There was just so much to enjoy at this past Culinary Extravaganza benefiting the Culinary Arts Program at Schoolcraft College. The food was delicious, think of three hours of different tapas being served, in fact there was a new tapas restaurant that was among all the restaurants and it is near by for me, so that will be another adventure. Of course I like to try wines and sometimes I even get a chance to write about wines. This year, rather than have tables representing a wine distributor, the tables were arranged by geography when possible and I already mentioned the American wines represented, even before we got into the main room.
One of the first tables that we encountered was the French table, and what a table it was, in spite of the fact that I got to listen to so many people go up and ask for a pour of Cabernet. There were two ice trays on the table and there were four white wines and one rose wine on ice, and the selection was well chosen and not the run of the mill. There was Albert Bichot Brut Reserve NV. This was a Cremant de Bourgogne from Domaines Albert Bichot made in the Methode Traditionelle with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Cote d’Or. The Cremant de Bourgogne is used for sparkling white wines from Burgundy, which compliments Bourgogne Mouseux for sparkling red wines. We also tried Joseph Mellot Sancerre “La Chatellenie” 2014 from the upper Loire region of Sancerre made from Sauvignon Blanc. The next wine was Karantes La Bergerie Languedoc 2014 a rose made from Grenache, Mouvedre and Syrah. Another wine from Domaines Albert Bichot was Chablis Premier Cru “Les Vaucopins” 2011, just a classic Chardonnay wine. Then there was an interesting little wine Chateau Mourgues du Gres La Galets Dores Blanc 2013 from the Costieres de Nimes. A White Southern Rhone blend which could have Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Ugni Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulene and Vermentino (Rolle). The AOC Costieres de Nimes was created in 1989, prior to that year the wines of Nimes were listed as VDQS under Costieres du Gard, administered in the Languedoc, but now it is administered by the Rhone Regional Board in Avignone. The last of the white wines, and thankfully there was still some left when I returned to the table was Chateau de Rayne Vigneau 2011, a First Growth Premiere Cru Classe Sauternes wine made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. I mean these were all fine wines and we were just getting started.
There were two French red wines being poured as well, and they were equal in stature to the white wines on the table. Chateau Cantenanc Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2011 is not too shabby of a wine at any time. Of course I am quite a fan of the wines of Saint-Emilion and then again it is a Merlot wine as well. To be truthful, the wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon; so all of the people that were requesting a pour of Cabernet were in for a treat, as far as I was concerned.
The other red wine that was being poured at the French table was just as impressive in my humble opinion. Domaine Berthet-Rayne Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 a classic wine from the Southern Rhone district and a wine famous in its own right and I really did not expect to see this caliber of wine being poured. Chateauneuf-du-Pape and its famous blend of varietals has been emulated around the world and it is now referred to as GSM, which stands for Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, though one sometimes also finds some Cinsault added to the mix. After this wonderful table, I couldn’t wait to see some of the other wine tables and what they would offer.