At a very exciting event, “Rhone Odyssey, a Sensorial Exploration,” I had an enlightening experience that revealed to me the boundless beauty of Rhone Valley wines. Of course I’ve enjoyed famous Rhone wines like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and popular Tavel, Gigondas and Beaumes de Venise, but never had fully appreciated the breadth and diversity of Rhone wines, especially those from Southern Rhone Valley.
The Wines: Over 14 tasted, presented by renowned Sommelier Michael Madrigale $-$$$$
The Food: Exciting international creations by chef extraordinaire Russell Jackson
The Place: The Gymnasium, an event space on Mulberry Street in New York City that took us to Scandinavia, Japan, Mexico and back to NYC.
To dramatically express the exceptional potential of Rhone wines a four seasons, four place, tasting was presented with exciting foods and a multi-media environment with engaging visual graphics, sounds and real snow, rain and falling leaves.
Rye and Bulgur Crisp, Fat, Butter and Ash Malted Wheat Dirt Pickled Carrots and Brussels Poached Egg, Parsnip, Nettle Whey, Farmstead Cheese.
Served with two very delightful wines, a white, Luberon, Maison M. Chapoutier, La Ciboise, 2013, one of my favorites of the night, and a Red, Costières de Nîmes, Michel Gassier, Nostre Païs.
Yes that is snow falling.
I was expecting Geisha girls to appear, serving wine.
Kombu Cured Tuna, Rice, Egg, Pickled Vegetables, Nori, Smoked Kombu Broth, Fermented Tofu.
I would not expect to pair red wine with delicate Japanese like this but these were perfect Côtes du Rhône, Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Parallèle 45, and Crozes-Hermitage, Vidal Fleury.
Michael Madrigale, Head Sommelier Bar Boulud, Épicerie Boulud & Boulud Sud, Wine Enthusiast's 2012 Sommelier of the Year One of Food & Wine's 2012 Sommeliers of the Year
Wine on the beach? Yes I am down with that.
Deconstructed Mole: Poultry Roulade, Smoked Grains and Seeds, Rose Petal Mole, Tcho Bitter Chocolate, Pepper Raja, Chèvre Tamale.
With Mexican my pairing is usually beer, and if wine, I would usually think Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc or Zinfandel, but I learned that red wines like Gigondas, Louis Mousset, Les Trois Couronnes, or Lirac, Ogier, Notre Dame de Cousignac, are even better.
Food Network Chef Russell Jackson founded an underground supper club in San Francisco, where he uses local ingredients to create innovative meals. Cooking since he was 3 years old he is a true food genius and fabulous entertainer.
For desert we came back to New York City. With 3 delightful sweet dishes we enjoyed what is perhaps one of the best dessert wines in the world, Muscat de Beaumes, the bottles we savored were from Domaine de Fenouillet.
Modern Apple Pie, Wood’s Hudson Bourbon Barreled Maple Brandied Cured Apples, Cinnamon Crumble, Malt Vinegary Creme, Citron Confit; Modern Cheese Cake, Cheese Cake Curd, Vanilla Bean Gel, Graham Cracker Dust, Dehydrated Custard, SCDNYC Almond Black & White Cookie.
Are you excited, ready to go out and buy some Rhone wines?
Photo by Michael Busselle