Monday, November 26, 2012
Dining with Côte de Beaune Winemaker Pascal Maillard, Domaine Maillard Père et Fils, at Restaurant 2941 in Virginia, USA
I joined Bourgogne winemaker Pascal Maillard and Chef Bertrand Chemel of Restauant 2941 at a six-course dinner, pairing the innovative and sophisticated modern American/French cuisine of Chef Bertrand Chemel with the superb Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines from the Bourgogne of Domaine Maillard Père et Fils. Working with Pascal's importer (and former sommelier) Olivier Daubresse, Chef Bertrand Chemel and 2941 sommelier Jonathan Schuyler created an exciting tasting menu to complement and enhance Pascal's wines.
Restaurant 2941 is located at 2941 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church, VA 22042 - between Routes 50 and 29 near Merrifield, Virginia. The $250 per person fee included wine, tax, tip, and valet parking.
The Bourgogne is one of the most famous wine regions in the world. Most of the wine produced here is Pinot Noir or Chardonnay. Chablis and Beaujolais are formally part of Burgundy wine region, but wines from those sub regions are usually referred to by their own names.
Some way south of Chablis is the Côte d'Or, where Burgundy's most famous wines – and the wines of this dinner - originate. All Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy (except for Chablis Grand Cru) are here. The Côte d'Or is split into two parts: the Côte de Nuits in the north and the Côte de Beaune in the south. The wine-growing area is just 40 kilometers long, and in most places less than 2 kilometers wide; the area is made up of tiny villages. Further south is the Côte Chalonnaise, where a mix of mostly red and white wines are produced. Below the Côte Chalonnaise is the Mâconnais region, known for producing easy-drinking and more affordable white wine. Further south again is the Beaujolais region. The Bourgogne (including Chablis but excluding Beaujolais) covers a total of 28,000 hectares.
Monks and monasteries of the Roman Catholic Church had an important influence on the history of Burgundy wine. As the power of the church decreased, many vineyards which had been in the church's hands, were sold to the bourgeoisie from the 17th century. The Napoleonic inheritance laws resulted in the continued subdivision of the most precious vineyard holdings, so that some growers hold only a row or two of vines. Clos Vougeot, for example, which was a single 125 acre run by the monks, today is parceled into plots owned by nearly 80 different owners.
The Bourgogne classification is the most terroir-oriented one in France. A specific vineyard or region will bear a given classification, regardless of the wine's producer. This is opposed to Bordeaux, where classifications are producer-driven and awarded to individual chateaux. The main levels in the Burgundy classifications, in descending order of quality, are:
Grand Cru wines are produced from a small number of vineyards in the Côte d'Or and make up 2% of the production at 35 hectoliters per hectare. The origins of Burgundy's Grand crus can be found in the work of the Cistercians who, among their vast land holdings, were able to delineate and isolate plots of land that produced wine of distinct character. There are 33 Grand Cru vineyards in the Bourgogne.
Premier Cru wines are produced from specific vineyards that are considered to be of high, but slightly lower quality; they make up 12% of production at 45 hectoliters/hectare.
Village appellation wines are produced from vineyard sites within the boundaries of one of 42 villages. Village wines make up 36% of production at 50 hectoliters/hectare.
Regional appellation wines are wines which are allowed to be produced over the entire region or over an area significantly larger than that of an individual village.
Domaine Maillard Père et Fils
Pascal Maillard comes from a long tradition of winemakers. It goes all the way back to 1766. But it was not until 1952 that Domaine Maillard was founded, by Pascal's father Daniel. Up until then it had been a mix of viticulture and agriculture, but Daniel Maillard decided to create a domaine and concentrate on wine only.
Ombiasy Wine Tours, Christian G.E. Schiller and Pascal Maillard
Daniel Maillard started out with 1 hectare. Today, Domaine Maillard Père et Fils owns 19 hectares, spreading over 7 villages – Chorey-lès-Beaune, Savigny-lès-Beaune, Beaune, Aloxe-Corton, Pommard, Meursault and Ladoix – all in the Côte de Beaune. Daniel Maillard’s sons Alain and Pascal run Domaine Maillard Père et Fils, with Alain focusing on winemaking and Pascal on administration and sales.
