When I got an email from Eno Terra restaurant in Kingston touting their recent wine dinner featuring the French region of Bordeaux and the wines of Terra Burdigala, I couldn’t resist. I forwarded it to a couple of friends (including fellow Centraljersey blogger Carolyn Edelmann), with this note: Are we rich yet?
Ha. Quite the opposite, but let’s do it anyway we decided! At $75, including the wines, it was a good value, and apparently a whole lot of folks agreed, as we were a good size crowd. The menu was a dream: grilled sardines over salad, duck, lavender wood grilled lamb, entrecôte de boeuf, and red and white wine poached pears Napoleon.
All prepared under the direction of Eno Terra Excecutive Chef Christopher Albrecht, and, he said at the dinner, a refreshing change of pace from the mostly Italian inspired menu at the restaurant (Eno Terra has become one of my favorite places). Much to our pleasure, Terra Burdigala owner Francois Thienpont sat at our table along with his stateside distributor, Alain Blanchon. That made for more opportunity to learn about the wines and the producer. It becomes a highly personal experience, and if you’ve never been to one of these dinners where the wine maker is present, I really recommend it for a special – and educational – evening.
We started with two white wines, Sauvignon Blanc (La Vigne D’Argent) with the sardines and salad, and a much richer white, Chateau Charmes-Godard Blanc, with the rich duck. This was an amazing wine, a blend of 70% Sémillon, 15% Sauvignon Gris, 15% Muscadelle, especially, if like me, you usually prefer reds. Truly superb, and at an approximate $27 retail, the most expensive of the evening (Actually, I don’t know the price of the Sauternes served with dessert, it was delicious, but I prudently limited myself to a sip – it was a work night!)
The lamb course brought us a lovely, deep ruby wine, La Violette (Château Manoir du Gravoux), and the beef was paired with rich, complex, Château Puygueraud, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec.
Thienpont’s family has made wine in Bordeaux (Burdigala is the ancient Roman name for the region) since 1929. In 2001 he and top oenologist Stéphane Derenoncourt joined forces to create Terra Burgigala. Having noticed that many vineyards, some of them very small parcels, were not being carefully cultivated, they have intensely managed these vineyards to live up to their true quality potential, often using biodynamic methods, and helping each to exemplify is terroir.
Terra Burdigala wines are, of course, sold at Eno Terra, but can be purchased at retail from Princeton Corkscrew. Wegmans also carries some of them. This kind of personal wine experience creates a connection to something tangible in my mind (almost like visiting the vineyard), and will tempt me during my next visit to the wine shop for sure. I don’t often spend much over $10 or $15 for a bottle, but when I do, this kind of event is usually the reason.
Faith, great of you to inform the public of Francois Thienpont’s wine line up along with the many culinary talents of Chef Chris. It was definitely a memorable and fun evening, shared with some true enthusiasts. I hope we can soon organize the second phase of such a great experience .
This was one of the loveliest culinary experiences of my (lonnnggg) life, [–a life formerly spent as often as possible in France, with winemakers (such as Lichine and Bouchard in 1964 and in the Rhone Valley in 1987/88]. We never would’ve experienced this excellence without you!
You know, Betty Lies and I succumbed first to time with you, and then, of course, to lamb and lavender. Who could pass up such a pairing?
I frankly didn’t expect ‘modern’ wines to live up to the complexities of that menu – but they did, even exceeding hopes…
The chef’s sure hand thoughout simply astonished.
I particularly salute Eno Terra for superb service — the pouring of the wines had the finesse of France in the 60’s – subtle, deft, knowing – and never a slip despite a separate accurate glass for each wine.
Of course, it was a treat to have the vintner and his American representative at our table, to sip and sup to the liquidities of French accents.
Even the valet parking was exceptional!
Rich or no, we’re doing this again!
Merci mille fois!