Just back from a vacation in France, Chef Cyril Soenen brought back several kilos of fresh summer truffles to be shaved onto some special dishes at Brasserie Ciçou’s truffle festival. Although it only started last week, diners who wish to experience this rare treat are advised to book a table immediately since as of last weekend, already half the truffles have been used up.
After a week of virtually no wine, it was good to meet up with Noel and Catha who organized the dinner, and Richard who was also back after over a month travelling to the US, Europe and Japan. The theme was aged Burgundy, since this wine has a good affinity to truffles. No special menu was prepared as the choices on the restaurant’s regular menu suited us just fine.
Since I don’t have any really old burgs, my contribution was a Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé NV - Found at the bottom of my wine cav. I don’t even remember buying this or how long I’ve had it but the taste seems to indicate I’ve had it for quite a number of years. Full and rich with strawberry and dark cherry notes. There’s also a touch of honey and some hazelnut. I like the way this has developed. A nice way to start but I was able to save some up to the end of dinner and it was really lovely with the Laguiole cheese we had later.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé NV by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
For my first course I started with a 64 degree soft-boiled egg with shaved asparagus, crispy bacon, brioche toast and fresh summer truffles. Although not obvious in the description of the dish, there’s a lot of liquid in this dish. Not quite a soup, but soupy enough that a spoon is provided so you can finish every last drop. Of course the restaurant’s top-notch baguettes used as a sponge was my preferred method of cleaning the dish.
64 degree soft-boiled egg, shaved asparagus, crispy bacon, brioche toast, truffle hollandaise foam, fresh summer truffles by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
Our first red, decanted for about 30 minutes before being poured, was Richard’s Michel Ollivier Chassagne-Montrachet Tête de Cuvée 1979. Holding up quite well, there’s still a good bit of fruit here. Earthy, and so a great match with the truffles, as well as a little meaty. Left in the glass for about an hour, there’s even some chocolate coming through. Very soft and very dry on the finish. I was able to try this with some Brie de Meaux topped with shaved truffles, courtesy of Noel and Catha and it was a brilliant match, the wine becoming very sweet in combination with the cheese.
Michel Olivier Chassagne-Montrachet Tête de Cuvée 1979 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
Noel’s Pothier-Rieusset Pommard 1er Cru Rugines 1985 followed. As I understand it, this estate no longer exists as it was acquired by Domaine Pillot partly by marriage and outright purchase. The nose on this was gorgeous. The best of the wines this evening.Lots of ripe berry and floral scents as well. Still a little firm with prune and mint. The acidity seems a bit on the high side. Perhaps just a little bit past peak, it’s still a very good wine.
Pothier-Rieusset Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens 1985 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
The main course was then served which, in my case, was a Sous-Vide Onglet Rossini style with assorted mushrooms in cream and truffled mashed potatoes. Although not a fan of sous-vide, which seems to in vogue everywhere and which, when poorly done, gives meat a rather mushy texture, onglet seems to be the perfect cut for this method. The beef manages to stay firm since it is a tougher cut so the texture is not compromised. This dish was pure luxury. Truffles and foie gras in one dish, after all.
Sous-vide Onglet Rossini style, assorted mushrooms in cream, truffled mashed potatoes by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
To go with this was our last aged wine, a Daniel Rion & Fils 1er Cru Les Chaumes 1990, again courtesy of Noel. This was rather full bodied and lively. Cocoa, curry spice, sour cherry and a slightly roasted character are present here. Seems to me this still a couple of years to go before full maturity but it is quite a lovely wine.
Daniel Rion Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Chaumes 1990 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
Cyrille and Anna were able to join us later in the evening and they showed us pictures of their vacation in France. After they showed us pictures of the facility where Laquiole cheese was made, Cyrille followed up by sending over some of the Laguiole cheese which was quite excellent.
Richard, Cyrille, Anna, Noel, and Catha by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
Laguiole Cheese by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
As we were running low on wine by this time, we opened my Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin ier Cru Champonnet 2002. Very firm and although pleasant enough to drink now, not a very expressive bottle. Mostly raspberry. I’d give this a few more years before trying again. Perhaps outclassed by the previous bottles.
Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Champonnet by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
Jim and Ella also happened to be having dinner there that evening and they joined us for the Faiveley as well as the dessert wine – a half bottle of De Bortoli Noble One 2008. Very dark and quite rich. Comparisons to Sauternes can’t be avoided although I find this particular Noble One a bit more heavy-handed than previous examples. Still, not a bad dessert wine for the price. Raisin, apricot and marmalade. Nice with the blue cheese. No dessert course needed as this served as dessert just fine. I even decided to skip Brasserie Ciçou’s famous Kouign Aman in favor of the wine.
De Bortoli Noble One 2008 by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr
We stayed much longer, in fact we were the last patrons out, close to midnight as there was a lot of catching up to do since it had been a while since we were all together. One more bottle was opened to fuel the conversation- Richard’s Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial Rosé NV. Unfortunately, a rather weak wine with sour fruit and a bitter finish prevailing.
Although the last wine was a disappointment, the great company and excellent food and wines certainly made the evening a lot of fun.
Cyrille, Catha and Richard by jaylabrador.winesteward, on Flickr