M. Chapoutier Wine Dinner @Jeff’s Cellar, The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, Ipoh
There has been an ascending appreciation for great wines over the years and of late, I was introduced to a lovely range from the Maison M. Chapoutier winery from the Rhone region in France. The wine dinner was hosted by Asiaeuro Wines & Spirits at Jeff’s Cellar in The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, Ipoh.
The dinner was hosted by Mr. Edouard Payot from the M. Chapoutier winery, who took us through the great Rhone Valley wines and legendary soils. Throughout the night, he shared many great insights on the wine. Interestingly, wines from the Chapoutier winery are the pioneers in adding braille labels on their wine bottles to assist the vision-impaired when selecting wine!
From left, Lok, William, myself, Edouard Payot & Alex Castaldi
Jeff’s Cellar is the brainchild of Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, and it holds an extensive range of rare wines from all corners of the globe. Tucked in a limestone cave, the restaurant’s ambience lit with ethereal lighting offers a romantic yet unique dinner experience.
Nature’s wonders amalgamate with modern settings
The wine dinner was centered around seven courses created by Head Chef Boon Lee, with each of the courses accompanied by wine to match. The evening began with cocktails, and there was so much to be tempted by. To name a few, we had the Tomato Gazpacho Sphere (cheese foam, sweet basil), Potato Bravas (confit new potatoes, prawn & tomato ragout, garlic aioli, salmon roe, cress) and Spicy Octopus Bowl (bird eye chili, anchovy, lime juice, coriander, shallot). The paired wine was the Luberon “La Ciboise” Blanc 2016.
Next, we moved on to the Amuse Bouche. For this dish, the chef lavishes the plate of angel hair pasta crowned with Hokkaido scallop and gold caviar in an aromatic white winter truffle-infused sauce. The dish was paired with the Cotes du Rhone “Belleruche” Blanc 2016. The white wine with four grape varietals comes with aromas of fruit and floral scents.
The Crozes Hermitage ‘Les Meysonniers’ Rouge 2015 was the first red wine for the night. The medium-bodied purple-red wine with lingering flavors of red fruits and blackcurrant was paired with Pan Seared Foie Gras. Seared with a bit of crisp on the edges, the buttery smooth foie gras accompanied by vanilla apple compote, candy walnut crunch, and walnut puree was a crowd-pleaser.
The second course was a clear delicate wild mushroom tea broth. A range of herbs and spices lend flavor and depth to this aromatic broth served with two mini raviolis which reveal heaps of shredded duck meat.
Then they filled our glasses with Saint Joseph “Deschants”Rouge 2014, a red wine made from Syrah grapes. The palate supple with red fruits ended with hint of spice with a long finish.
The third course was the Tooth Fish, paired with Costiere de Nimes Luberon “La Ciboise” Rouge 2016. Smoked foam, hazelnut puree, poached mussel, and poached asparagus balanced the deep-sea fish cooked confit style. Slow cooking in a very low temperature in game lard, the fish turns out tender smooth.
After the fish course, everyone gets a glass of signature pop – sorbet. This fourth course makes for a refreshing palate cleanser.
The fifth course was Japanese A5 Wagyu Beef prepared two ways. There was sous vide strip loin and the slow braised short ribs of wagyu paired with espresso creamy potato, burned pearl onion, glazed pear, and fried shallot chips. Both were hearty and comforting but it was the succulent sous vide strip loin that captured my palate.
The pairing of the dish was the Chateauneuf du Pape “La Bernardine” Rouge 2015. Made from a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, the bold red wine is amped with notes of roasted coffee, cinnamon, and cherry. Its complex taste worked well with the beef.
The final wine for the night was the Muscat Beaumes de Venise 2015. With light sweetness and aromas of candied fruits and flowers, the wine came paired with dessert; Tiramisu made with a combination of honey mascarpone, espresso coffee, and micro sponge.
Besides that, the chef also dazzles us with artful plates of chocolate praline which we had with coffee.
M. Chapoutier Wine Dinner at Jeff’s Cellar was most certainly one of the highlights of my Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat stay. It is an unforgettable Chapoutier dining experience in one of the best dining spots in the country.
The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat
No. 1, Persiaran Lagun Sunway 3
Tel: 05-210 7777
* Many thanks to Asiaeuro Wines & Spirits for laying on this invitation