The main menu — Beef Wellington: made with an Angus Beef filet mignon wrapped in crusty puff pastry, with sides of Lyonnaise potatoes and herbed baby vegetables with red wine jus. It was served with the E Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2004.
The restaurant at the Spanish Court hotel was buzzing with activity as the Laurent Perrier Brut Champagne flowed in abundance. Fun was had by all in attendance, whether it was just a group of friends hanging out or couples on a Valentine’s date.
What’s always interesting at events such as these is how they start out quietly, then as each wine is served the chatter gets louder, and by the time you get to the main course, you can hardly hear the person beside you talk.
CPJ pulled five French wines from their portfolio and worked with the Spanish Court hotel’s food & beverage manager and executive chef, Anthony Matthews, to deliver an impressive menu.
As guests were seated they were greeted with glasses of Laurent Perrier Brut Champagne. The Brut non-vintage is always the expression of the House style and, as such, it is the signature champagne. Laurent-Perrier Brut’s style is defined by its very high proportion of Chardonnay, which provides a natural purity, freshness and elegance. These essential characteristics, expressed in all our champagnes, are a good introduction to the spirit of Laurent-Perrier.
The appetisers of Pan-Seared Scallops with minted green pea purée, pancetta crisp drizzled with black truffle oil was served with the De Ladoucette Sauvignon Blanc. This is one of the varietal wines from the largest and most famous Pouilly-Fumé vineyards. It has been in the hands of the Comte Lafond and Ladoucette families since 1787 when the Comte Lafond purchased the estate from the illegitimate daughter of the French king, Louis XV. This wine is fresh and crisp on the palate with a nice, lively acidity. Fairly strong citrus flavours come through, but the core of the wine focuses on herbs and a limestone minerality.
The Salad Niçoise, made with fresh salad of lettuce, tomatoes topped with tuna and anchovy was paired with the Louis Latour Grand Ardeche Chardonnay 2009. I like this wine; still young, it has a pretty colour with green tinges. The bouquet shows toasted bread notes and in the mouth it is rich, big and smooth and lingers on the tongue; with time this wine will really unfold. Most just chugged down the wine without pondering at all — that’s okay too.
The main course was a delicious Beef Wellington. This was made with an Angus Beef filet mignon wrapped in crusty puff pastry with sides of Lyonnaise potatoes and herbed baby vegetables with red wine jus. It was served with the very yummy E Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2004. Châteauneuf-du-Pape roughly translates to “The Pope’s new castle” and the history of this appellation is in fact entwined with papal history.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wines are often described as earthy with gamy flavours that have hints of tar and leather. The wines are considered tough and tannic in their youth but maintain their rich spiciness as they age. This particular Guigal is a blend of 80% old Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre and 5% other red varietals. Deep, dark red. Spices and mature red fruits. Round tannins with powerful complexity. A rich unctuous wine with notes of mature plums, hazelnuts and red fruits. Very rich wine full of harmony and balance.
Our final course was the Poire Belle Hélène — poached pear filled with Chantilly cream. Served with vanilla ice cream. This was paired with a Whispering Angel Rosé 2009. While I love the wine and enjoyed the dessert, this wine would not have been my first choice. Wine and dessert pairing is always a tricky one. The “rule” here is simple, the wine must be as sweet or just a hint sweeter than the dessert.
A good evening was had by all; staggered reservation times for dinner gave guests the option of choosing their dinner time.
South Beach Wine and Food 2012
Today makes the start of the 11th annual staging of The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE in South Beach, Miami. The is a star-studded, four-day destination event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities. If travel plans have you in the area, do check out one of the events.