October 24, 2011

MNSC Rhone Trip Day 2: Two vignerons in the north

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After a rather sleepless night, the focus this morning was firmly on breakfast.  Breakfast at Troisgros is a serious affair, and I was certainly not going to miss it!

The basket of pastries included the brioche aux pralines, which was as fragrant from the hazelnuts as it was sweet from the sugar.  The savory selections included three different sausages: a boudin noir with beef tongue, another boudin with pig’s ears, and a saucisson.  Doesn’t take much to make me a happy man in the morning…

We bid farewell to Maison Troisgros, and headed south into Rhône valley to begin our tour of the domaines.

Our first stop was Domaine Georges Vernay in Condrieu.  Details of the visit are here.

Lunch was at Georges Vernay, catered by a chef.

Foie gras en papillote - big chunks of delicious foie gras on toast, with caramelized figs in between.  Very delish, and I finished this in no time.

Dinde sot-l'y-laisse - amazing to get a collection of "chicken oysters" but these are actually from turkeys.  Very yummy.

Panna cota avec ananas de Madagascar - dunno if it's the pineapple or the vanilla in the panna cotta that came from Madagascar...  In any case this was really sweet but really delicious.  Loved the candied pineapple.

1990 Georges Vernay Condrieu - wow! First time for me to taste such an old Viognier! Nose of straw, beeswax and a little honey. The floral notes are long gone. I have a new appreciation for how this grape varietal ages.

1997 Georges Vernay Côte-Rôtie Maison Rouge - Christine's first vintage after entering the business. A little smoky, minty, smoked meats. Very lovely.

After lunch, we headed to Tain l’Hermitage for our second visit of the day.  We arrived early and had a little extra time on our hands, so I asked to stop at the Valrhona Boutique.  I figured that since we were here, I might as well pick up a few things from where the chocolates are made.

There was a bewildering array of chocolates, and I honestly am not up to speed on my Valrhona.  After making a quick tour of the premises, I focused on a selection of single origin bars from the 2011 harvest.  I didn’t realize that, like wines, you could have millésimes for chocolate…

Our second visit was to Domaine JL Chave, one of the best properties in Hermitage.  Details of the visit are here.

After our surprisingly wonderful visit with Chave, we moved to Valence and checked into Maison Pic, where we would spend the next two nights.  Apparently the hotel actually does not accept guests on Monday night, but made an exception for us…

Dinner tonight was at 7 par Anne-Sophie Pic, the casual bistro in the hotel.  The restaurant was extremely busy and full, since it offers high quality food from the only female 3 macaron chef at an affordable price.

We started with some nibbles:

Pâté en croûte - very good stuff.


Cream of butternut squash with coffee foam - kinda interesting...

L'oeuf bio moelleux, moules de bouchot, légumes de saison, sauce émulsionnée au safran - pretty good.  The slow-cooked egg has a very viscous yolk.  The julienne of veggies has tiny little mussels mixed in, and the sauce was very delish, as the acidity was just what was needed.

Les pâtes fregola sarda, préparées comme un risotto, champignons de saison, crème de cèpes - very, very yummy... just like a mushroom risotto, but fregola is a little chewier in terms of bite.  Love the flavors of fall mushrooms.

Chocolate and mint with ginger ice cream

Given our visit to Chave earlier in the day, the choice for wines tonight isn't very surprising...

2006 Roulot Meursault 1er Cru Charmes - very smoky and toasty nose.  Ripe and a little alcoholic.

1998 Chave Hermitage Cuvée Cathelin - spices, dried herbs, minty with grilled meats.  Still very tannic and not ready.

1995 Chave Hermitage Cuvée Cathelin - sweeter, black fruits like prunes, dried herbs.  A little sharp on the nose.  Much better on the palate.

1 comment:

Michelle Chin said...

Foie gras on toast. Wah wah wah wah! I also want!


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