August 04, 2012 00:00 By Parani Chitraporn
The Champagne stars at a gala dinner, making friends with dishes and diners alike
Pairing a four-course dinner with just Champagne is quite a challenge, but Diageo Moet Hennessy (Thailand) easily accomplished the feat at a recent soirée at the St Regis Hotel wine bar the Decanter.
Moet & Chandon brand manager Sirigunya Yukphaen hosted “The Pure Expression of Luxury” Champagne dinner, which began with Moet & Chandon Imperial, elegant and golden with fine bubbles.
The wine was refreshing and radiant, revealing flavours of bright white-fleshed fruits such as apple, pear and peach with a hint of lemon and lime blossom, all blended with brioche aromas on the nose. It was flavourful and smooth, yet crisp on the palate.
The Imperial went very well with all five canapés – a lobster mini-sashimi, Atlantic scallops in mango salsa, yellowfin tuna bon bon, white asparagus in Burrata spume and salmon teriyaki prepared by executive chef Leonardo Concezzi.
Regional brand ambassador Arnaud Mirey, who’d flown in from Hong Kong for the occasion, welcomed the guests to the dining table. The French expert graduated with honours from the Wine and Spirit Educational Trust of London.
He studied French culinary art for five years and has spent the past decade as sommelier and manager of Michelin-star restaurants, private clubs and luxury wine cellars in Paris, London, Dubai and Shanghai as well as Hong Kong.
Mirey led a guided tour of Champagne’s history. He talked about the House of Moet & Chandon, founded in 1743 by Claude Moet and now run by his grandson, Jean-Remy Moet, who made the firm internationally famous.
Moet & Chandon Imperial was created in 1869, Mirey said, using three grape varietals – 30-40 per cent Pinot Noir for the body, 30-40 per cent Pinot Meunier for suppleness and 20-30 per cent Chardonnay for finesse.
The first course was Entree 56 Degree, a pressed Moulard duck foie gras with mizuma leaves sous vide apricot, again paired with Moet & Chandon Imperial. It was a perfect match, with the freshness and crispness of the Champagne cleansing the rich foie gras ready for the next bite.
That turned out to be Vichychoisse Belon with an oyster and King crab salad, paired with Moet & Chandon Rosé. Mirey said the rosé is a blend of two red wines – 40-50 per cent Pinot Noir and 30-40 per cent Pinot Meunier, both 10 per cent red wine, plus 10-20 per cent Chardonnay, which utilises 20-30 per cent selected reserve wines to enhance its intensity.
It had the aromas of fresh red summer berries – strawberry, raspberry and red currant – with a peppery hint. On the palate it had more body than the Imperial, juicy and firm. Pairing it with soup was quite interesting.
The third course was “Fish Bites” – sous vide snowfish marinated in Asian herbs with saffron foam and a liquid foie gras dim sum in gold, served with Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2002.
Mirey pointed out that that must have been an extraordinary year. The Grand Vintage is 51 per cent Chardonnay, 26 per cent Pinot Noir and 23 per cent Pinot Meunier, with a 10.5-per-cent potential alcohol level, the highest since 1990.
With seven years in the cellar, it developed mature, toasty flavours with a little mocha and light tobacco. The first impression is of creaminess and roundness, and yet it’s refreshing with tangs of mandarin orange and pink grapefruit. It was an impressive pairing of texture and flavour.
The main course was Duck Rillettes Puthvier, an artichoke-mushroom salad and Madagascar vanilla foam, married with Dom Perignon Vintage 2002.
Mirey explained that the best plot in the vineyard is reserved for Dom Perignon, and only the wine of the good years reaches the market.
It’s sharp on the nose, with some pepper and gardenia. On the palate it’s full, with a note of liquorice and dry ginger. The bubbles and toastiness went well with the duck pastry. It was refreshing and matched the texture.
Dessert was Organic Parisi Egg filled with Chantilly cream and banana scallop sous vide, followed by a French cheese selection.
It was a remarkable Champagne dinner with French delights and a touch of Asian cooking.