JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

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JULIAN'S FINE WINE BLOG

Chablis, champagne, and oysters

Posted by hitnerwine on January 10, 2012 at 9:25 AM

Chablis, champagne, and oysters: one of the most classic pairings known to my profession.

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This past Saturday, my father and I dined at Rodney’s Oyster House in downtown Toronto with local, internationally focused wine writer Liz Palmer, a good friend of ours. Starting off with a plate of twenty-four oysters, sourced from various parts of Canada and abroad, we first began our little soirée with a bottle of champagne, Liz’s excellent contribution for the evening: Godmé Père & Fils Brut Réserve, sourced from Premier Cru grapes from the Verzenay village. A delicious, more fruit-driven bubbly, still rather zesty, elegant, and full of finesse. It seemed to pair best with meatier, slightly sweeter oysters, the names of which for the life of me I simply cannot recall at this time.

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Switching to Chablis, our main, crème-de-la-crème wine of the evening was the Christian Moreau 2005 Les Clos Grand Cru. I recall several bottles of this about six years ago as part of a Vintages Special Offer, one of the best ’05 Chablis’ I’d ever tasted; and you wouldn’t believe how stunning it’s become over time: creamy, masterfully minerally, and ever-so complex. Brooding over this wine for over an hour, helping myself to an oyster now and then, despite all the commotion around me (Rodney’s can be a little noisy—part of its charm), I was in my own little world …

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Oh, and speaking of Rodney’s, let me take this opportunity to extend my sincerest compliments to manager Julius, our servers, and the entire staff at Toronto’s best oyster establishment! Put simply, they could not do enough for our modest party of three; plus the oysters, later replaced by a moderate platter of mussels immersed in white wine sauce along with a small order of smoked salmon, were all first-rate.

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Done with our Les Clos, we still had one more bottle: the 2008 La Chablisienne Chablis Vieilles Vignes, a Vintages Essentials product, and one that seldom fails to impress. A great deal humbler than the Moreau, the steely, more ‘pointed’ attitude of the ‘Vieilles Vignes’ (who knows how the vines really are) was a perfect way to end off the evening … not to mention the Christmas break.

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