CONTRAST TOURS DINNERS

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Noailles Bdx Sept 21
Contrast Tours organises in the U.S., Dinners inspired by what we experience during the wine tours in France. Theses Dinners have two different formats:
  • WINE DINNERS: These are dinners conceived in partnership with a restaurant and its chef, in which a wine selection is paired with dishes elaborated for a perfect pairing and gastronomic experience.
  • ELITE FRENCH WINE TASTING DINNERS: This is a format that we I created to provide an educative and enjoyable experience, akin to what we do in France during Wine Tours: dishes from the restaurant's menu, are paired with typically several wines, enabling comparison and discussions about the qualities and nature of the wines, as well as how and why they provide a better experience with a given dish and beyond.
AUGUST 25, 2022, WINE DINNER AT THE HACKNEY, WASHINGTON, NC
pamlico river, washington
The Pamlico River in Washington NC
If we have a little bit of history together, you might know that Washington is important to me. Given my political history, notably as a photographer, I have been there countless times. It is therefore amusingly, sort of suiting, that the bouquet final of the dinners before the September Provence Wine Tour, is in Washington, NC, my new found love on the Pamlico River.

Washington exudes the spirit of Eastern North Carolina, a small and charming colonial town surrounded by swamps probably filled with alligators, Amazonia in north America.

The Hackney is one of the town's crown jewels. A restaurant of legends, set in a bank, with a chef ripe for awards, and an elegant cuisine where local produce meet uncompromising refinements.

Dinner is at 6:30.

Only 40 seats with a good portion of them gone already, reserve now.

$135 plus gratuity and taxes


MENU:

NC LUMP CRABMEAT, local tomatoes, crème fraiche, chives

DOMAINE RICHEAUME, RICHEAUME BLANC 2020, Provence, Biodynamic

25% Vermentino, 25% Grenache Blanc, 25% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Viognier
A dry and perfectly balanced Provence white based on minerality, with an aromatic roundness on pear, mirabelle, melon.



SEARED GROUPER, Cantaloupe, NC country ham

CHATEAU LÉHOUL GRAVES BLANC FÛT 2019

65% Sémillon, 35% Sauvignon Blanc, aged in oak
Citrus aromas competing with exotic fruit ones, lychee, mango, punctuated by wood notes. A very complex and fresh wine, able to stand firm and play with food flavors and enchant one's tastebuds.



SEARED BEEF FILET, charred greens, carrots, egg emulsion

CHATEAU LÉHOUL GRAND VIN DE GRAVES 2018

Cabernet Sauvignon 50%, Merlot 50%
A formidable wine, second only to few Grand Crus, with pronounced aromas of black currant, tobacco, chocolate, coffee. A lot of complexity, delivered by a smooth medium body with perfectly tamed tanins.



PEACHED CHARLOTTE, crème anglaise

MAS DE CYNANQUE, MÉANDRES, VDF de SAINT CHINIAN 2017, Organic

40% Albarino, 40% Petit Menseng, 20% Grenache Gris
A surprising wine like no other, with varietals like no other, delivering a light grappa and champagne aromatic sensation.


Please contact the Hackney for reservations (252) 623-2368, or email me and I will set you up.
domaine richeaume
Domaine Richeaume, Provence
AUGUST 18, 2022, PARIZADE WINE DINNER, DURHAM
dinner table, elegant, parizade
At Parizade
This is the last dinner in Durham before the September Provence Wine Tour, with a 6 course menu on the Pleasure Route from Champagne to the Mediterranée.

Dinner is at 6:30 at Parizade.

Parizade Wine Dinners take the whole restaurant, and are extremely popular, reserve early.

$115 plus gratuity and taxes


MENU:

SCALLOP TARTAR uni aioli, caviar, chives

CHAMPAGNE GOSSET BRABANT, GRAND CRU BRUT NATURE, GROWER-PRODUCER

80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay
A drier champagne allowed by the rare quality of the grapes as well as the aging of the wine, offering a rich and ultra pure expression of Champagne from Aÿ, the heart of Champagne.



VICHISSOISE oyster, clams, mussels, tarragon

DENIS VERVIER, LAMURE VIEILLES VIGNES , POUILLY FUISSÉ 2019

100% Chardonnay
The Lamure Climate is one of the best sub appellation in Pouilly, and this super fine wine shows all the finesse of a great Burgundy white. Lots of minerality, a light oak presence and a long fresh apricot finale.



ALMOND CRUSTED NC TROUT stewed spinach, preserved lemon brown butter sauce

FONTAINE DU CLOS, REFLETS DE L'ÂME, VACQUEYRAS BLANC 2020

60% Viognier, 40% Marsanne
Extremely elegant and delicate superior Southern Rhône white, with a totally enchanting nose, exuding a complex bouquet around linden flowers, with an according mouth.



