Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to a Chablis wine-pairing dinner at The Chancery.  The wine-filled evening was an education into the links between the complex flavours of Chablis wine and the geology of the Chablis vineyard region, for which it’s attributed. The event was hosted by one of London’s top wine experts, Douglas Blyde, who was on hand to impart some of his vast wine knowledge.

The evening’s flight of Chablis wines were paired with some delicious dishes by Graham Long, The Chancery’s head chef.  The night kicked off down in The Chancery’s wine cellar with a Chablis petit aperitif, paired with crab beignets and some chit-chat.  The Chancery itself is a notable Holborn dining spot serving modern European cuisine, located next to the new Saatchi headquarters.

Chablis vineyards are located within the northernmost region of Burgundy.  The unique geology of its Kimmeridgian fossil-rich subsoil has helped to gain this characteristically clear, dry white wine global recognition. 

Chablis wines are typically pale gold in colour, sometimes with a greenish tinge.  They have a delicate flavour and a fresh aroma, with notes of citrus, apple and sometimes liquorice.

We were given two different Chablis wines to compare and contrast with each course, along with note sheets to jot down our findings, although several glasses of wine in, the note sheets were soon forgotten about.

Raw, hand-dived scallops, cucumber jelly, avocado cream, sesame filo and shiso dressing.  This course was an attractive and well-devised dish that looked like a work of art.  It was paired with a mineral-rich Chablis, Garnier & Fils ‘Grains Dores’ 2012, which had hints of vanilla and oak. 

Tartare of trout with poached apple, nettle purée, macadamia nuts and trout eggs.  Next up was an aromatically complex, Premier Cru appellation Chablis.  It had hints of sweetness and spice, making it a great wine to pair with certain seafood.  The more mineral-rich variants of the Premier Cru can be paired with richer meat, such as fine poultry and veal.  The Jean Marc Brocard’s Montée de Tonerre 2011, was contrasted with Val de Mercy’s Beauregard 2012, which has a more nutty flavour and complemented the trout tartare dish beautifully. 

Roasted quail, cannelloni of the leg and foie gras, sweet corn, hazelnuts, pickled mushrooms and wild garlic.  This rich quail dish was paired with a Grand Cru Chablis, Samuel Billaud’s Les Preuses 2013, made from 70-year-old vines.  It’s a bold wine that works perfectly with rich foods.  This course particularly stood out – its wide array of flavours and textures really worked in synergy to create a very delicious, unique and colourful dish.

 

Neal’s Yard cheeseboard.  Finally, the night went out with Domaine Pinson Fôrets 2003, a mature Chablis from a heatwave year.  With only 5,000 bottles produced annually, it’s something a bit special. This was paired with an array of local cheeses.

It’s fair to say that we all lost count of how many glasses of wine we managed throughout the entire duration of the night but I can safely say that I am a Chablis convert.

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