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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Alchemy of wine pairings

Michelin-starred chef Laurent Peugeot and Christophe Paucod have put together an eight-course $210++ menu around truffles from Peugeot's hometown of Burgundy.
The Business Times - September 7, 2012
By: Christopher Lim
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Alchemy of wine pairings High bar: LP + Tetsu's Burgundy Truffle Wine Dinner promises to be a may splendoured food pairing treat - PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER LIM

ANYONE can throw together a wine-pairing menu, but the cohesiveness of a meal's theme is what makes it stand apart from the rising sea of similar dinners here.

That's how LP + Tetsu's Burgundy Truffle Wine Dinner promises to distinguish itself the week after next, and where Black Opal's Wither Hills Vintner Dinner fell a wee bit bit short last week.

Michelin-starred chef Laurent Peugeot and Christophe Paucod have put together an eight-course $210++ menu around truffles from Peugeot's hometown of Burgundy, which the chef claims is Singapore's first wine-pairing dinner to feature the seasonal ingredient.

Peugeot has selected four wines - Burgundian, of course - to go with the food, with two dishes to a wine, making for a distinctly Burgundy-themed experience.

During a preview tasting of the menu on Monday - which substituted less subtle Perigord Black truffles for the Burgundy truffles, which hadn't yet arrived, and lacked ingredients for two of the eight dishes - the cuisine was uniformly impressive, while the wine pairings ranged from so-so to spot-on.

The best dish, which also turned out to be the best pairing, was the Black Diamond Scallops in broth and white truffle dust. Peugeot picked a 2009 Beaune Clos du Dessus des Marconnets from Domaine Loic Dufouleur ($108 per bottle on the LP+Tetsu wine list) to pair.

It had subtly spicy overtones with ripe apple on the nose, with the barest hint of honey. A typically complex but eminently approachable Chardonnay, with bright lemony notes that were only brought out by the scallop. This is the kind of unexpected interaction that marks a great pairing.

But the clincher was good acidity, which cut through the rich broth without being overbearing.

In fact, it would have been an equally strong choice with the first course of Compress of Rougie Duck Foie Gras with sprout salad, Burgundy truffle, pork leg and cervelas lyonnais with pistachio mushroom and toasted bread. Instead, Peugeot chose a Savigny-Les-Beaune Premier Cru en Redrescul Monopole from Domaine Doudet Naudin ($88 per bottle on the wine list), which had enough body to match the foie gras, but not quite enough acidity to penetrate all that richness.

The 2010 Muscat Beames des Venise dessert wine from M Chapoutier is a recent addition to LP + Tetsu's wine list ($98 per bottle; $35 by the glass), and was a light-bodied contrast to the preceding rich savoury fare. It's a fortified muscat with a fresh nose of lychee that complemented the chocolate mousse without being too syrupy.

(The Burgundy Truffle Wine Dinner at LP + Tetsu will run Sept 18-21. More information at www.lptetsu.com.)

The Wither Hills Vintner Dinner on Aug 28 was the first wine-pairing dinner held at The Jewel Box's Black Opal restaurant at Mount Faber, so it's fair to excuse the rough edges.

Wither Hills chief winemaker Ben Glover was present to talk about his wines. Seven wines were featured as part of the four-course $108++ menu, courtesy of local Wither Hills distributors The Cellar Door, but two of them - Wither Hills Benmorven Pinot Noir 2008 ($64) and Wither Hills Rarangi Sauvignon Blanc 2011 ($40) - hadn't been available here before the dinner. Both are single vineyard wines.

The grilled Australian lamb rack crusted with pistachio was served far too rare for most of the 40 diners, although the accompanying braised lamb shoulder with cardamom, potato mousseline, and Pinot Noir reduction were fine. At least the meat went well with both the single vineyard Pinot Noir as well as the 2010 vintage of the standard Pinot.

But the strange trio of starters - Botan Ebi tartare, Kumamoto oyster and pan-seared Hokkaido scallops, with various sauces and garnishings - was discordant, and while they didn't clash overtly with both the single vineyard and regular Sauvignon Blancs, they didn't create any magic either.

Adrian Wong, Mount Faber Leisure Group F&B director and resident wine expert, says that more wine pairings dinners are in the pipeline this year and beyond, and hopefully after this warm-up dinner, future menus have more internal logic in addition to complementing the wines.

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