Tuesday, August 10, 2010

#106 - Thomas Keller Chicken & Burgundian Cheese With Varnier-Fanniere Champagne

Thomas Keller Chicken again!

Because it's good.

And it's been two weeks!

It's what got us on the white Burgundy train with a delicious Viré Clessé.

And we loved it with an Auxey Duresses white Burgundy last month. While not particularly good with two Pinot Blancs, it was fine Fourth of July stuff with a Grüner Veltliner and a Hungarian white while being not too shabby with a bargain Sancerre.

Thomas Keller chicken though, transcends normal, everyday chicken. It's not just chicken. It's not even Wine Can Chicken. It's some sort of Super Chicken.

Food: Thomas Keller Chicken with Burgundian cheese and a mâche and lemon verbena salad

Virtually a carbon copy of the meal two weeks ago with a few exceptions.

Delicious chicken again. Softer, more herbal skin and the thigh won the tasty chicken battle for the second straight chicken dinner. Mouthwateringly juicy that amped up the very essence of chicken in the lining of my cheeks.

Delice de Bourgogne cheese with baguette again. It's my current favorite cheese. Perfect amount of funkiness that hangs around just long enough without staying too long at the party.

One big difference was lemon verbena instead of parsley in the mâche mix. Brought a citrus element to the plate of course, but took the cleansing-of-the-palate salad utility one step further and brought a contrasting element to the food. Doesn't necessarily brighten things up but diversified things a bit.

I implore you. Try Thomas Keller's Bouchon chicken and drink a good French white with it. It's so easy to make and the payoff is something quite over-the-top Great.

Wine: NV Varnier-Fanniere Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brüt ($29 - WDC)

100% Chardonnay. Disgorged in 2006. Very pale yellow in the glass. Yeast of old bread dough on the nose right away. Started out closed and DRY on the palate. Once the shock of how dry it was wore off and some food was added, the wine exploded with a solid-as-a-rock pear background fruit note with citrus notes dancing the foreground. Fine touch of yeast throughout that never turned too bready. Lively acid that played nice with everything and never demanded your attention and a very subtle almost heavily toasted almond note or dirt occasionally popped up - something dark or at least unexpectedly dark-ish that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Bone-dry in the best way.

A delicious Champagne that will be bought again.

Pairing: 94 An absolute surprise in every sense

I guess the biggest surprise was how well it fielded everything thrown at it. Best with the delice de Bourgogne with the yeasty-pear elements in the wine matching up brilliantly with the slight funk in the cheese. It was a Wow moment.

Not too shabby at all with the chicken. The herbs in the chicken accented the fruit in the Champagne, mixing and refreshing the mouth on a brutally hot and humid day. Fruit, succulent skin, herbal base and bubbles = Some great bites and drinks.

And just flat-out delicious with the lemon verbena.

Thomas Keller chicken might be spectacular with white Burgundy but neither of us wanted everything resembling butter in a wine when it was 90 degrees out and humid as *&%#.

With the Champagne, a wine that constantly changed and constantly surprised with the food, something that refreshed was called for.

And it did in spades.

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