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Pairing suggestions?

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Below is my menu for a dinner I'm preparing for a wine judge this weekend...I have the wine for the main course, but would LOVE suggestions for the opening courses and the dessert courses!

Oysters Rockefeller

Chilled sweet pea soup with minted ice and garlic blossoms

Sesame crusted oyster mushrooms with homemade goat cheese rounds encased in freshly picked herbs on a bed of arugula with chive blossom wasabi cream

Roasted herbes de Provence rack of lamb with zinfandel nicoise olive sauce, roasted garlic and ratatouille polenta, and Queen Sevillano olive-rosemary tapenade

Rose petal ice cream and prickly pear glazed fresh raspberries in a bittersweet Valrhona chocolate shell with raspberry coulis and hand crafted marzipan

Duo of ginger-mascarpone mousse and bittersweet Guaranda chocolate mousse with green tea creme Anglaise and crystallized ginger

Thanks!

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  1. The opening courses all scream Champagne. Maybe especially a blancs du blancs. The pea soup would also pair nicely with an Alsatian (Tokay) Pinot Gris or a White Rhone. The mushrooms would pair well with a fuller bodied Sauvignon Blanc.

    The desserts sound delicious, though pairing is tricky as the flavors of chocolate tend twords different wines than the other flavors you are involving, especially in the first dish. A "sticky" wine like a Rutherglen Muscat would probably be my best suggestion to cope with this. If you wanted to forget about trying to pair the cocolate shell in the first, a sweeter Moscato d'Asti would probably work well. A 5 or (ideally) 6 puttonyo Tokaji would probably work pretty well with the mousses.

    1. Hello Firefly. What time did you say dinner is ? :)

      OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER: Chardonnay is the common denominator. The oysters, the parsley, and it's really the best white wine with parmesan.... easy choice. You could go with wine OR with a high-chardonnay champagne (blanc de blanc) as the other poster suggests.

      SWEET PEA SOUP: Chardonnay is probably the best here too. Really matches the peas, the creamy texture of the soup, and especially the garlic. Given this, I'd probably do the chardonnay champagne with the oysters, and the wine with this dish, but you could keep the bubbly on the table for this also.

      SESAME CRUSTED SHROOMS w/ etc. The flavors here are fairly bold. With one flavor exception this dish really screams riesling. The exception is easy.... the cheese. Riesling isn't great with plain chevre, IMO. THE cheese for riesling is delicious emmental. You really should swap the chevre for emmental and serve this with a nice riesling, it will handle the wasabi, the sesame, the chive, and the pickling... Kabinett or Spatlese would be very nice.

      ROSE ICE CREAM: This dish is busy, not in a bad way.... with the pear, raspberry, and marzipan I could go with a dessert riesling or vouvray molleaux... but the key is the rich bittersweet chocolate which these wines don't do so well with. Muscat is really the common denominator for this wide range of flavors. I'd do at least beaumes de venise here, or even liqueur.... among other reasons because muscat is also a very interesting match for your last dessert...

      GINGER-CHOCOLATE MOUSSE... This screams Muscat which is a perfect match for both ginger and chocolate. Since you have a richer muscat with the prior dish I'd finish the entire meal off with a palate-refreshing frizzante... moscato d'asti. Read the post of our friend titled "Tasting La Spinettas" for their description of an interesting moscato they recently sampled.... I'd serve the frizzy here because presumably this mousse is a lighter chocolate than the bittersweet above, which can handle a more viscous, richer muscat. If I were doing it I'd actually serve BOTH wines with both dishes so the guests could sample the distinctions.

      Serving these two quite different muscats with your desserts has the benefit of showing your guest you appreciate the nuances that different styles of wine bring to the meal. Ditto for serving both a chardonnay bubbly and a chardonnay wine to open the meal !!

      I presume you're matching the main course with a very nice red, so you'll have a knockout of a meal here.

      Please report back.

