This event was highly anticipated, a result of the caliber and track record of the organizers, as well as a broad-based love for the subject wine. A testament to the pent-up demand for such an offering was the fact that the Selosse seminar was sold out on the first day of a pre-offer to customers of the event's Grand Cru sponsor; and tickets to Peter Liem's session were closed out very soon thereafter.
The weather in New York had been exceptional for the three days leading up to the event and the day-of followed suit. The weather was a portent of what awaited us within the confines of Astor Center, the event locale.
The seminar schedule is shown below.
I did not attend the Peter Liem event because it sold out early. My buddy Ron and his wife Bev did attend and they thought that it was exceptional. According to Ron, Peter laid out the various terroirs of Champagne in a manner that was very enlightening to him in terms of its meaning in the glass.
|Peter Liem and Daniel Johnnes at opening seminar|
(Picture courtesy of Ron Siegel)
|Levi Dalton and Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, Roederer Chef de Cave|
- Pascaline Lepeltier, Wine Director, Rouge Tomate: Jacques Lassagne Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Le Cotet with Hawaii Walu Crudo from Andy Bennett, Exective Chef, Rouge Tomate
- Aldo Sohm, Chef Sommelier, Le Bernardin: Pierre Moncuit Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru with Le Bernardin Salmon Rillette from Eric Ripert, Chef/Owner, Le Bernardin
- Rajeev Vaidya, Chef Sommelier DANIEL: Georges Laval Brut Nature Cumières Premier Cru with Mosiac of Venison and Daikon Radish from Jean-François Bruel, Executive Chef, DANIEL
- Rajat Parr, Winemaker, Sandhi Wines: Savart Expression Brut Nature Premier Cru 2009 with Smoked Sturgeon, Caviar, and Rye from James Kent, Executive Chef, NoMad Hotel.
|Panelists for A Sommelier's Perspective|
|Dishes paired with the Sommeliers' Champagne choices|
|Ron and Bev at the Sommelier's Perspective|
|Anselme Selosse, Jean-Baptiste Cristini, and Pascaline Lepeltier|
|Sposa with Anselme Selosse post seminar|
|Author with Peter Liem|
And the Champagne flowed. each table was pouring either three or four bottles of their estate's best offerings. It all went too quickly. In addition to the Champagne tables, there were a number of food stations peppered throughout the hall with the standouts being, in my opinion, a spicy, yielding, wagyu beef from DeBragga. The Grand Tasting was scheduled to end at three and these guys were relentless in getting pourers and attendees out so that they could prepare for the Gala Dinner.
|Ron with Anselme Selosse at the Grand Tasting|
We were welcomed with glasses of Christian Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Le Clos 2011 and that was featured throughout the cocktail hour. Canapés prepared by James Kent, Abram Bissel, Guenter Seeger, and Daniel Boulud were served during this period.
Our table ran along the far wall and we were seated next the the owner of Wally's and just behind our Chief Interlocutor for the evening, Zach Baum of Crush Wine and Spirits.
The evening began rather tamely with some relatively basic mags but then began to pick up the pace, both in terms of quantity and quality. Each person had three glasses and those very quickly became inadequate for the volume of wine that was rapidly coming downstream. For example, our table was being managed by Levi Dalton, Raj Parr, and the Somm from the Bristol Hotel in Paris. These guys were in charge of our wines and ensuring that we got them in a timely fashion. In addition, the producers were walking around and pouring their wines into your glasses (At least one producer sat at each table.). In addition, folks from other tables were bringing their wines over and pouring us. And, finally, Crush Wines had instructed that every wine poured at their table should be poured for us also. Pretty soon I was drowning. A partial listing of the Champagnes poured at dinner is provided below as an Addendum.
|Cristal Rosé in Mag|
|Lobster: Marinated with Truffles, Grapefruit, and Radish|
-- Abram Bissel
|Roasted Poularde: Porcini Cream, Oyster Mushrooms, Salsify,|
and Swiss Chard - Daniel Boulud
|Part of our contribution to the evening|
This was a Champagne dinner but we figured that by the end of the evening, folks would be craving some red wine so Ron and I took, in addition to some excellent Champagnes, multiple bottles of Burgundy and Barolo.
|Red wine time|
|Ron with a bottle of '99 Chambertin|
|Parlo and Bev with Daniel Johnnes|
|Beauty and the Beasts. Nicole Beloyianis,|
Event Organizer, between Ron and Author
Addendum -- Partial List of Champagnes Poured at the Gala Dinner (as compiled by Ron Siegel)
1976 Dom Ruinart BB Mag
1989 Krug Collection Mag
1985 Dom Rosé Oenotheque Mag
1923 Veuve Clicquot Mag
1982 Dom Oenotheque Mag
NV Raphaele & Vincent Bereche Côte Millesime 3L
1981 Krug Collection Mag
1975 Dom Mag
1975 Bollinger RD 3L
L'Accomplie Brut 3L
1999 Pierre Peters Cuvee Special Mag
1990 Dom Mag
2002 Dom Ruinart Mag
1996 Bollinger Grande Anee Mag
1989 Clos ds Goisse Philipponnat Mag
1995 Cristal Mag
1995 Dom Oenotheque
1989 Cristal Mag
1964 Delamotte Mag
1982 Agrapart & Fils Mineral BB Mag
1982 Charles Heidsieck Champagne Charlie Mag
1985 Deutz Cuvee William Millesime
1976 Taittinger Comte Champagne
©Wine -- Mise en abyme