Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lunch At L'Espalier

We enjoyed a very elegant luncheon recently in the private library at L'Espalier as the guests of Pasternak Wine. The wines featured were all from Chateau La Nerth, a French winery which operates 3 properties and is long on tradition. On hand to speak in-depth about the wine was Export Manager Christophe Bristiel (seen here, left).

For an Aperitif, we enjoyed a 2010 de Montezargues Tavel Rose made with 8 grapes. This was a very nice wine, indeed, to begin with. I should say that all of the wine pairings were excellent and a great introduction to La Nerthe although I did like some a few better than others.

Our first course was the Fisherman's Daughter shrimp with Apple Street Farm heirloom tomatoes, cucumber ice and basil seed "caviar". This course was matched with a 2010 Chateau La Nerth Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc and a 2009 du Pape Blanc "Clos de Beauvenir". The shrimp was nice and my favorite sip was the Clos.

Our main course was this succulent Colorado rack of lamb, herbes de Provence, black garlic, fennel purée and Apple Street Farm baby carrot. Apple Street Farm is the farm about 30 miles outside the city owned by L'Espalier Chef Frank McLelland.

The lamb was paired with a 1982, 1986 and 2001 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge. My favorite was the 1982.

The Grand Fromage cheese plate was exactly what one would expect from L'Espalier, the perfect blend of cheeses, dried fruit and nuts to end the meal. Again, 3 wines were paired here: 1999, 2000 and 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge Cuvee des Cadettes. My favorite was the 2000.

The highlight of the luncheon may have been this 1995 Fin de La Nerthe. Over 15 years old, it has never been imported to the U.S.A. before. We were the very first to experience it and was was sheer heaven.

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