What happens when you pair some of the greatest wines of the world with 3-star michelin food from Per Se? Though possibly pretentious, the result could only be described as “other worldly”. So instead of offering an article full of opinion on the quality of the food, wine and their pairings, we offer you Joe Friday’s version of the afternoon with “Just the Facts”. Ten courses were served, each with a flight of three wines.
Course 1 was Citrus-Cured Fluke arranged with Toasted Sicilian Pistachios, Plum Sorrel and Hass Avocado Puree. This was accompanied by Champagne from the 1955 vintage by Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Dom Perignon, and Krug. The Veuve was served from magnum and surprisedly was the most enjoyable of the flight.
Course 2 featured Thomas Keller’s signature “Oysters and Pearls” dish composed of “Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar. Its wine pairing consisted of a 1973 DRC Montrachet, 1978 Ramonet Montrachet and a 1982 DRC Montrachet. Unfortunately these wines were a disappointment with the 82 being the best.
Course 3 saw a Fillet of Atlantic Monkfish “En Piccata” with Cauliflower Florettes, Marcona Almonds, and Brown Butter “Gastrique”. The wines were all Chevalier-Montrachets from Domaine d’Auvenay, 1996, 2000 and 2005. Domaine d’Auvenay is a small wine estate based in Burgundy that is owned and managed by Lalou Bize-Leroy of Domain Leroy. Its production is minuscule and a quick search on Wine Searcher only turns up a few bottles for purchase. The Monkfish dish was extremely tasty and I would have happily devoured a second serving.
Course 4 was Four Story Hill Farm “Supreme De Poularde” served with a “Ragout” of English Peas, Affila Cress and Sweet Carrot Butter topped with a tender baby carrot. Course 4 was the beginning of the red wine flights and was served with of flight of first growth Pauillacs from the 1959 vintage by Latour, Mouton and Lafite. My personal favorite was the Mouton.
Course 5 was Yorkshire Porcelet with Hawaiin Hearts of Peach Palm, Mulberries, Celery Branch and “Sauce Perigourdine”. Wine flight 5 was the flight of the night consisting of the trio of Latour, Haut-Brion and Mouton from the esteemed 1945 vintage. In fact, the 45 Mouton was the wine of the weekend. Most at the table agreed that not only was the wine spectacular, it was composed of qualities that were very unlike most Pauillacs.
Course 6 consisted of “Per Se Ricotta Agnolotti” topped with Morel Mushrooms, Sunchoke Confit, and Crispy Shallots. The dish was excellent. The wines were from Giacomo Conterno, “Monfortino”, Barolo Riserva. Vintages 1961, 1964 and 1990.
Course 7 featured a Liberty Farm Pekin Duck Breast, Fava Bean Tapenade, Hakurei Turnips, and “Jus de Canard”. A trio of Burgundian greats from Musigny completed the course. A 1988 from Roumier, a 1971 Drouhin and my personal favorite, a 1961 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue.
Course 8 was the final savory course led by a Grilled Snake River Farms “Calotte de Boeuf” complemented with Yukon Gold Potato “Mille-Feuille”, Haricots Verts, Compressed Radishes and “Bordelaise”. This was the only course of the night that may have missed its mark, if only slightly. The wines were from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. A 1985 Richebourg, a 1971 La Tache and a 1962 Romanee-Conti. Sadly, the 62 was the only corked bottle of the night. It was badly corked and, of course, the bottle was the most anticipated wine of the night. But one corked bottle out of thirty is not bad for wines of this age, it was disappointing that it was this one.
Course 9 was a small serving of Aged “Comte” with Olive Ciabatta, Charred Jingle Bell Peppers, and “Piperade”. It was served with boldest flight of the night, a trio of wines from “La Chapelle” from Paul Jaboulet Aine. Vintages of 1961, 1964 and 1978. I prefer white wine with a cheese course and utilized my left over Montrachets, saving the La Chapelle for after dinner enjoyment.
The final course, number 10, were a puree of Caramelized Granny Smith Apples served between Puff Pastry, Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream and Candied Lemon. The dessert was set against a trio of Sauternes from Chateau d’Yquem from 1937, 1928, and 1921. These are the oldest d’Yquems that I have tasted and quite frankly I expected a little more out of them. I felt that it was more difficult to detect a noticeable difference between these older vintages and the newer vintages of the 70s and 80s then I would have anticipated.
The combination of the cuisine of Per Se and the wines from Acker Merrall constructed a fantastic, once in a lifetime experience.