Sunday, June 7, 2015

WINES of SOUTHWEST FRANCE-Gourmet French Fries Competition


The First Annual Southwest Wines of France Gourmet French Fries Competition Presented by WINE ENTHUSIAST

cork it---or finish it...

showed off the versatility of the wines...and the variety...

the setting...
West 36th Street/NYC

SURE----the thought of fried foods...conjures up visions of the body's arteries, shutting down-one at a time---but when the SOPEXA email invite for the first annual, Wine Enthusiast hosted, SOUTHWEST WINES of FRANCE-Gourmet French Fries Competition arrived-oui, oui we thought----as cutting down the chances of a heart attack-like the French do- with good French red wine=very appealing!!!!
Southwest France-which we know from Toulouse jaunts-Mid-Pyréneés region-incorporates  wide variety soils and sites-hence quite the diversity in wine styles+flavors-from the sea-temperate maritime + Mediterranean influences , sunny gently rolling hills, plains, and the high elevation Massic Central-mixes of micro-climates, temps, winds and rainfalls....with soil differentiations like chalky clay, active limestone, combo of stones, sand, gravel , gravel on bed of limestone, sandy clay. Gastronomically-cassoulet (bean+pork stew), garbure (cabbage soup w/poultry) and foie gras signature eats. Vegetarians/cheese lovers relish the fab -Tommes Des Pyréneés and Roquefort. Wine wise-the region boasts 20 indigenous and rare grape varieties (Négrette, Fer Servadou, Duras, and l"en de l'El) and is the birthplace of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec-the latter grape kinda neglected (and almost wiped out) until Argentina's offerings upped the consumer clamourings. The spirit Armagnac-also from this part of the planet.

WHAT: A focused selection of Dry Whites, Rosés, Full Bodied Red (Blends), Full Bodied Reds (Malbecs), and Sweet (ish) White Wines...paired with creative interpretations of fried bites- potatoes or okra (plus)- and -chocolate truffles- all transporting attendees to that happy place of taste buds' heaven.

A 'competition' of sorts...with the professionals and invited guests weighing in on their favs---

Realistically-an already select group of competitors---manning the stations----meaning all were winners, imo....and available on this side of the POND.

Bonus Points: To the organizers and chefs---with their helpers. The event space-while spacious with a fab rooftop space- was about as well equipped as our kitchen-meaning NOT---so portable electric deep fryers, coolers, and accoutrements-all hauled in...!

Dry White selections...including crisp citrous-y and tropical and what we tried-4th from left- the fresh fruity Domaine Séailles 2014 Presto Sauvignon Blanc-Sauvignon Gris (Côtes de Gascogne)

Le Rivage's Owner/Exec Chef Paul Denamiel + Remy Forgues prepares...french fries aka Moules Frites Marinière-2x cooked fries topped w/ classic white wine, garlic butter saunce and bits of steamed mussels creation-white wine pairings---fyi-obsessed with the plate/wine glass thing-y.

Domaine D'en Ségur 2014 Sauvignon Blancs (Côtes du Tarn)

chilled just right...

needless to say-these were practically inhaled on arrival

helpful-we felt the pour-ers knew what they were pouring...including this delish Georges Vigouroux 2012 Haute-Serre Albesco Chardonnay (Côtes du Lot)

Red Eye Grill's Chef Jawn Chasteen feted attendees with Crazy Duck Fries aka Pommes Frites Aux Canard Fou-which as veggy people- we passed on but most people devoured...paired with elegant and crisp-screaming of summer,super Rosés!

 this beach-house worthy...Chateau Bellevue La Forêt 2014 L'Allégresse Rosé (Fronton).Fresh fruit-floral characteristics

across the room-chocolate+wines beckoned...

we jumped tables and bee-lined for Station 6 -Sweet White Wines-which really were palatable and imo aperitif as well as dessert appropriate- medium sweet to fully rich tropical fruit-on---surprised a lot of attendees with flavors of juicy apricots, peaches-made from Petit Manseng and Gros Manseng grapes +Loin de LCEil.

chocolate NIRVANNA and our personal danger zone-the awesome Chocolate Truffles with hints of fruits like passion fruit+ spices (pepper) that totally Chef Christophe Toury of Voilà Chocolate

appropriately enough -since located on Manhattan's UWS aka mommy/baby land-the hands on types can create their own artisanal chocolates-in the party space-but we'd opt for the custom crafted- catering services.

