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  • Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pure Chablis National Final at Bent Restaurant

Pure Chablis National Final
On the evening of , I had the pleasure of attending the Pure Chablis National Final at Bent Restaurant in downtown Toronto. This event pitted three individuals against each other, with the task of trying to best pair Chablis with  special culinary creations prepared by Hong Kong-American celebrity Master Chef Susur Lee.

Each person was given a description of each of the 3 courses ahead of time and had to select a Chablis that they thought would best pair with each course. The winner would be determined by counting the votes of approximately 60 people (including yours truly), who would vote for which wine paired best with each course. I have been to many food & wine pairing events over the years, but this was my first time experiencing something like this - it was very exciting! The prize for the winner was an amazing trip to Chablis!

Competing in the Final were Roger Maniwa of Mak N Ming Restaurant in Vancouver, Nicolas Charron-Boucher of Planvin Wine Agency in Montreal, and Joshua Corea from just down the street at Archive Wine Bar. The speaker of the evening was Louis Moreau, producer of many fine wines from Chablis, but also currently the Vice President of the Chablis Commission of the Bourgogne Wine Board.

Chablis paired with Gravlax & Spicy Salmon Tartare, Avocado, Egg, Lemon Crème Fraîche, Pickled Onion and Capers Our first course consisted of Gravlax & Spicy Salmon Tartare, Avocado, Egg, Lemon Crème Fraîche, Pickled Onion and Capers. This dish was quite spicy and difficult to pair with Chablis. However, it was the 3rd wine (Domaine Servin chosen by Joshua) that paired best due to the high acids and ripe fruited flavours that helped calm the spicy dish. The side of dill was also very interesting to taste with the Chablis. Ironically, the Servin Chablis was my least favourite wine of the three to sip on its own as I felt it was too ripe and needed a year or two for the acids to soften, but, in my opinion (and some others around our table), it was the best pairing with the first course.

The second course was a Korean Crisp Shrimp with Nori, Hong Kong Xo Sauce, and Sweet & Sour Chili Glaze. The dish offered plenty of earthy, mineral, sea flavours, but the sauces kicked up the heat levels significantly. The wines for this pairing were all quite similar and tended to complement the flavours in the dish, but once again it was 3rd wine (Daniel-Étienne Defaix chosen by Joshua) that I thought (and others too) paired the best due to the earthy-mineral qualities in the wine and the dish.

Chablis 1er Cru paired with Korean Crisp Shrimp with Nori, Hong Kong Xo Sauce, and Sweet & Sour Chili Glaze

For the third and final course of competition, we enjoyed a Chicken Pot stuffed with Chestnut, Parsnip, Carrot, Peas, Tarragon and Beurre Blanc. The flavours were earthy for the most part, but the pastry crust was on the sweeter side which lifted the whole dish. The wines for this pairing were all excellent quality (we found out later they were all Grand Cru). Although all three wines paired well with this course, it was the 1st wine (Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin chosen by Roger) that paired the best because of the overall balance that presented itself when pairing the Chicken Pot and wine together.

Chablis Grand Cru paired with Chicken Pot stuffed with Chestnut, Parsnip, Carrot, Peas, Tarragon and Beurre Blanc

Chablis with Cheeses

At the end of the evening, it was revealed that Nicolas Charron-Boucher had the most votes and won the Pure Chablis National Final. I was a bit surprised by this as I did not vote for any of Nicolas' wine choices (although I did see-saw with his choice on the 2nd course) and it just goes to show how food & wine is a very personal experience that varies from person-to-person. Congratulations Nicolas and enjoy your trip to Chablis!

Thank you to everyone that helped put this event together - great job! - and allowing me to be part of this, as well as Bent Restaurant for your accommodation.

If you were at this event, what were your favourite pairings? Leave a comment below and let me know.

From left to right: Roger Maniwa, Nicolas Charron-Boucher and Joshua Corea

Bent Restaurant Chablis Pairing Menu

Tasting Notes:

DOMAINE SERVIN CHABLIS 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $28.95
Ripe, medium+ aromatics offering hints of orange, peach, citrus. Nice aroma replays on the bright palate, with high acids needing a couple of years to settle down. Finishes long. Score: 88 pts

DOMAINE DANIEL-ÉTIENNE DEFAIX CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2003 - Côte de Léchet, AC, Burgundy, France (#470435) (XD) - $51.95
Subtle aromatics are initially reductive with waxy hints, along with some vegetal notes, eventually giving way to minerality. The palate is medium+ bodied with nice texture and rounded acids that still provide freshness. Nice lemon/lime, earthy and limestone mineral flavours come through on the palate. Finish length is excellent. Score: 91 pts

Domaine Daniel-Étienne Defaix Côte de Léchet Chablis 1er Cru 2003 (91 pts)

DOMAINE JEAN-PAUL ET BENOIT DROIN CHABLIS GRAND CRU 2015 - Valmur, AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $82.25
This has medium-high intensity aromas that are elegant and complex with high-toned lemon, stone fruit, peach, and pear along with some herbal, earthy, and mineral nuances. It is medium-full bodied on the rich palate offering elegance with balanced acids and very nice aroma replays, plus some butter and vanilla notes from the oak. Excellent length on the finish. Score: 91 pts

Domaine Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin Valmur Chablis Grand Cru 2015 (91 pts)


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