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Adventures in Wine Pairing Part II: Haute Cuisine by Chef Scott

August 3, 2010
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Scott is a passionate chef, and wine guy, and this was my first chance to sample his cooking. I was duly impressed.

Back at the end of April, I wrote a piece here called “Adventures in Wine Pairing Part I,” describing the, mainly successful, wine and food pairings when our buddy Dan cooked for us with wines he’d selected, and that we added to. Dan was on hand for this feast too, and I note that we learned a bit from that experience and dialed back on the number of wines. Good move. I think we still opened too many bottles–9 for 6 people–but we’re trending in the right direction.

As on that occasion, Chablis figured into the mix, and our first course, black cod with fava beans and chanterelles, went beautifully with the Chablis–an ’03 Raveneau and ’04 Fevre. Scott solicited from us wines we were interested in bringing, and I mentioned the ’99 Musar, which I love, and that I like to check in on at least a couple times a year (the reason I snapped up over 2 cases some years ago). So Scott did a version of a lamb dish that has been part of his repertoire for awhile to go with the Musar. Since the cepes were amazing at the farmers market that day, Scott grabbed more than he’d planned on getting for the crepinettes, which yielded the raw material for our spur of the moment third course, a spectacular cepes gratin. We hadn’t exactly planned wines for that–we might have gone for some aged Burgundies had we known–but Scott had some lovely Italian wines on hand that filled in nicely with our cepes. A ripe Epoisses was ready as our cheese course, and a very nice Geantet-Pansiot Gevrey-Chambertin accompanied its Burgundy dairy cousin. We ended with a Sauternes, a Doisy-Daëne, which stood between youth and maturity, much like we were on the verge of a full night of eating and sleep. For more specifics on how the wines went with Scott’s creations, see below.

Moscato starter

This is definitely one of the best Moscatos I’ve ever tasted. Very complex and flavorful, and well balanced for a Moscato, this was a nice entry to a flavorful dinner.

  • 2009 La Spinetta (Rivetti) Moscato d’Asti Bricco Quaglia – Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d’Asti
    Light lemon yellow color; lovely green melon, floral, white peach, ginger nose; tasty, green melon, honeydew, ripe green apple, lime cream palate with good balance; medium finish 91+ pts. (91 pts.)

Chablis Flight

Of our two Chablises, the Raveneau’s reduction put me off a bit, and the Grand Cru Fèvre from a great year, ’04, was much more open for business. They both complimented the pastis and lobster reduction, with its minerally and anise flavor, and the black cod dish was delicious.

Black cod with favas and chanterelle mushrooms with lobster stock and pastis reduction sauce

  • 2003 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre – France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
    Light medium golden yellow color; reduction, lemon, grapefruit peel, mineral nose; reduction, tart lemon, mineral, lemon peel, green herb palate; medium-plus finish 92+ pts. (92 pts.)
  • 2004 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros – France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru
    Light golden yellow color; lemon, lanolin, butterscotch nose; tight, tart lemon, baked lemon, chalk, mineral palate with a touch of salinity; medium-plus finish 93+ pts. (93 pts.)


For this inventive dish, we took the pot au feu in the mini Staub pots and released it into our bowls containing the lamb “popsicles” and crepinette. And the anise flavor from the pastis and lobster reduction was echoed by the Musar with this dish. This was a pretty youthful sample of the Musar yet, but it’s definitely a good foil for lamb, and I was quite pleased with the pairing, which brought out the dried fruit and plum flavors in the Musar, and the minerally, savory qualities of the lamb and meticulously crafted crepinette. Awesome dish!

lamb two ways: pot au feu and roasted rack with crepinette, marble potatoes, in lamb stock with horseradish and oregano vinaigrette

  • 1999 Chateau Musar – Lebanon, Bekaa Valley
    Bricking medium dark red violet color; lovely plum, dried red fruit, anise, bittersweet chocolate nose; tasty plum, berry, anise, tart black fruit palate; medium-plus finish 93+ pts. (93 pts.)

Mystery Red

While Scott was preparing our impromptu third course, he opened a mystery wine for us, and Dan and I were guessing a very good domestic Pinot with some stem inclusion, either a Rhys Pinot or an Anthill. Scott gave us several multiple choice questions, and we pretty much answered wrongly to most of them. It turned out to be this very good Sicilian wine from the slopes of Mount Etna. How could we not have identified this blend of the Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio grapes? Doh! A small portion is from pre-phylloxera 140-year-old vines, and the rest of the vines are 40-50 years old, growing midway up the mountain, at 2100-2300 feet above sea level. Impressive wine, which I’d like to try again in two to three years.

Barbaresco and Barolo

This cepes gratin was a thoroughly sexy dish, and it would have been hard for any wine to share the limelight with it. Nonetheless, these two Nebbiolo based wines were tasty on their own, and very complementary to the savory cepes. I particularly enjoyed the Domenico Clerico, which continued the anise theme for the evening with its own hint of anise on the nose. The Sottimano Barbaresco was also impressive in its own way, and I can only describe it as sculpted, showing depth and minerality along with excellent structure.

fabulous cepes gratin

  • 1999 Sottimano Barbaresco Currá – Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
    Dark red color; tart red fruit, cherry, tar nose; tasty, sculptured, tart red fruit, tar, mineral palate with depth; medium-plus finish 92+ pts. (92 pts.)
  • 2003 Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra – Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Medium dark red color; nice cherry, tart cherry, anise, lavender nose; tasty, tangy, tart black fruit, tart cherry, mineral, plum, graphite palate; medium-plus finish 93+ pts. (93 pts.)

Burgundy and Epoisses

What goes better with a ripe Epoisses than its vinous neighbor, red Burgundy? This was a lovely combination, and the Geantet-Pansiot was surprisingly approachable for such a structured vintage, although it has many years ahead of it yet.

  • 2005 Geantet-Pansiot Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
    Dark red violet color; deep, tart red fruit, mineral nose; tasty, tart red fruit, cranberry, raspberry, mineral, green herb palate; medium-plus finish (92 pts.)

Sweet finish

We didn’t exactly need any more wine at this point, but there’s always room for dessert wine, right? The 375 ml format of this wine had helped advance the aging to the point where this drank like a somewhat mature Sauternes, showing depth and creme brulee goodness. A pleasing last sip to a thoroughly enjoyable meal.

  • 1995 Château Doisy-Daëne – France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
    From 375 ml – medium orange color; botrytis, apricot nose; tasty, coconut, creme brulee, apricot palate; medium-plus finish (92 pts.)

Scott describing his technique for sculpting lamb popsicles

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 4, 2010 11:02 am

    La Spinetta has been making (what I think) is the best Moscato d’Asti for more than a dozen years. Almost all others are too sweet/flabby/dreck.

  2. August 6, 2010 8:20 am

    Wow, what a cool dinner!
    Scott is quite the chef and the wine connoisseur! I’ve documented his creations a couple of times on my blog as well.
    I am glad that I inspired Mr Hill for the Etna wines (let’s take some credit for that :). I definitely Etna’s Nerello Mascalese is on a roll.
    The W. Fevre 2004 Bougros is a great wine indeed – I’ve had it 2 or 3 times now, and luckily have a couple more bottles.
    Never had Musar.
    Heard some good things about Sottimano – their Nebbiolo is top-notch, and it tends to stay under the radar.
    I am intrigued by the pronouncement about the Moscato. Recently, I enjoyed an ’08 Oddero for dessert (complex fruit flavors and depth), but this La Spinetta (which I usually stay away from, due to the ripe style of the reds) sounds more acidic and refreshing.

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