Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chateau Musar Wine Dinner at McCrady's

What an opportunity this was!  A Food Super-Genius and a Wine Super Genius providing an amazing dinner.  Serge Hochar is a Lebanese wine-maker who produces some of the most extraordinary bottles of wine I've ever tasted.  He's visiting the US, but only Washington DC, New York and Charleston.  Charleston was his first stop.  The dinner took place in the "Long Room" at McCrady's, a beautiful room that hosted George Washington in 1791.  The setting's elegance was matched by the wine and food.

The food was so good that I forgot to take pictures of two of the four courses!

The first course was Raw Cobia (wild) with Apple, Radish and Sorrell.  After delivering the plates, Sommelier Clint Sloan and Chef Sean Brock drizzled Per Me Olive Oil over the dish.  Per Me is described as a "living" oil.  Paired with 2009 Jeune Rose this dish was an amazing start.  I'm not going to attempt to describe the wine except to say that it was surprisingly dry and definitely delicious.

Raw Cobia Course

The second course was a Pork Rack that was roasted over wood embers.  Chef Brock described roasting it for 2 or 3 minutes, then resting it for a few minutes and repeating this for an hour and a half.  The effort was worth it as it was amazingly tender, with a delectable exterior.  It was served with a Rutabaga Mousse and Braised Brussels.  Rutabaga and Brussels have never been high on my food list, but Chef Brock does this right!  Paired with a 2004 Hochar Rouge which was a perfect accompaniment.

The third course was Border Springs Lamb, Chanterelle Mushrooms, and Laurel Aged Rice.  The lamb was perfect, the chanterelles exceptional, but it was the rice that surprised me.  Apparently, as Chef Brock described, rice used to be layerd with laurel leaves in barrels to help deter pests.  This added a distinctive flavor.  It was then boiled in significantly more water than necessary and finished by roasting in an oven.  This preparation created a whole new texture, with each grain of rice separate and with a deeper flavor than normal for rice - this without any sauce!  They paired this with three vintages of Chateau Musar Rouge - 2001, 2002, 2003.  I preferred the 2002, but opinions were varied amongst my neighbors.  Every one was amazing!  At this point, Serge Hochar came around and showed us a new way to taste wine.  He said to take a normal sip, and then wait a couple minutes and then drink only a drop.  It truly changes the way the wine is experienced - you'll have to try it yourself.

The final course was Green Hill Cheese with Stone Fruit and Rose Hip Marmalade served with 2004 Chateau Musar Blanc.  Again a perfect pairing with the semi-soft cheese and the marmalade.  These guys are geniuses!

Many thanks to Clint Sloan for putting this together and to Serge Hochar for coming all the way over from Lebanon for us.  I need to take a trip there!

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