June 3, 2015

Chandon Wine Pairing with Dan Buckle

A Chandon Excursion of Flavours!

I can’t believe it… it’s been two years since I had my first Chandon! Where did time went? My first taste of Chandon was so fabulous, I can still vividly remember the Chandon’s SummerEdition Party back then. It was simply unforgettable. So when I received an invite recently to an afternoon’s Chandon wine pairing with Dan Buckle, senior winemaker for Chandon, I made sure I make time for the event!

Held at Eight Gourmet Gala (EGG) at Bandar Sunway, the exclusive wine pairing was a grand affair. I arrived pretty early and was immediately handed a gorgeous Chandon Brut to relax and unwind before the event started. As everyone began to trickle in on the Friday afternoon, the room began to be filled with lots of laughter and cheering. Chandon Brut soon worked its magic into everyone’s moods as we all soon began to get comfortable and bubbly!

Dan Buckle, the ‘meticulous’ winemaker, made his rounds, introducing himself to everyone and getting us all excited over the coming wine pairing. It was only logical that Dan wound up in the wine industry. After all, Dan’s father is the proud owner of a Mornington Peninsula vineyard and taught Dan everything about planting, pruning and harvesting grapes. It was also while studying at Melbourne University and working in wine retail that further cultivated Dan’s passion for wine and so he completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (Wine).

After years of experience in various stints with industry luminary James Haliday, Yering Station and Mount Langi Ghiran, Dan is back in Yarra Valley. His meticulous approach to winemaking has seen him progress to become one of Victoria’s and Australia’s, most prominent winemakers.

Our dining room was elegantly dressed with simplicity and class. Everyone couldn’t wait to capture the beautiful moment at the elegant set table. A quick glance and I knew the day could only get better. A menu to be paired with five Chandon wines pretty much won many hearts that afternoon, including mine.

As we all settled in happily, Chandon Brut and Chandon Rosé was immediately served to everyone. Dan quickly made a speech, telling everyone that there is no rules on pairing wine with a dish. There are general guidelines in wine pairing but he encourages everyone to try the various Chandon wines with each dish to see which one we prefer. The knowledgeable winemaker proceeded to share his wisdom of Chandon to enhance our wine pairing with more principles of wine tasting and also Chandon’s heritage, vineyard and wine making process.

Our first course from the menu was Seafood Platter. Going raw, the platter consisted of oyster, sweet prawn and raw sashimi fish paired with Chandon Brut and Chandon Rosé.

Oyster and sparkling has always been a favorite pairing of mine. The salty briny mollusk is boldly enhanced with Chandon Brut. A chardonnay led méthode traditionnelle sparkling wine, the Chandon Brut’s soft citrus notes lifted the oyster’s oceanic flavours really well.  I also enjoyed the succulent sweet prawn with its gelatinous texture with Chandon Brut immensely. Its crisp finish balanced the sweetness of the crustacean. I enjoyed the Chandon Rosé with the sashimi fish smeared with a little wasabi. Since the Chandon Rosé has hints of autumn fruit notes, it kept the palate fresh when savoring the raw fish.

The next course was Smoked Duck Salad and we were encourage to explore with all five Chandon wines and sparkling wines. I couldn’t decide between two of my preferred pairing with the duck. I never expected the Domaine Chandon Chardonnay to work so well with the smoked duck but it did. There’s something unusually soothing with the Chardonnay’s crisp and luscious notes with the edgy smoked duck flavours that I really enjoyed. The second wine that also paired well was the Domaine Chandon Pinot Noir, a medium bodied red with palate of dark rich plums and vibrant tangy raspberry. Plums and duck are a majestic match for each other. Though never one to enjoy red wines, I do have a soft spot for this particular Pinot Noir. It was probably my adoration for plums and raspberries that I sensed in the red wine that nurtured this sensation.

Our main course was Grilled Salmon with Mint Sauce. Again I am faced with an indecisive favoritism of two pairings that I enjoyed with the rich oily fish. I thought the salmon with its crispy skin paired so well with Domaine Chandon Chardonnay and Chandon Brut. The Chardonnay with its summery citrus fruits lifted the richness of the fish while the Chandon Brut fresh and crisp notes also balanced and contained the richness of the salmon well. The reds were a bit too heavy with the fish while the Rosé took on more sweetness with the salmon.

In between the main course and dessert, we were surprised with an additional ingredient to go with our wines, Smoked Salami! It was an undeniably a favorite pairing with Domaine Chandon Shiraz with the few of us that day. Shiraz is renowned for their bold and vibrant notes so it took an intense red of berries and plums to match up with the salty rich cured meat and briny olive. I also adored the appearance of the Shiraz’s rich deep purple density as it is quite an unusual colour.

With all meals, it had to end somehow. And with every ending, it is only plausible that we end it with a sweet note. Raspberry Crème Brulee happens to be one of my favorite desserts! And this one was exceptional delicious with the essential cracked on the caramel crust, unfolding luscious smooth baked custard. Set just right, the crème brulee is gorgeously rich and just sweet enough. The richness of the custard was a match made-in-heaven with both Chandon Brut and Chandon Rosé. It seemed that sparkling wines makes a good starter as well as a solid ending. Both elegant aperitif style wines balanced out the richness of the dessert beautifully with their respective crisp finish.

That afternoon after the lunch pairing, there were more surprises to unfold. I will leave that for another story as it seemed only fair to tribute this post with full concentration on the beautiful wine pairing with Dan Buckle and Chandon

Stay tune for Chandon Limited Edition 2015 and a Cocktail Masterclass!


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