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"Uncorking the joys of wine dinners"


Gifted Gourmet
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article from the Chicago Tribune

wine dinners can be both urbane and modish, starting with a common theme and growing in multiple directions. The pleasure comes in discovering nuances in how food and wine interact, and along the way, picking up a little history, a little education, a few new friends. Done right, one leaves a wine dinner satisfied, full and warm.

those seeking wine dinners should focus on restaurants serving wines from one specific region, or better yet, wines from one vineyard.

'It doesn't make sense to jump all over the globe and over the board ... 'The palate has a lot of trouble going from Old World to New World to Old World. A focused tasting makes much more sense.'

If you are a wine dinner enthusiast, do you agree with the last statement about a "focused tasting"?

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Well, since my company Grand Cru Productions does this for a living, i do have my opinion on the matter...

i do believe in "focused tasting" to a point. i believe that a theme can be instituted without problem, you just have to use common sense. if you wanted to go from old world to new world, you might want to choose a cab based wine from bordeaux and continue into the new world cabs by place (wines that are easy to distinguish). dont jump from a Rhone to Burgundy to a califonia cab. you're not going to get enough out of the experrience. (in other words, if doign old world/new world stick to a varietal or blends thereof and if you wanted differnet varietals within your dinner stick to a general area, ex. wines of france, progress through them as you would a varietal menu, thus you still get your theme and the guests will get a better sense of place. when doing these types of dinners i always dumb it down a bit, even if customers are wine nuts, the wines more easily appreciated)

This is why is usually create my wine/dinner menus in a varietal manner. you can easilly go from sparkling, white, rose, red, and dessert if you want to as long as you watch the intensities and texture of each wine and very importantly the courses that accompany it.

i do not believe that focusing a DINNER menu to an all california cab sauv or all cab based bordeaux wines would be a good idea. this is something that is more reserved for a wine tasting with perhaps tiny palate cleansers/cheese courses. wine-dinner parties are invaribly less about the wine and more about the food, even if its a party strictly for wine snobs.

hope that all made sense, im coming off a 18-hr day, with 2 hours of sleep..lol...gotta love the food business

Edited by djsexyb (log)

Grand Cru Productions

Private High End Dinners and Personal Chef Service

in Chicago, Illinois

For more information email me at:

grandcruproductions@hotmail.com

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i believe that a theme can be instituted without problem, you just have to use common sense. if you wanted to go from old world to new world, you might want to choose a cab based wine from bordeaux and continue into the new world cabs by place (wines that are easy to distinguish). dont jump from a Rhone to Burgundy to a califonia cab. you're not going to get enough out of the experrience
.

Not to sure I am following you here ... can you elaborate further?

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I go both ways on this.

I do monthly lunches and have learned that having absolutely no specific theme works best - in blind tastings, the uncertainty tends to focus your attention and the wide range of wines teaches you more about wine.

In structured dinner or tasting events I prefer very specific themes - I'll be doing 1995 Bordeaux next week, for instance. You also learn a lot with such an opportunity to compare wines from the same area and vintage.

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I don't see a problem either way as long as the food is matched to the wine and vice a versa.

2 different types of setup: food to wine and wine to food.

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I organise wine dinners that are both focused on a theme as well as unfocused in regards to varietals or regions. I think the charm of wine and food pairing is finding those extraordinary matches that can only come about by experimentation.

Stephen Bonner

Vancouver

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

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I must admit that due to that nature of my wine dinners (all my wine geeky friends contribute wine, I do the cooking) - they tend to be a real-mish mash (I've got one coming up where there'll be a '94 Cheval Blanc between an old Riesling Auslese and a 2003 Grand Reserve Kendall Jackson CabS and I am a bit dreading the course selection - suggestions please if you have any!). And I find I really enjoy the skipping and jumping about the place...maybe because of my short attention span?!?!?

Last year or so, I went to a total Chateau Climens dinner which (speaking as one of the biggest Sauternes freaks in the world!!!!) even I found a bit hard-going towards the end! It just got all a bit tooooooooo much. But I still love Climens!!

Come to think of it, I've generally found wine dinners based on wine from just one vinyard rather heavy-going. For one thing, it does somewhat limit the food choices as well to a rather basic range (depending on the wine of course!).....

Even at a lovely dinner that I attended at Chateau Lafite (which had some really good wines), I was exceedingly grateful when we reached the pudding and a Rieussec came out (a '67 no less!!) to put an end to the 'March of the Clarets'. I think anyone would have balked at a Ch. Lafite with berry Charlotte!!! :raz:

The only "one-wine" meals that I have found really enjoyable are the ones I've had in Champagne - but since that involves moving between various styles of champagne one does get a greater choice of food and wine types....(but then, you have to 'put up' with vintage rose being served with dessert - not my cup of tea!!).

So at the end of that very long and boring post, put me straight into the 'jumping about' and non-focused camp! :smile: If I have to be focused, I'd much rather it be for a straight-forward wine tasting event, rather than with dinner.

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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