FRIED PORK CUTLET braised endive, bacon, pork jus

DOMAINE RICHEAUME, ROSÉ 2019, BIODYNAMIC

90% Grenache, 10% Syrah
This is one of the best rosés on the planet, no spin. This 2019 is absolutely stupendous, quite evolved yet fresh, with more intense aromas and complexity than when it was younger. These aromas are more of jammed rather than fresh fruit, notably raspberry, strawberry, with a bit of smokyness. This makes for a rather substantial rosé, very apt with food.



GREEN PEA AGNOLOTTI short rib ragout, pecorino romano


MAS DE CYNANQUE, CARISSIMO, SANT CHINIAN 2017, ORGANIC

Carignan Vieilles Vignes, 117 years (1900)
Carignan grapes from such old vines, have a unique character difficult to beat. A lot of complexity and depth, with aromas of coffee, tobacco, blueberry, currants. A truly rare delight.



GRILLED LAMB CHOP shared eggplant, curry carrot sauce


DOMAINE CATHALA, CUVÉE A 2017

Syrah 75%, Mourvèdre 15%, Grenache 10%
A very fresh and round wine reminiscent of the great Rhône wines, with a lot of depth and complexity. Overtone of violette and cherry with a structure of leather, tobacco. A superb wine reflecting the quality of its terroir, perfect with such a dish.




Please contact Parizade for reservations (919-286-9712) or email me and I will set you up.
chateau lehoul
Jean-Philippe and Nicolas, Chateau Léhoul
AUGUST 14, 2022, CECILIA'S 2ND ANNIVERSARY FRENCH WINE DINNER, ASHEVILLE
French bistrot
This unique dinner will be prepared by Cecilia herself, in celebration of the 2nd anniversary, to the day, of Cecilia's at its Merrimon Avenue location, where a good fraction of who matters in Asheville are regulars, and you may find me at the bar when I am up in the mountains, getting cozy with the bears at my undisclosed tree house location.

Dinner is at 6:30 at Cecilia's

Only 30 seats available. in a very convivial setting and atmosphere, with a true to form French menu.

Bargain: $90 plus gratuity and taxes


MENU:

FINGER FOOD APÉRITIF: Lobster salad Vol Au Vent, Pork Rillette , Gougeres

CHAMPAGNE GOSSET BRABANT, GRAND CRU LOW DOSAGE, GROWER-PRODUCER

80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay
A drier champagne allowed by the rare quality of the grapes, and offering a rich and purer expression of Champagne from Aÿ, in the heart of Champagne.



SALAD: arugula, warm figs walnuts and camembert

CHATEAU LEHOUL VDF ( FROM BORDEAUX) ROSÉ 2019

Merlot 40%, Cabernet Sauvignon 30%, Malbec 10%, Petit Verdot 10%, Cabernet Franc 10%
A profound rosé, with a power and complexity tamed by age. Jammed fruits and caramel notes with an addictive smokiness. A rosé well out of the ordinary, and particularly apt with food.



SEARED SCALLOPS; asparagus and Hollandaise sauce

DOMAINE RICHEAUME BLANC 2020, BIODYNAMIC

25% Vermentino, 25% Grenache Blanc, 25% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Viognier
A superb, delicate and profound white from one of the very best producers of Provence. Persistent, rather dry yet rich, with notes of melon and stone fruits.



SEARED MAGRET DE CANARD WITH SEASONAL VEGETABLES

CHATEAU LÉHOUL, GRAVES ROUGE 2016

Cabernet Sauvignon 40%, Merlot 40%, Malbec 10%, Petit Verdot 6%, Cabernet Franc 4%. Gold Medal Paris 2018.
A superb graves with an amazing depth, aromas of cacao, coffee, tobacco, black currant, blackberry. Rare Bordeaux at its best.



PEACH CHARLOTTE

MAS DE CYNANQUE, MÉANDRES VDF (FROM SAINT CHINIAN), ORGANIC 2017

40% Albarino, 40% Petit Menseng, 20% Grenache Gris
A wine that tastes like nothing else, and none of its components. Very dry, with aromas of grappa and notes of champagne that make it very suitable as a dry dessert wine. Stunning and totally addictive.




Please contact Cecilia's for reservations: or (828)505-0644.
chateau lehoul
Jean-Philippe and Nicolas, Chateau Léhoul
JULY 28, 2022 ELITE FRENCH WINES TASTING DINNER AT AVENUE M, ASHEVILLE
french dinner, wine tasting
Parisian Wine Tasting Dinner
AVENUE M is a gem restaurant up Merrimon Ave in Asheville. Ralph Lonow, one of the two owners, is a superb sommelier, and I am very honored that Contrast Wines has been included rather extensively, in the offerings at this very Ashevillian restaurant known for its seasonally driven menu with weekly if not daily changes. I am even prouder now that Avenue M has received the 2022 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, for its outstanding wine program and quality producers.

Following the success of our first Elite Wine Tasting Dinner in June, we are coming with a full summer installment.

Up to 20 seats available at Avenue M's community Table, for a convivial wine tasting experience with delicious food.


Dinner is at 6:30.

$80 plus Tax and Gratuity.



