellini in Brodo or a big bowl of Calcio e Pepe. I am Italian, after all. After that meal, though, I’d have to say the perfect meal is the Domaine Trapet Grand Cru “Sunday Meal”…on a Friday.