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Crazy good wine match

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Frank Deis

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Crazy good wine match

by Frank Deis » Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:21 pm

I like Sauternes and I know it can go with a wide range of foods. The Czars drank Château d'Yquem out of crystal bottles with their Beef Stroganoff, and I've had it with lobster or shrimp in the past and enjoyed that. Sauternes with foie gras is a beautiful match, or with blue cheeses like Roquefort.

But people most often serve it with desserts, and sometimes it seems like a competition, which is sweeter, the wine or the dessert? And the wine can start to seem bland or boring. Last night I went to a dinner party and took a 375 of Ch. Suduiraut, 2001. The hostess made a cake which had alternating layers flavored with Meyer Lemon or orange. The sweetness of the dessert was subdued and the flavors were subtle, Meyer lemon can be very mild in flavor. Also Louise made her Alsatian Apple Pie -- in which the crust, the apples, and the spicy custard are cooked separately and then combined and baked to finish. It's a great dessert but it didn't have the same chemistry with the Sauternes that the cake did.

The 2001 Suduiraut had an orangey element in the flavor which was subtle when you tasted the wine alone -- I also noticed a little cinnamon, and honey, and the usual botrytis flavors. The wine had darkened to an orangey color. With a bite of cake, it was just spectacular, the orange flavor was like a neon sign. I don't think I have ever been so impressed by the sum being greater than the parts, great wine, great cake, but together, a nuclear reaction!

I've asked for the recipe for that cake but don't have it yet. Just couldn't help but mention it. I wonder if you guys have had the experience of finding a food match that just utterly improved the perception of the wine? I know that has happened for me on a lesser scale with red wines (steak and Bordeaux, Champagne and popcorn?) but it's hard to summon up specific examples.
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Re: Crazy good wine match

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:57 pm

I'll offer up a strange one: a thick cut of roast beef and a glass of ruby port. It's like the steak-and-cabernet thing but emphasized by the extra sweetness. (A very sweet wine would not work; you really want a modest cup for it.)
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Re: Crazy good wine match

by Frank Deis » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:19 am

Jeff, some of us are old enough to remember alt.food.wine. There was a flamboyant woman who posted on that, I think she presented herself as a "dominatrix" -- very colorful. But she insisted that people should try surprising wine matches and I think one of them was good Port with a hamburger. It always struck me as something that would really work, I like Port and I am sure it would match beef at least as well as the other sweet beverages people buy at fast food places to accompany a burger and fries. Coke, Pepsi, chocolate shake. She went on and said that no matter how much you like oysters -- if you eat an oyster with a glass of Port you will see how disgusting it can be…
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Re: Crazy good wine match

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:23 am

Oh, it's easy to come up with disgusting combinations. I once made the mistake of having calamari with rosso di montalcino: the one became tinny rotten fish and the other became sandpaper and dust.
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Re: Crazy good wine match

by Mike Filigenzi » Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:57 pm

I've greatly enjoyed some of the Aussie stickies with creme brulee. These seem to work together in both taste and texture.
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Re: Crazy good wine match

by Jenise » Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:11 pm

Frank way long time ago, like early 90's when I actually had a WS subscription, there was an article about a big Sauternes dinner in Los Angeles that assembled the cognoscenti of winedom as it was at the time, and many many bottles of Y'Quem were involved. The event was organized by one Bipin Desai, an Indian academic at UC Riverside famous for organizing major wine dinners in L.A. area, and the food was done by Wolfgang Puck. Part of the purpose was to showcase Sauternes with savory foods--I was enrapt, as obvious by my memory of it. I remember one dish in particular that the article described knocking everyone off their feet, lobster with green lentils, the little du puy kind. I don't think I'd even heard of lentils du puy before and apparently neither had most of the people there, let alone had they considered pairing such an earthy, peasant food as it existed in most of their minds with the most elegant crustacean at all--and then, with Y'Quem? Apparently, it was mind-blowing. I was overjoyed to find that dish a few years later on the menu at Postrio in San Francisco, Wolfgang Puck's second California restaurant--I ordered a glass of Reiussec that they were pouring by the glass. Yeah, it really was THAT good.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Crazy good wine match

by Jenise » Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:19 pm

Oops, meant to keep typing.

