This year, Benchmark Wine Group is partnering with La Toque Napa Valley for their 39th Annual Black Truffle Fest! Follow along as our Featured Master Sommelier on The Somm Set, Chris Blanchard, works with Chef Ken Frank of La Toque on exclusive wine and truffle pairings for this year’s menu. Check out his recommendations below!
When I think of wine pairing with black truffles, just four things come to mind, Nebbiolo, Red Burgundy, White Burgundy, and Champagne.
Depending on the course, one of these wines will work wonderfully, but if I were selecting wine for Ken Frank’s truffle menu, I would probably choose a white and a red. In this case, starting with a Champagne perhaps or white Burgundy, which would be otherworldly when tasted alongside the truffle egg & brioche, or the truffle grilled cheese or any of the courses on the La Toque menu. In fact, how fun would it be to do a tasting of both white and red wines for each course to see what might be the better combination?
Here are a few Champagne and white Burgundy selections I would recommend:
Gosset Brut Grand Millesime 2012
– A little known producer from an incredible vineyard site. Composed of mostly Chardonnay and with more than 10 years of age, this would be an amazing pairing, especially at this price!
Vilmart Brut Coeur de Cuvee 2012
– Delicious 80% Chardonnay Champagne with age from this well-regarded grower-producer
Caroline Parent Meursault 2014
– Meursault is always so delicious, roasted nuts, brown butter, and rich texture at a great price for a wine with age.
Paul Pillot Chassagne Montrachet Clos St. Jean 2017
– The legendary Lafon makes this entry-level Burgundy seem like a 1er cru for an incredible bargain!
Dishes like Ken’s King Salmon in duck fat or porcini tortellini with mushroom sauce and beef Wellington with truffled potatoes are absolutely the perfect pairing with a red Burgundy or an aged Barolo or Barbaresco. The combination of the earthy, heady aromas of black truffle and the forest floor, earthy, mushroom, and structure of the Nebbiolo or Pinot Noir is the stuff dreams are made of.
Here’s some Nebbiolo that I would buy from the secret inventory of BWG’s hidden gems:
– The 2016 vintage is an outstanding year, and this classic producer is such a great value.
Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto di Serralunga d`Alba 2016
– Hard to go wrong with one of the royal producers of Barolo, from the Serralunga d’Alba township of Barolo
Domenico Clerico Barolo Pajana 2009
– Here’s another screaming deal in the Benchmark inventory, from the heralded 2009 vintage and the stellar Pajana cru.
Roberto Voerzio Barolo Brunate 1997
– In my opinion, one of the greatest wines of the last 25 years from a more modern style producer. The 1997 put Voerzio on the world map, and his expression of one of the great crus in Barolo is unparalleled.
Check out this great Red Burgundy:
Patrice Rion Vougeot Les Cras 2015
– Pommard with more than 10 years of age from the Les Epenots 1er Cru vineyard
Robert Chevillon Nuits St. Georges Les Vaucrains 2007
– I’m really loving the 2007 vintage, especially from Chevillon. Truly a captivating bottle with age, structure, and complexity
Domaine Raphet Charmes Chambertin (Cuvee Unique/Vieilles Vignes) 2017
– An incredible producer known for finesse and power, this old vine bottling of a portion of the Charmes Chambertin vineyard would be such a surreal pairing with these black truffle dishes.
Want to learn more? Chris Blanchard will be featured throughout the month of January 2020. Check it out here!
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