Features & guest posts | Food and Bordeaux: What they served at the gala dinner at Mouton Rothschild

Features & guest posts

Food and Bordeaux: What they served at the gala dinner at Mouton Rothschild

I make a point of not going to Vinexpo, the biennial wine fair in Bordeaux (too hectic, too noisy) but it does mean you miss out on the occasional treat like the gala dinner that was held at Château Mouton Rothschild to celebrate the opening of their new chai.

A colleague* who went told me about it though and the menu and wines sounded so extraordinary I thought I must share them with you.

Guests were apparently served glasses of Baron Philippe de Rothschild champagne when they arrived then treated to a foie gras trolley that was wheeled around with terrines of foie gras, walnut biscuits and fig jam. (Even though I don’t eat foie gras I must admit that sounded amazing)

The first course was equally show-stopping: soufflés de brochet (pike) served in a copper pans - some feat for 600 - with 2005 Mouton-Rothschild and 2005 Clerc-Milon: an unconventional but apparently successful pairing.

Then blanquette de veau (a creamy veal stew) with imperials of 1975 Mouton-Rothschild (see above). An interesting - and wise - choice for an old wine, avoiding an intense jus that might have fought with the wine - and definitely more flattering than cheese with which I gather the same wine was also paired (correct me if you were at the dinner, and I’m wrong on that)

Finally a cherry clafoutis (batter pudding) which was served with a 1989 Château Coutet, apparently also an admirable match. It sounds like quite some feast.

I gather Bordeaux leading chateaux always vie with each other to put on the best spread during Vinexpo, even if not normally quite on this scale. My colleague Jane Anson, who reports from Bordeaux for Decanter, told me about this meal at Chateau Pavie (excuse the rather loose translations):

Saumon Mariné, avocat pilé, perles d'oeufs de saumon avec Champagne Egly Ouriet 2003 en magnum (marinated salmon, crushed avocado and salmon roe)

Homard en cote de Romaine, petits légumes juste croquant, vinaigrette au piment d'Esplette avec Monbousquet Blanc 2010 (lobster in lettuce, possibly? with just-cooked vegetables and a spicy hot pepper dressing)

Agneau en file rôtie, frotté aux herbes, carotes fane et marmelade d'aubergines fumées, jus d'agneau tandoori with Pavie 1998 in Imperiale (this sounds pretty wild: Herb-crusted roast lamb with a smoked aubergine compote and tandoori lamb jus)

Food for thought here: the Bordelais don't necessarily stick to conventional accompaniments and seasoning with their best wines.

If you went to any of the other dinners during Vinexpo this year do let me know what you ate and drank.

*Charlotte Hey who works on the marketing for this website

Photograph © Lucy Shaw of The Drinks Business.

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Comments: 1 (Add)

David Furer on June 26 2013 at 19:03

Fiona,

While Charlotte may have enjoyed her M-R and C-M, not every attendee was as privileged to have been seated at the illness-impaired (which added some sadness to the gathering despite her buoyed spirit) Mme. Philippine's table--likely the only table to have been served those two '05s. Worth noting is that each table, and there were many, were presented different wines corresponding to the vigneron acting as that table's host with two examples each of '05, then older vintages of the same chateaux comprising wines for the first two courses. Our first '05, belonging to the winemaker seated next to me, was horribly brett-filled and something she saw fit not to acknowledge though the affable Belgian seated to my right picked it up as quickly as did I. In the interest of politeness for the lady we sniffed the remaining empty glasses to discover that most of them were reeking of a washing soap. Upon establishing this he and I took it upon ourselves to rinse the remaining glasses to allow the subsequent wines a chance...time less than well-spent as our large format bottle of the '75 M-R was pegged as somewhat corked by a few at our table. A second bottle asked for showed only slightly better, while that poured for a nearby friend's table was spot-on.

Yes, the food was very good and for that we were happy and grateful, the wines served at the reception in the new barrel room a delight of recent Sauternes vintages...the M-R label Champagne less so.

But the lack of attention/care showed by our table's host to her own wine and that of the organizers to the stemware were a bit jarring and unprofessional--especially for an event of the caliber and cost of the biennial Grand Crus Classe Press Dinner.

Regards,
David Furer

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