Tuesday, May 24, 2011

#191 - TK Chicken And Two Eastern French Cheeses With An '02 Paul Pernot Folatières

I like interesting things.  Who doesn't like interesting things?

Interesting things drive curiosity and fuel further forays in the food and wine field.

But interesting is a broad word and sometimes interesting is too much work when all you want is to eat and drink two elements that go together without much effort.

If I wanted to ponder this wine, think about it, pour over its nuances and layers, then great, there's plenty here to think about.

We just wanted a well-crafted white Burgundy that would go with a great chicken while playing well with cheeses from the same general region.

This wasn't that.

Food:  TK chicken, Epoisses and Delice du Jura cheeses, baguette and mâche salad

Better than solid Thomas Keller chicken slathered in white pepper and lemon thyme, juicy and delicious, which is too bad because it felt a touch wasted on the experimentation going on everywhere else.

Epoisses and Delice du Jura triple cream cheeses with baguette accompanied the chicken (both three weeks after the package expiration date - that's how we roll).  Epoisses is a funky, unpasteurized cow's milk cheese from Burgundy with a rind that's washed in marc de Bourgogne,  brandy made from the leftover bits from the winemaking process.  Gooey and altogether funkified, the pungent smell does not, in the least, follow through to the taste.  Comes off like the charred bits of a bourbon-soaked meat product rubbed in a cheap, salty barbeque spice blend that's been HEAVILY smoked over a mesquite fire.  Interesting...and you can keep it.  If on a cheese plate with other offerings I wanted, I'd dive back in but I'm not rushing out to get more.  Not even walking.

Delice du Jura cheese, a cousin of one of our favorites, Delice de Bourgogne, came off more subtle and gloppy than said cousin.  Fine but nothing that would trump Delice de Bourgogne, especially with the TK Chicken and cheese goodness with white Burgundy meal that was love so much and a cheese that, unlike Delice de Bourgogne, probably suffered from the three-week expiration-ness.  It's creaminess was not particularly that.

Mâche salad with oodles of white pepper and balsamic.  Good stuff and oddly caused the wine to explode to a place where it almost felt wanted, which was something we couldn't say for the rest of the meal.

Wine:  2002 Paul Pernot et ses Fils Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières ($75 - WDC)

Mrs. Ney was told when she bought it to open this bottle the day before, stick it in the fridge and then decant.  We skipped that and simply decanted for about three hours.  Most likely needed more, which seemed a bit obnoxious to us.

Huge nose of sticky cheese.  First impression was the backwardness of the entry.  Not necessarily in a bad way but wandered into the realm of the aforementioned 'interesting' instead of delicious.  Maybe too thought-provoking instead of simply good.  Entirely different expression of fruit than we're used to or frankly prefer.  Entered with an enormous and singular hit of minerals and acid, transitioning to a smoked lemon rind mixed with more minerals core and finishing with a small perkup of more complex fruit blend of peach and apricot on the finish.  Notes of dried honey all over the place.  A nominally balanced wine but clunky to us with too much minerality - something I never thought I'd say - to enjoy the transitions and depth.  It was like the wine was constantly screaming at me to respect its high-mindedness instead of being more subtle about its nuance and deliciousness.

At the four-hour mark and with a huge bite of white pepper on the mâche salad, the wine became more of something we wanted.  The fruit moved up a couple of seats, moving towards the front of the bus and a smoky peach and lemon goodness mingled respectfully with the minerals, becoming almost lovely.

But in the end, at $75 (much more other places), rolling the dice on a decant and hoping any wine hits a place that's open and welcome with food is kind of annoying.  This was three hours in the decanter for an eight-year old wine and it needed more?  Seems fussy to us.

Pairing:  80  Minimum respect for the "interestingness" of it all but won't be doing it again

And that's too bad.  This was good chicken.

Best that can be said was that the mâche salad with white pepper made the wine become almost good.

We're quickly coming to the conclusion that staying in the $25-40 white Burgundy world will serve us just fine.  The fussiness and kid gloves in the more expensive realm detracts from the ease and love of finding good food and wine pairings.

A quick note:  Semiramis for lunch.  A tableful of food consisting of hummus, dolmas, fattoush, baba ghannouj, ful and falafel with pita.  As good as it gets.  Eaten with a 2009 Domaine Hüet Clos Du Bourg Vouvray Sec, a wine that's been getting a lot of pub lately and recently won an Asimov Vouvray tasting of 2008s and 2009s at the New York Times.  While the pairing was merely good, not reaching the realm of what the Domaine Guiberteau Saumur Blanc did about a year ago at Semiramis, the wine itself demands attention and more will be bought soon.  More forward than expected with a big tropical fruit hit upfront but then settling down into a wonderful and balanced wine hitting all the beeswax and white tea notes that make for great Vouvray and hitting all of them in the best possible order.  Great stuff.

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