      1. Oysters - Blanc de Noirs Champagne
        Soup - Water
        Mushroom/Goat Cheese Rounds - Vouvray or Savennieres, or Riesling Spatlese
        Lamb - Rhone Red - Cote-Rotie if Northern, Chateauneuf-du-Pape if Southern
        Ice Cream - Moscato d'Asti
        Mousse - Passito di Pantelleria (Moscato still wine from Sicily,such as Ben Rye by Donnofugata)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Brad Ballinger

          Oh, I adore the Ben Ryé – that’s my favorite Passito di Pantelleria! Lots of perfectly ripe apricots!

        2. Here are my suggestions: (this is presuming you want a different wine with each course. Otherwise, I'd like the Blanc de blanc with all the appys.

          Oysters Rockefeller -- Blanc de blanc Champagne

          Chilled sweet pea soup with minted ice and garlic blossoms - Gruner Veltliner

          Sesame crusted oyster mushrooms with homemade goat cheese rounds encased in freshly picked herbs on a bed of arugula with chive blossom wasabi cream -- Savennieres

          Roasted herbes de Provence rack of lamb with zinfandel nicoise olive sauce, roasted garlic and ratatouille polenta, and Queen Sevillano olive-rosemary tapenade -- what are you serving here? I'd like a Bandol Rouge, and think that would be outstanding in your sauce, as well.

          Rose petal ice cream and prickly pear glazed fresh raspberries in a bittersweet Valrhona chocolate shell with raspberry coulis and hand crafted marzipan --actually the chocolate and the raspberries here are crying "Brachetto d'Acqui here.... it's redolent of raspberries, and always pairs so well with chocolate.

          Duo of ginger-mascarpone mousse and bittersweet Guaranda chocolate mousse with green tea creme Anglaise and crystallized ginger -- here, I'd either go with a Tokaji 5 0r 6 as earlier suggested, or abandon wine here for a glass of Canton Ginger Liqueur.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ChefJune

            It took a while for me to finish my post, ChefJune -- I hate how work gets in the way of Chowhound -- and when I had, here you were many similar suggestions!

          2. Oysters Rockefeller -- Rose Champagne or Blanc de Noirs Champagne, no question. For the bacon-richness connection.

            Chilled sweet pea soup with minted ice and garlic blossoms -- Savennierres or White Bordeaux to go with tender green pea-ness and a breath of mint

            Sesame crusted oyster mushrooms with homemade goat cheese rounds encased in freshly picked herbs on a bed of arugula with chive blossom wasabi cream -- regular Champagne, or high acid lively white. Oyster mushrooms and wasabi cream are standard for Champagne, work fine with the goat cheese.

            Roasted herbes de Provence rack of lamb with zinfandel nicoise olive sauce, roasted garlic and ratatouille polenta, and Queen Sevillano olive-rosemary tapenade -- The lamb and olive both point to Red Rhone.

            Rose petal ice cream and prickly pear glazed fresh raspberries in a bittersweet Valrhona chocolate shell with raspberry coulis and hand crafted marzipan -- Brachetto d'Acqui. Sparkling, refreshing, berry-ish wine $16), also good with chocolate.

            Duo of ginger-mascarpone mousse and bittersweet Guaranda chocolate mousse with green tea creme Anglaise and crystallized ginger -- The creamy texture, flavors of Ginger, Mascarpone and chocolate, everything, all are 20-year-tawny to me. I've done those three flavors a few times with 20-year. The light caramel, toasted nut and dried fruit flavors that a 20-year develops are something to behold and meld well with your dessert flavors. Not too expensive, maybe $35-40, but the bottle stays good for more than a month. I like the idea of the green tea creme Anglaise -- I also do an Earl Grey or Black Current Creme Anglaise that's brilliant with chocolate. The Earl Grey has an exotic nose to it that lends itself well to Ginger. Just be sure your infusion isn't too strong.