Anyway, my understanding is that sweet wine in France is often or even more often served as an afternoon aperitif--the sugar's probably a nice little rush for the system at that time of day.

And separately, I don't regard sweet wines as wine designed for pairing WITH sweets vs. one to consume instead of other sweets. I never really try to match it, and the kind of thing IMO that goes best with sweet wines if you're going to go that route is something like cookies where nuts, possibly fruit, and the ying-yang of salty-sweet can be built in--in a word, a cookie dough. And chocolate chip-walnut cookies with port (thank you again Eliot Apter wherever you are) and a complex biscotti with anise or fennel seeds, orange peel maybe, and some other chopped nut for Sauternes are at the absolute top of that heap.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Crazy good wine match

by Hoke » Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:29 pm

Some thoughts:

---Not at all uncommon to have sweeties served as afternoon aperitifs with savories.

--Sauternes and other sweeties go quite well with savory foods, I think. As always, its the contrast.

--Said it before but it's worth saying again: The Marquis de Lur Saluces (former long term family owner of d'Yquem) made it abundantly clear that he thought the best way to serve d'Yquem was before a meal with foie gras studded with cracked peppercorns.

--Jeff: once had the pleasure of a full nine course dinner served with nothing but ports and sherries. Amazing! Yeah, it was massive, and yes, you probably should wait till a cold winter's night to do such, but the food and wine pairings were awesome. Especially a rich, heavy but bright port with a venison pot au feu!!!

--I am leery of dessert matching with any sweeties. I prefer the Italian approach: either nothing, or perhaps a little mandorla hard cookie or a simple fruit and cake combo. One of the best dessert cakes with sweeties I've ever had is a delicious olive oil cake with a dessert wine.

--For some reason, people don't often think of it but caramel can go really, really well with some dessert wines, such as the Aussie stickies. As in, creme brule, caramelized fruit, caramel-topped cake, tres leches, flan, etc.
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Re: Crazy good wine match

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:03 pm

Hoke: Sounds wonderful, and rather decadent.

Jenise: Sauternes with lobster reminds me of the nouveau match of lobster with vanilla sauce. I had it once and it is very good, very simpatico, although I also think a small portion is sufficient.
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Re: Crazy good wine match

by Jenise » Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:23 am

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:Hoke: Sounds wonderful, and rather decadent.

Jenise: Sauternes with lobster reminds me of the nouveau match of lobster with vanilla sauce. I had it once and it is very good, very simpatico, although I also think a small portion is sufficient.


Jeff, when that combo was all the rage I did make a version a couple times--and yeah, I only made small portions. It's hard for anything to be too rich for me or nearly so, but that got close!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Crazy good wine match

by Bill Spohn » Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:39 am

Here are my notes on matching Yquem to every single course of a dinner.

http://www.wineloverspage.com/user_subm ... /3240.html
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Re: Crazy good wine match

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:09 am

Bill Spohn wrote:Here are my notes on matching Yquem to every single course of a dinner.

http://www.wineloverspage.com/user_subm ... /3240.html

Cinnamon stewed confit of duck... mmm. Got a recipe?
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Re: Crazy good wine match

by Bill Spohn » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:55 am

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:
Bill Spohn wrote:Here are my notes on matching Yquem to every single course of a dinner.

http://www.wineloverspage.com/user_subm ... /3240.html

Cinnamon stewed confit of duck... mmm. Got a recipe?



Sadly, no. The dinner was put on by Albert Givton at a Vancouver hotel and I recall both he and the chef saying it was among the most challenging for which they had ever had to create a menu.
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Re: Crazy good wine match

by David M. Bueker » Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:29 am

I was once served a young Fonseca Vintage Port (2000) with a beef short rib dish. It worked very well.
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Re: Crazy good wine match

by Jenise » Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:29 pm

Bill, wow, that was in '98. I remember reading your original post, and it's an even better read now, as I've had a few of the wines in the meantime. Love that you included the detailed food matches. But what really got me was your final comment, " I replied that the only funeral that would keep me away from an event like this would be mine." Laughed out loud, I did. Reminds me of a golf joke where some duffers are on some green next to a fence that's next to a road, and a funeral process goes by. One golfer stops and removes his hat, bowing his head. When the other golfers complimented him on his respect, he answered, "Least I could do. We were married for 40 years!"
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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