January 18, 2011

Dinner with George

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I had the distinct pleasure of meeting George Levkoff tonight, and got to know the man a little better while seated next to him during dinner at Pierre.

Lili and I were first introduced to George's wines at Caprice last year, where Sebastien and Jeremy paired the 2008 George Hansen Vineyards Pinot Noir with a selection of cheese like Bleu de Termignon and Mont d'Or.  I took an immediate liking to the wine, but it had a more lasting impression on Lili.  Being the smart businesswoman that she is, she immediately reached out to George and inquired about selling his wines in Asia.  So here we are...

Arlaux Brut Premier Cru - toasty, caramel, slightly oxidized. Lovely balance.

There was a trio of amuse bouche:

Foie gras salad

Poached qual egg with white cheese - by "white cheese" I can only guess they meant fromage blanc...

Purple potato purée with white truffle foam - very delish.

Goose foie gras terrine flavored with Pinot Gris wine; brioche with black truffle, paté / golden grapes - the foie was really yummy...and melted under the body temperature in my mouth.  Paté was pretty decent, too, especially with the chopped grapes.  The brioche on the side was amazing...

2008 George Pinot Noir Sonoma Coma - pretty sweet and fruity, with cherries, leather saddle, banana and mint on the nose. Very smooth and round on the palate. Medium-bodied to very little trace of tannins.

2009 George Pinot Noir Sonoma Coma - with 1/3 of the blend coming from the Hansen Vineyard, this was more mineral, leather, stronger/punchier, gamey, almost savory like cheese, a little alkali.

Diver scallops coated with nut brown butter, mashed new potatoes with mixed herbs and pink berries, red wine sauce - execution was perfect, and the scallops were tender and succulent.  I couldn't identify the herb but the flavors were familiarly Asian.  No doubt the red wine sauce was meant to be wine-friendly.  Sooo good.

2008 George Pinot Noir Leras Family Vineyards - nice and fruity with herbs and caramel on the nose. Very clean and pure fruit.

Venison; pear cooked in red wine, apple and quince purée, fine rhubarbe foam - I have always loved venison, and I shared with George that the best I've ever had was at Four Seasons in New York, which also happens to be one of George's favorite restaurants.  This was pretty tender and I wondered whether it had been cooked sous vide.  The other chunk contained brunoise of carrots and liver, which was just really, really yummy.

2008 George Pinot Noir Hansen Vineyard - minerals, savory, earthy, animal, cheese, smoky. There was a scent which took me a long time to identify, which George agreed with - manure. Around 300 heads of cattle graze next to the vineyard, so George believes that the grapes naturally smell of the cattle and anything that comes with them!  This is probably the first time that I can say to a winemaker with a straight face that his wine "smells like shit", and have the winemaker not get offended by my remark...

Les desserts de Pierre Gagnaire - we actually had a small selection today... only 4 instead of the 6 or 8 I'm used to seeing, but that's actually good news given how stuffed I was.

Not really sure what this was but it seemed like white grape jelly with a small piece of frozen Blue Curaçao, topped with more ice.  Really refreshing and lovely... just what I needed.

This was a very delish lychee soup, full of sweet, tropical flavors.

Lots of tropical passionfruit flavors here.
My least favorite dessert is the one with chocolate... I just can't handle it at the end of a big meal.
1986 Doisy-Védrines - orange blossom, acetone, apricot, honey and honeydew melons.  Very sweet.  Very delish.

I'm very happy to have made George's acquaintance, and look forward to drinking his wines for years to come.


The Resident Froggie said...

White cheese like in fromage blanc ? If it had a creamy, milky taste in between yoghurt and cream cheese and the texture of a light crème fraîche, that's probably what it was. How it makes sense paired with a quail's egg is a different question...

Peech said...

Aha! Froggie to the rescue! I totally forgot about fromage blanc... "white cheese" just sounds so strange to my ears!

Australia Wine Maker said...

These wine-inpsired recipes are mouthwatering!

Australia Wine Maker said...

Mouthwatering recipes. Wine can do wonder on these foods!


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