Until the late 1980s, the Maillards sold all their wine to a negociant. But when Pascal Maillard and his brother joined the family business they decided to start bottling their wines and market them directly. Then, 8 years ago it was time for another major decision: to consider the export market. Today, Domaine Maillard Père et Fils exports about 60 percent of its production to the US, Japan, Canada and Europe.
2941 has long been known as one of the premier, fine dining destinations in Northern Virginia. Earlier this year, the restaurant changed course a bit. While the impressive water views and floor-to-ceiling windows remained, the dining room and bar area were updated, from carpeting to china, along with the menu, featuring Chef Bertrand Chemel's cuisine now in a less formal setting.
Executive Chef Bertrand Chemel
An Auvergne (France) boy born-and-raised, Bertrand Chemel spent time at various restaurants in Europe, including at Hotel du Rhône in Geneva, Switzerland, La Bastide St-Antoine in Grasse, France, and the Savoy Hotel in London, before moving to the US. Here, he began as a line cook in 1999 with Daniel Boulud in Manhattan and with a stop along the way as Laurent Tourondel's sous chef at Cello, he landed at Café Boulud in 2003, before taking over the kitchen of Restaurant 2941.
Jonathan Schuyler - Wine Director/Sommelier
Jonathan Schuyler is 2941’s Wine and Beverage Director/Sommelier. Originally from Albany, NY, Jonathan Schuyler has a diverse background. He graduated with a political science degree from Goucher College in Towson and later studied at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. He worked at various kitchens in Vermont before serving as chef de cuisine at Grand Cru in Baltimore. Schuyler has passed the level two, certified sommelier exam.
Madai Snapper Sashimi sea urchin vinaigrette
Smoked Spanish Mackerel pickled ramps, Yukon gold potato
Mushroom Tartine ricotta, parsley, garlic
Maillard Chorey-les-Beaune Blanc 2010 ($27)
Chorey-les-Beaune is predominantly a white wine village. Of the village’s 136 ha, Chardonnay accounts for only 5 ha. Most of the Chardonnay can be found in the lieu dit Aux Clous, right by the roundabout by the Paris-Lyon motorway. In Domaine Maillard's case the vines are spread over four plots, basically one in each corner of the commune. Former French president Jacques Chirac is reportedly one of the customers who has been buying the Chorey-lès-Beaune – both rouge and blanc – regularly.
Tasting notes: Light and delicious, with good acidity and minerality on the palate, along with a touch of chalk, a freshing, young wine.
Maine Sea Scallop "En Coquille" Scottish langoustine, leek fondue, shellfish émulsion
Maillard Corton Blanc Grand Cru 2009 ($89)
Like the previous wine, the Maillard Corton Blanc Grand Cru comes from an area that is mostly red wine territory. Unlike the previous wine, which is an entry-level wine, this is a grand cru wine; grand cru wines account for only 2% of total production in the Bourgogne.
Tasting notes: Black cherries, raspberries, barnyard on the nose, nicely balanced fruit, acidity, and tannins on the palate, good finish.
Wild Pheasant Duo pithivier of foie gras and black trumpet mushrooms, roasted breast, sunchoke
Maillard Volnay Les Combes 2009 ($49)
Tasting notes: Mushroomy, leathery notes on the nose, mature red berries on the palate, good concentration.
Maillard Beaune Rouge 2005 ($49)
Tasting notes: Plenty of earthy, mushroomy notes on the nose, good structure, still lovely fruit and power on the palate, with nicely balanced tannins, smooth finish.
Roasted Duck Breast fig marmalade, natural jus
Maillard Aloxe Corton Village 2009 ($49)
Tasting notes: Notes of ripe red fruits and mushroom on the nose, medium to full bodied, good concentration, good finish.
Poularde Façon Alain Chapel slowly cooked fricassée of winter roots, Madeira-truffle sauce
Maillard Corton Renardes Grand Cru 2008 ($124)
A lovely expression of this distinctive climat Renardes on the famous hill of Corton.
Tasting notes: Notes of red fruits wrapped up in barnyard aromas on the nose, plenty of Grand Cru concentration, a wine of great purity, grace, and elegance.
Quince Tart almond sablé, sherry caramel, poached quince, chèvre sorbet
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