BY CK Lam
The Dining Room in Macalister Mansion is the venue where a number of guests turned up for the Baron Edmond de Rothschild Wine Dinner. Organized by Asiaeuro, the event featured wines from Africa to France from the illustrious wine estates of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the family owning legendary Chateau Lafite and Chateau Clarke.
Hosted by Asia Chief Representative Florent J. Mougin, five exquisite wines were paired with a tasting menu of contemporary European cuisine prepared by Chef Eric Heijkoop, executive chef and director of food and beverage for the property and restaurant.
The food prepared by this visionary culinary creator is not presented in the usual form, but rather with his cuisine technique. Besides enticing the palate with flavors, textures and colors, the chef pays lot of attention in beautifying the plates too.
I met Florent four years ago at a wine function and was fortunate to meet him again.
To begin with, we had a velvety smooth Cold Potato Mousse. This was followed by the Ragout of Mushroom, in which the chef lifted the texture and also the taste with rich layered flavor to give the amuse bouche a little something interesting to start off the palates. The small portion was just nice as it was very filling.
First we tasted Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons Baroness Nadine 2010, a chardonnay aged 20% in tank and 80% in barrel for 11 months. The wine with refreshing citrus aromas with pineapple, richness and acidity was paired with a dish with Japanese influence.
The Cured Japanese Pink Snapper and Crispy Fish Skin, came adorned with dots of Oyster Emulsion, Bacalao Brandade, Sea Fennel and dash of faintly Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese spice mixture).
The firm-textured cured snapper on its own has a very distinct sharp saltiness but having it with a bit of each of the ingredient in one bite offers a pack of satisfying melody of flavors. I loved the pairing of the ingredients with the chardonnay, and the result was a sweeter wine.
The second bottle was Chateau de Malengin, Montagne Saint Emilion 2010. Decanted for hour and a half, the matured wine with vine varieties of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon opened up with fruity flavor, a bit of leather and spiciness.
The wine was paired with a luxuriously rich dish with interesting foie gras preparation – Truffle Spheres with Mousse of Foie Gras, served with a tangle of crispy Dehydrated Enoki Mushrooms, Forest Soil and Beetroot. Its taste is everything you would expect – extremely earthy, and its considerably different texture is lovely in its form.
Sorbet is served before the next quail dish. Diners found great joy in the pleasing palate cleansing sorbet done with extra virgin olive oil.
The third bottle was the Chateau des Laurets, Puisseguin Saint Emilion 2011, paired with the Marinated Spice Quail with Coriander and Mint, Barbecue Aubergine, Black Curry and Red Wine Aubergine. This concentrated well-made wine of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc has a nice mouthfeel, and made a fine partner to contrast the gamey flavor of the quail.
Next came the Chateau Clarke, Baron Edmond de Rothschild Listrac-Médoc 2008, a young fruity wine of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine aged mostly in new barrels, where they mature for 14 to 18 months, brings spice and plenty of red and black fruit notes. The wine was paired with Slow Cooked Lamb Belly with Saddle, Creme of Onion, Escabeche of Vegetables and Pickled Saffron.
The creme of onion added richness while the crunchy, vinegary salad and pickled saffron livened up the meat which was done with a lovely pink but however lacked quite the requisite tenderness that I expected.
The final bottle is Chateau Malmaison, Baronne Nadine de Rothschild Moulis-en-Médoc 2008, with vine varieties of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Malmaison wines are aged for 16 months in new barrels and barrels that have been used once. With powerful nose of black fruit, mineral and smoked rich palate, with velvety tannins, the red wine was paired with a selection of French cheeses.
Served in a simple arrangement, the cheese plate designed for bites between sips fetes the eye with a pop of color, and creamy, soft, firm textures. With the good cheese and lovely wine, all that was needed was some good bread.
It was a wonderful outing at the Dining Room, learning much through the tasting and meeting up with Florent again.
228 Macalister Road
Tel: 04-228 3888
* Many thanks to Asiaeuro for extending this invitation and sharing the group photo.