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Finally, Manresa! But what to drink? Winehounds?

p
PAHound Sep 15, 2009 04:48 PM

Finally my friend's birthday rolls around, and we are going to Manresa the first weekend of October. Tasting Menu is the obvious choice. But what should we do for wine?

I've read mixed reviews of the pairings. Are they worth getting? Is the standard pairing good or is it necessary to splurge for the premium?

As a note, a pet peeve of mine is a pairing list that drowns you in white before you finally get to enjoy the red with your last course or 2.

Would I be better off ordering off their wine list, or will i be subject to TFL-style ridiculous mark-ups? Should I just bring 2 bottles from my cellar and eat the corkage? Or 1 and order 1 off the list? Any particular recommendations off the list (please include approximate price, if possible)?

Finally, any other general tips and tricks for having the best experience imaginable at Manresa? Many thanks for the input!

  1. kaysyrahsyrah Sep 17, 2009 01:03 AM

    Surrender to the sommelier and/or the pairings menu...even if it is heavy on the whites. If you're really into pairing food and wine, then you'll screw up a nice plan with a strong bias towards red or white.

    As a wine professional, I learn tons by being on someone else's food and wine pairing ride. And its fun to be the customer, and let them serve me, rather than pour through the menu and the wine list and quickly try to architect the pairings myself...usually, there is not enough time for me to do a better job than the restarant staff.

    1. c
      cvhound Sep 16, 2009 08:40 PM

      I usually have difficulty finishing a single glass of wine with dinner. However, I love doing food and wine pairings. When we visited Manresa, my husband and I shared the premium wine pairing with our chef's dinner. They brought each of us our own glass with half the portion of the regular pour. Worked perfectly for us and it was still plenty of wine for my husband, who generally drinks 2-3 glasses with his meal. Especially since I rarely finished my portion before passing my glass to my husband.

      1. CarrieWas218 Sep 16, 2009 01:02 PM

        I'm a detractor in that I've never been a huge fan of their pairings. As the bulk of what Kinch does that is so good is seafood, I would get a really good bottle of Rhone white blend or Gruner Veltliner and maybe just order a glass of Pinot near the end of the meal.

        1. b
          bong Sep 16, 2009 09:57 AM

          I have always done the tasting menu + pairing and been very happy with it, every time. Keep in mind that there will be a lot of wine involved though. If you can handle the quantity of alcohol, my vote would be to go for the pairing... that way you get to taste a lot of different wines as well (which I normally would not have drunk otherwise)

          1. m
            ML8000 Sep 15, 2009 09:01 PM

            I'd avoid the pairing unless you can drink a lot. I went with some 5 friends, some really into wine. After a discussion with the sommelier, we went with local wines (Santa Cruz, etc.) to match blocks of courses which worked very well. I think it was sparkling wine, a white and two or three reds. The prices for the local wines were, very very reasonable, almost surprisingly so.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ML8000
              Robert Lauriston Sep 16, 2009 10:14 AM

              The sommelier is great and sources some hard-to-find local wines, such as Ahlgren.

              Here's my report on the meal I had there last year with a few notes on the pairings:

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/548333

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                p
                PAHound Sep 18, 2009 12:15 PM

                Thanks, I do like the local wine idea for a few courses, though we're certainly biased toward old-world. And luckily, drinking a lot is not a problem!

                1. re: PAHound
                  m
                  ML8000 Sep 18, 2009 12:53 PM

                  Given the cuisine (esp. the tasting menu) isn't old world (lots of local and seafood), you might consider steering away from the heavy and dark old world stuff. The local stuff does this almost by default.

                  The way the tasting menu is set up (at least when I went) the heavier courses come toward the middle-latter part of the meal. Since it's tasting size portions, one glass of big red/old world is all you might need but that's subjective and of course the menu will dictate.

                  1. re: ML8000
                    Robert Lauriston Sep 18, 2009 01:02 PM

                    "... you might consider steering away from the heavy and dark old world stuff."

                    That's not what "old-world" suggests to me:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/373505

                  2. re: PAHound
                    Robert Lauriston Sep 18, 2009 12:57 PM

                    I find most California wines undrinkable, but the ones the sommelier chose for the pairing were quite atypical.

              2. Paul H Sep 15, 2009 08:41 PM

                I'd go with the pairings. At a restaurant of this level, the wine you are served with each course is an integral part of the experience. It isn't just a wine, it is a wine that adds to the food. Plus, the wine director at Manresa does an excellent job.

                1. Robert Lauriston Sep 15, 2009 05:06 PM

                  I was very impressed with the pairings. We did one of each and more often than not I found the ones from the cheaper set more interesting but both were great.

                  I won't order the tasting menu again, but that's nothing particular to do with Manresa.

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