Sofitel and Trimbach Wines : The Perfect Pairing
As Sofitel closed out another successful celebration of wine and food during Sofitel Wine Days, I had the pleasure of meeting one of the premiere featured winemakers at the Trimbach Winemaker dinner. Trimbach wines are harvested and bottled in the Alsace region of France, which is located along the fartherest eastern border of France. Situated along the Wine Route, the Ribeauville village is sheltered between the Vosges Mountains and the vineyards and has been home to the Trimbach family wines and neighboring vineyards since 1626.
Now, that’s what you call vintage wines! Twelve generations of winemakers have put their passion into producing these highly acclaimed wines just as their family founder, Frederic Emile Trimbach, received the highest distinction at the International Wine Fair in Brussels in 1898. And on this night in 2014, these highly acclaimed wines were to be selectively paired with the cuisine of Chef Marius Blini of Softel.
I was invited to dine by Nilou Rahmani, the Esterel Restaurant Manager and a woman very engaged in working with the culinary and wine team to bring the freshest foods prepared in the highest quality and pairing with fine wines. To my delight and in true French fashion, I began my evening with a social chat with friends over a glass of champagne in the Sofitel lounge preparing my tastebuds for the delectable dinner ahead. With Executive Chef Marius Blin and Trimbach wines at the helm for the evening, I knew I was in good hands.
Upon entering the elegant Esterel restaurant, I was greeted by another Frederic ~ Frederic Zemmour, the Sofitel Los Angeles’ Food and Beverage Manager who seated me and my guest in a luxurious booth with a Chef’s table-like view of the kitchen. Perfectly poised to see the Chef at work. Frederic shared that the Trimbach wine Ambassador, Anne Trimbach, would be arriving shortly and I gleened in anticipation. And thus, dinner began.
The first course was a Roasted Marrow Bone “stuffed” with chanterelle mushrooms and garlic puree served with persillade toast and paired with Trimbach Pinot Noir. Persillade is a seasoned mixture of fresh parsley, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and customarily some seasonings all finely chopped together to create a delicious paste of sorts which, in this case, has been paired with chanterelle mushrooms. YUM! The Trimbach Pinot Noir features red fruit and blackberry aromas and comes from the best terroirs and is only produced “in the very best years”.
About this time, I had the pleasure of meeting Anne Trimbach. As mentioned above, Anne is the Trimbach family wine ambassador and the grand niece to family founder, Frederic. “Does the Trimbach family use steel casks to age the wines?” I ask. “Never, never,” replies Anne. “We use nearly ancient oak barrels – some dating back to 1717 – that are so old they have neutral flavors.” Anne went on to explain that she grew up at the winery, what fun that must have been, and that they keep a close track on the measure of sugar in the grapes to determine when to harvest. Curious, I inquire, “When harvesting, do you use machines to pick the grapes or hand harvest?” Anne proudly exclaims, “Trimbach grapes are hand-picked, hand-harvested lending to the quality of the harvesting process.” Oooooh, I’m intrigued. Next course, please.
Chef Marius Blin chose Seared Branzino for the entree. Branzino, if you are not aware, is a white fish that is usually grilled or pan seared whole or fileted with the skin on. Chef Marius opted for pan seared white fish filets served with braised leek and fennel, California sunchoke puree, and yet Chef took the dish to a whole new dimension by adding a poached oyster and local caviar polished with his classic beurre blanc sauce.
Wow, talk about a dance party in your mouth. The piece de resistance? A wine pairing of Trimbach Riesling. Well balanced subtle flavors and fruit, this elegant wine was perfectly paired with Chef Marius’ Branzino and Anne also recommends pairing with other fish such as smoked, grilled, or fried fish and white meats such as pork.
The Cheese course arrived with a delicious pairing of Trimbach Pinot Gris. Let’s start with the wine first… one of the most remarkable Alsace grape varieties, the pinot gris combines full-bodied, dry fruitiness with a hint of smokiness that appropriately pairs with foods that possess depth of flavor. You can’t get anymore depth of flavor than an array of flavor-forward cheeses. When it came to cheese, Chef chose the Schloss Marin Farm cow’s milk cheese, Bay Blue Pointe Reyes Farmstead (cow), San Andreas Bellwether Farm sheep’s milk cheese accompanied by roasted red grapes, chocolate macadamia tuiles, and fresh honeycomb. Ummmmm, we could stop here and my tastebuds would be thriving in happiness. But, there was one more course to come. Dessert.
Strawberry Basil Sorbet highlighted the end of a savory evening and was accentuated by almond meringue, hibiscus flower, micro mint, a macaron shell and one of the most revered Trimbach wines – the Trimbach Gewurztraminer “Reserve”. Pair with spicy dishes, Asian-inspired cuisines, strong cheeses and featured here, fruit-based desserts.
If “the accidity of a reisling keeps you alive”, as Anne Trimbach states. Then, we shall all be alive indeed. Cheers!
For reservations at Esterel restaurant at Sofitel LA, visit SofitelLA
For more information about Trimbach wines, visit Trimbach.com