Domaine du Tariquet 2014 Premières Grives (Côtes de Gascogne) -our fav $17 too 100% Gros Manseng grape
A fellow attendee really liked this...Laudet 2014 La Demoiselle de Laballe  (Côtes de Gascogne) 100% Gros Manseng grape

we'd say the red corner of the space (Stations-3-5) always packed-here are a few reasons...Station 3 Fruity Red Winse

STATION 3 Fruity Red Wines with juicy red berry and exotic spicey earth tones...soft and supple-good party choices...included grapes we are not familiar with like Negrette, Duras and Mansois. Here the L'Enclos Des Braves 2012 Braucol (Gaillac) an editor's choice (93 points) $24

on right-Domaine du Cros 2012 Cuvée Vielles Vignes Fer Servadou (Marcillac) $15-, left Domaine Des Terrisses 2012 Grande Tradition (Gaillac)
Pictured below...on left Chef Fabiano Manca -chef de cuisine at Vite Vinosteria-a destination wine bar/eatery- (Astoria, Queens-subway accessible) with back garden perfect for NOW. Two former Cirpriani employees opened it so you know, they know what they're doing, imo. on right-we didn't catch the name---Rizzo(?) sorry...

Heirloom Potato and Vegetable Fries.....with a prosciutto aloli+home made salsa rubbra

Full Body Red Blends...are one of the highlights from Southwest France..."richly textured, firmly tannic..." made from Tannat grape variety , and blends made with Cabernet Sauvignon -even the casual wine drinker will note the complexities and favorable similarities to cab sauv blends from elsewhere.
this quartet saw some serious action-including cellar ratings (to buy+hold)...from left to right...details pictured below...Chateau Lamartine, Chateau Peyros,Chateau de Chambert, Chateau Bellevue la Foret
we thought of Bordeaux and California wines...when we tried---these prices are great values-loved the  Chateau Lamartine 2011 Cuvée Particulière (Cahors)-you could almost feel the sunny clime come through in this awesome red- 

more full bodied reds...Domaine D'en Ségur 2012 Cuvé Germain (Côtes du Tarn), Chateau Viella 2012 Tradition (Madiran)

she was so busy uncorking-we're surprise she didn't get the carpal tunnel syndrome wine bottle equivalent
FULL BODY RED WINES (100% Malbec) -ready to drink-well blended tannins, hints of oak, black fruits...we had to wait for the crowds to lessen-to try these four wines...including Wine Enthusiast cellar pics...left-right: Clos Troteligotte 2013 K-2 (Cahors) $60, Chateau Lagrézette 2011 Le Pigeonnier (Cahors) $150, Clos Troteligotte 2012 K (Cahors), Domaine de Cause 2012 La Lande Cavagnac (Cahors)
HUGO UYS (pronouced 'ace') "culinary astronaut"-doubles as culinary director of BRÖD Kitchen hails from South Africa. We asked if he had gone to the 2010 World Cup (and not about the maybe a scandal plagued FIFA's selection process of)...and although not there then...he regaled us with his overseeing a hearty tournament dinner for UN members on the premises of-requiring quite the security clearance process.

Domaine de Cause 2012 La Lande Cavagnac (Cahors) rated 2/100 Best wines -2012 by Wine Enthusiast $22 (!!)

French Fry'd Duck with sour cherry chutney-got the attendee nod for fav....
Malbecs---Domaine du Théron 2011 Cuvé Prestige (Cahors) and on right Chateau Lamartine 2012 Prestige du Malbec (Cahors) an Editor's choice $16

Full bodied Red Wines (Malbecs)...Jean-Luc Baldés 2010 Probus (Cahors) and on right George Vigouroux 2011 Chateau de Mercuès Cuvée 6666 (Cahors)
Amazing-and very difficult to have just one-Chef Patel's  Stuffed Okra "Fries" with spiced tamarind chutney---a persona fav-showed why this Food Network winner-is in great demand by food enthusiasts.

FRED DEXHEIMER one of 210 Master Sommeliers in the WORLD (he told us it took 6 years to become a "MASTER" ranked...impressive ) now of Juiceman Consulting
yes this was serious!!

A native from Toulouse -the congenial Chef Pierre Landet oversees THE ONLY PLACE TO WATCH International FOOTBALL (that's soccer for you Yanks...)  when France plays-FELIX---a SOHO icon of  restaurant. Yes. we have been during those matches=FUN!!!!!

Roger Voss, European Editor Wine Enthusiast Magazine-based in Bordeaux...No wonder he has a nice smile..
                              Merci---EVENT ORGANIZERS
BIG BONUS POINTS-wearing fashionable white jackets at a red wines' present tasting...Wine Enthusiast Dana Guidini and Sopexa's Marie-Cristina Batich-SW wines press contact. FYI the white cotton shirt worn got spot bleached out-when we got home.

left-right SOPEXA's talented staff members...Arnaud Maltoff trade contact SW Wines of France, Hassan Sefrioui, Carole Bourolil
chef winners....but really, all were
rooftop selections...