Friday, October 12, 2012

An Inspired Wine/Game Dinner at Nota Bene, Toronto

Chef David Lee has a long, inspiring track record of creating exceptional game dinners. This one was another standout enhanced by an extraordinary selection of great wines from fabulous vintages. 

The evening had 2 parts, a blind tasting followed by the meal. The following wines were provided for the tasting: '61 Lafite Rothschild; '62 Vega Sicilia Unico, '85 DRC Richbourg; '74 Heitz Martha's Vineyard cab; '80 Penfold's grange Hermitage; '89 Cote-Rotie La Turque, Guigal; '82 Brunello di Montalcino Biondi Santi Reserva "Il Greppo"; '83 Barbaresco Sori Tilden, Gaja. What an extraordinary line up of wines. When truly great wines are as mature as these, I find it harder to discern subtle differences. I was correct in selecting the Lafite, the DRC, the Brunello and Barbaresco. only 2 of our esteemed group of 14 tasters guessed all wines correctly. I pride myself on knowing Grange, but, this Grange had what was for me, an unfamiliar nose and taste, when tasted blind. Of course, each wine was wonderful, but my 3 faves were the Lafite, the Richbourg and the Vega.

Switching tables for the dinner, we enjoyed the following wines during the meal: '86 Chateau D'Arlay, Grand Vin Juane de Garde, Cote de jura; '82 Ch. Haute Brion Blanc; '85 Barca Velha, Ferreirinha, Vino Tinto de Mesa; '91 Rust en Vrede Stellenbosch, Wyn Van Oorsprong and, the piece de resistance, an 1894 Al Danil Tokay, The Massandra Collection.

This evening was one of the finest wine experiences I have had the pleasure of enjoying.

Now, for the remarkable meal created by chef Lee.

Right to left, truffle scented Northern Alliance venison tartar topped with a slice of black truffle; pristine Nova Scotia lobster and sea urchin; peaches and cream corn custard with tender  Tunisian octopus, tamari jelly and coriander shoot.

Richview Farms squab and squab jelly with Quebec matsutake mushrooms and julienned jellyfish, a remarkable dish.

Nova Scotia lobster and B.C. dungeness crab with a Gaspe seaweed salad.

Duck breast, snow goose and pistachio sausage with local romano beans and caramelized pear.

Caledon Farms buckthorn berry sorbet, the perfect palate refresher.

The presentation of the suckling St. Canut belly. The aroma was incredibly tantalizing!

Slow roasted St. Canut farms, Milk-fed suckling pig belly with Saskatewan chanterelles. The meat was remarkably juicy and flavourful and the crispy crackling addictive! The perfect execution of great flavours and texture brought out ideally from this exceptional quality animal.

Munster cheese souffle with quince and pear purees. The perfect complement for an exceptional vintage late 19thC dessert wine.

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