Chef and Somm: Jedi Level Wine Pairings

April 5th I was invited to a dinner hosted by Chef and Somm. This was the second time I have had the opportunity to enjoy a meal prepared by Chef Eyal Liebman and Sommelier Rebecca Meir-Liebman. You can read about my last meal here. Needless to say I was excited to have an opportunity to enjoy the meal and I did not leave disappointed.

The attention to detail was apparent with a pairing of Mooshmallow and Sparkling wine that greeted me when I walked in the door. What is a Mooshmallow? Chef Eyal has created a Marshmallow that has some savory components. It was paired with the 2015 Back 10 Cellars Smit-ten Sparkling Riesling. There’s a little bit of sweetness to the sparkling riesling, and even with savory flavours mixed in a Mooshmallow is still sweet. The pairing of wine and food essentially cancelled the sugar out. What you were able to taste was amplified flavours of granny smith apple from the wine and herb flavours in the Mooshmallow.

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A lot of people liked my photo of the Amuse Bouche on Instagram (andrewinereview). Zucchini, Feta mousse, Rose Gellé and Tuna Two ways. This was paired with a very serious 2014 Lacey Estates Gewurztraminer. This Gewurztraminer is bone dry, with a medium heavy texture on the mid palate. The finish on the wine is clean with nice acidity but the floral flavours you would expect from Gewurztraminer linger for a bit. This worked very well with the Tuna and saltiness in the Feta mousse. I even had to joke — Does it make me a grownup because I found a Zucchini dish that tastes awesome? Who are we kidding … even if I like this zucchini I am most definitely not a grownup.

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Right after confessing to everyone on Social Media that I was feeling like a grownup, the next course was served. I was presented with Chicken Nugget and Voluté of White Roots. I cant remember the last time I had a chicken nugget! This course is where the title of this post comes from. Paired with my delightful chunks of chicken was the 2013 Cave Spring Late Harvest Riesling. I am a vocal advocate for pairing Icewine and Late Harvest wines with your meals. So to have this beautiful wine with little nuggets of fried chicken was just perfection. What was most interesting about how this pairing worked was that the soup acted as a palate cleanser to help keep the sweetness of the wine from lingering too long. Putting wine and food together like this has got to be using Jedi powers of some sort.

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Beef Tartare with three wine glasses put in front of me. This course was designed to spark a bit of conversation at the table. 2012 Côtes Du Rhône, La Ligière – 2013 Kew Vineyards Marsanne – 2012 Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, Domaine Lucien Jacob. We were tasked with finding the best pairing with the meat. Personally I was a fan of the Marsanne. I don’t think we reached consensus in the room.

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Our next course was Demi Cornish Hen, Grilled Pineapple, Buttery Brussel Sprouts with a Rose Jus. This was paired with two great Canadian wines. The 2013 Wild Ferment Chardonnay from Southbrook and the 2010 Pinot Noir from Domaine Queylus paired with this meal. Full disclosure, the Chardonnay is already a personal favorite of mine. I’m going to be a little honest at this point. The wine and food went great together but my notes might be a little less detailed because we just had five wines with two courses.

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That being said it’s hard to forget one of chef Eyal’s desserts. Valrhona Dark Chocolate Poppy Seed Cake, Crispy Bacon, Valhrona Coeur de Guanaja Ice-Cream. This was paired with the 2012 St David’s Bench Cabernet Franc from Chateau des Charmes. Have you ever had a chance to try Chocolate and Franc? Should you have the means I highly recommend it. Just like the Dude’s rug in the Big Lebowski the bacon really tied the dessert together. Many bottles of Cabernet Franc will have a slight cocoa flavour so it’s no surprise that this cake and this wine would end up on a table together.

This meal in particular was almost a sensory overload. I am looking forward to the next time I get a chance to enjoy a meal prepared by Chef Eyal and Rebecca as they truly show what happens when you get the Chef and Sommelier working in perfect harmony.

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