Rene Papin of Pierre-Bise
aka, Chenin in all its glory
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Let’s just start by exclaiming how much I truly love Chenin Blanc. In fact, I think it is one of the, if not THE, most undervalued grapes in the world. It is responsible for bright and crisp sparkling wines, opulent and nuanced dessert wines, and every conceivable expression between those two. Sometime fruity, sometimes exotic and spiced, often both, but nearly always with an impeccable balance that frames everything.
And, if you’re talking Chenin, the conversation must begin in the Loire Valley of France, where the grape reaches its zenith. Of course there are delicious examples elsewhere, notably South Africa, but even the best winemakers down there look to the top houses of the Loire with reverence. SEGUE! We’ve got the winemaker from one of those houses joining us on April 3! René Papin, son of Claude Papin, who none other than world wine authority Jancis Robinson said was one of the “world’s masters of Chenin Blanc,” is now at the helm (actually, has been for a while now) and it is quite clear that he learned a lot from his father. Because the wines, each and every one, are magnificent.
At Pierre-Bise, they are sticklers for keeping individual lots separate and letting the specific terroir shine through. So, the five wines, all made from the same grape, all from a relatively small region, are all dramatically different, the only common thread being how unmistakably delicious they are.
I’ve been told the young Frenchman has a penchant for the avant-garde, so I’ve woven a bit of whimsy into the meal, doing Asian takes on a few classic French dishes. Crispy hoisin pork belly for the lardons and Chinese mustard for the Dijon in the Salade Lyonnaise. Sichuan black beans in the onion soup. Things like that. But I’m uniquely excited about this evening and do hope you’ll join us.
Pork and chive soup dumplings
Cremant de Loire Non Dose
Melon and flounder ceviche with taro chips
‘Le Haut de la Garde’ Anjou Blanc 2015
‘Clos de Coulaine’ Savennieres 2014
Sichuan onion soup gratinee
‘Roche aux Moines’ Savennieres 2012
Asian pear cobbler with honey-ginger crème fraiche
‘Rochefort’ Coteaux du Layon 2016
$55 per person does not include tax and gratuity