Foie Gras & Wine

Foie Gras (fattened duck or goose liver) is a French delicacy.  Its decadent richness, bordering buttery is world renown & has become an iconic luxury dining offering.  The leading purveyor in the U.S. is Hudson Valley.  Historically, sommeliers & gourmets paired foie gras specialties with top end Sauternes, mano e mano.  True decadence.  The richness, unctuality & visceral mouthfeel of the wine could keep up with the foie gras & the wine’s innate sweetness would freshen & refresh the palate between bites.

At VINO, we chose to do something different on this night just to shake the bushes some.

Foie Gras Torchonserved with crostini, caramelized pineapple, garnished with apples bits

 wine pairing:  2013 Domaine de Durban Muscat de Beaumes de Venise–a very iconic, standout late harvest, fortified white wine, grown France’s southern Rhone Valley.  “The domaine and its vineyards sit atop a picturesque plateau in the Vaucluse, sheltered by the Dentelles de Montmirail, just above of the village of Beaumes-de-Venise. The scenic views put one at pause considering the timelessness—wine has been a part of the culture here for millennia”.  The higher altitude, the plentitude of sun exposure, the constant pounding mistral winds & the clay-limestone strewn hillsides create a very unique niche for producing this sweet, though brilliantly fresh vin doux naturale, which is quite a revelation for the appellation & its wines.  “The Leydiers are particularly proud of their Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise as they are among the last to craft it in the traditional style. Leydier’s old-fashioned vinification keeps the spirits as low as possible, so that they may hold on to the bright freshness in the grapes. One can find more powerful Muscats, but none as tasty and fine”.  The youthful 2013 still has the hutzpah & decadence for the torchon, but still with enough zest & nerve for the pineapple & apple garnishes.  (Sweet wines like this can lose their apparent sweetness with considerable bottle age, as it transforms into a more tactile, visceral feel).  Definitely an interesting pairing.


Pan Seared “A” Grade Foie GrasPort wine reduction, quail egg & duck prosciutto

 wine pairing:  2016 Domaine La Tour Vieille Banyuls “Rimage”–Banyuls is a wine appellation in southern France, right on the Mediterranean, 2 miles from the Spanish border.  The impossibly steep, daunting, sun baked, wind pounded hillsides of schist have to be terraced to help keep the soil in place & also make the slopes workable.  The Banyuls wines are fortified vin doux naturale.  While some renditions can be very rustic, rugged, bordering coarse, we have taken quite a liking to the more civil, wine-like bottlings from Domaine La Tour Vieille.  Their “Rimage” bottling is old vine Grenache with a dollop of Carignane.  While Grenache can typically offer wonderfully ripe, lush, round fruit, this estate’s Grenache terroir also innately adds an intriguing, very savory, masculinity to its core, which I am sure is at least partially from the challenging schist driven hillsides.  The wine is then buttressed with roughly 10% Carignane which helps with savoriness, structure & frame.  The best way to sum up describing this wine…..”A delicious, savory Mediterranean red wine, which happens to be fortified“.   We typically enjoy this wine well chilled.  It certainly proved to be an interesting pairing to say the least.

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