Thursday, February 11, 2010

Winemaker Lunch At L'Espalier

Gregoire Pissot of Cave De Lugny in Burgundy, France.

We were invited this week to Frank Mc Lelland's L'Espalier for a Winemaker Lunch with special guest Gregoire Pissot. Pasternak Wine Imports hosted this informative special event and it was great to finally meet Chelsee and Sue of WE ARE NOT MARTHA and Richard of THE PASSIONATE FOODIE, two of our favorite fellow Boston bloggers.

The dining room at L'Espalier.

Firstly, if you have not been to L'Espalier at the new location I can assure you that it is still the highest quality of dining. Some lament the romantic feel of the old location but this is seriously world class cuisine. The understated elegance is still there and the private room where we enjoyed lunch is still lined with those famous books in the shades of blue you'll remember. Even most of the artwork is intact.

The lounge area at L'Espalier.

The space contains all of the luxurious, inviting comfort you have come to expect from L'Espalier, where no detail is too small to be important.

We began with two small tastes. First was an amazing gougère of Vermont goat cheese and smoked sea salt. Next was house smoked Scottish salmon with crêpe and chive crème fraîche prepared as mini Napoleans. The wine served here was the Cave De Lugny Macon-Villages. Wine lovers should definitely check out their website.

The second course was Thai spiced shrimp with hearts of palm and uni vinaigrette. It was nice to see the pea shoots added here, one of our new favorite ingredients. The wine was 2007 Macon-Lugny "Les Charmes" Chardonnay. All of the wines from this producer, one of the largest in France are of the chardonnay grape with the interesting distinction of using no oak barrels in the production. The stainless steel vats result in a very noticeably cleaner, crisper taste that I would not have been able to decipher untold told the reason why. The fruity wines have a brighter taste you will immediately sense.

Roasted Apple Street Farm chicken with hedgehog mushrooms and pommes purée with green peppercorn jus was served with the 2008 "La Carte" and the 2008 Macon-Chardonnay "Les Beluses". The latter is not yet available in the USA but keep on the watch for this fantastic wine (my favorite of all). In general, all of these wines are reasonably priced, between $11 and $19 per bottle.

Pastry Chef Jiho Kim's Petit Fours

We ended with, of course, dessert. I have said before in previous posts that I consider Chef Jiho Kim, the Pastry Chef at L'Espalier, to be the finest pastry chef in Boston. The tastes are perfection and it's always fun to watch the childlike reactions that Kim's creations inspire. The colors, shapes and textures he imagines on the plate are, to me, works of art. Everyone stopped and just gazed at the plates. Some asked what those little piles were (which I think were some type of cookie crumble). In any case, it was just the whimsical delight that Chef Kim is famous for.

The ambiance and service at L'Espalier is impeccable, formal without being stuffy. The servers in business suits have the professional acumen that rival the finest Parisian waiters. In short, the entire afternoon was a very sumptuous introduction to Cave De Lugny and their excellent wines.

774 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199
Telephone: 617.262.3023

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