MENU:

HEIRLOOM TOMATO SANDWICH dukes, basil, dried buttermilk

DOMAINE RICHEAUME, ROSÉ 2019, BIODYNAMIC

90% Grenache, 10% Syrah
This is one of the best rosés on the planet, no spin, and as a matter of fact, it is the favorite rosé of one of the most well known chefs in North Carolina, and as well of many other wine lovers. This 2019 is absolutely stupendous, on the list at Avenue M and in a few other restaurants in Asheville. Quite evolved, yet fresh, with more intense aromas and complexity than when it was younger. These aromas are more of jammed rather than fresh fruit, notably raspberry, strawberry, with a bit of smokyness. This makes for a rather substantial rosé, very apt with food.


TRIANGOLINI green garlic, zucchini, pesto

All pasta at Avenue M is freshly made in house. It is one of the chef's absolute specialties. Paired with 2 whites of rather different styles and origins, but both from the south of France, Provence and Languedoc.


FONTAINE DU CLOS, CÔTES DU RHÔNE WHITE 2020

60% Viognier, 40% Marsanne
A crisp and fresh Côtes du Rhône white, which ahas already made a bell ringing entry in Asheville. Very but not overmingly floral, with abundant yet delicate white flower aromas like acacia, linden. Delightful.


DOMAINE CATHALA CUVÉE A BLANC 2020

Grenache Blanc 50%, Roussane 30%, Marsanne 20%
Very crisp and dry, perfectly balanced with stone fruit pits and melon grind aromas, and a light fresh apricot finale. Positively surprising.



HICKORY NUT FLAT IRON robuchon potatoes, sun gold tomato and sauce bordelaise

Two top tier Southern France Reds will compete here. I anticipate the jury to never come back, and instead delight endlessly with these two, among the best possible wines for such a dish.


DOMAINE SCAMANDRE RED, COSTIÈRES DE NÎMES, ORGANIC, 2011

50% Syrah, 20% Carignan, 15% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre
An 11 years old phenomenon, with the complexity, character and serenity of a patriarch, as well as the freshness and audacity of a much younger fellow. Absolutely stunning, profound and perfect for a steak like this.


MAS DE CYNANQUE, CARISSIMO, ORGANIC, 2017

Carignan Vieilles Vignes, 117 years old (1900)
Carignan grapes from such old vines, have a unique character difficult to beat. A lot of complexity and depth, with aromas of coffee, tobacco, blueberry, currants. A truly rare delight.




Please contact Avenue M for reservations: 828-350-8181 or through website or email me.
costieres de nimes, pic saint loup
View from Domaine Scamandre's Chais's Roof. Pic Saint Loup in the background.
JULY 27, 2022 ELITE FRENCH WINES TASTING OYSTER DINNER AT RENDEZ VOUS, ASHEVILLE

SOLD OUT Please contact us to be on the Waiting List.
french dinner
This is How We Do It.
I hope that you like oysters, because they are a fantastic way to enjoy white wine while eating very light, and in a tonic fashion, ready for adventure upon leaving the table, this time to play pétanque. And if you like oysters, this is a rare opportunity as such a menu, and pairings like these, are never offered, except in my Bordeaux Tour.

Please note that there will be absolutely no mignonette or cocktail sauce, just lemon, bread, butter and pepper. For your taste buds protection, the French government strictly forbids anything else with oysters, so that you may enjoy the oysters and the wine in the purest, satisfying and unadulterated fashion!


Dinner is at 6:30 at RendezVous, with pétanque after dinner in the cool.

$96 per person plus gratuity and tax.

Please note that my August 12 Newsletter, incorrectly stated that tax and Gratuity were included. My apologies.
.


Only 30 seats available.


MENU:

BEAU SOLEIL OYSTERS ON THE HALF SHELL

18 oysters served 3 at a time with each of the 6 wines selected to provide a full panorama of possible pairings.


CHATEAU HAUT CHAMPION ENTRE DEUX MERS 2020

Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris 85%, Sémillon 10%, Muscadelle 5%
A more rounded wine than traditional Entre Deux Mers, with a bit less citrus and more stone fruit. Just a slight variation on a very classic pairing.


CHATEAU VIGNOL LOUISIANE, BORDEAUX BLANC 2019

Muscadelle 40%, Sauvignon 30%, Sémillon 30%
Richly and subtly aromatic. Less citrus and rounder than most wines usually paired with oysters.


CHATEAU SAINT MAUR SAINT M, CÔTES DE PROVENCE CRU CLASSÉ, BLANC 2020

100% Vermentino
A delicious wine from the French Riviera, floral and fruity. Different and remarkable with oysters.


CHATEAU CARBON D'ARTIGUES PRESTIGE, GRAVES BLANC 2016

70% Sémillon, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, aged in oak
A very subtle, delicate, but persistent wine, Sémillon rich, well tamed in oak barrel and time, offering a toasted nuttiness feel with oysters.


CHATEAU LÉHOUL, GRAVES SUPÊRIEURES 2020

100% Sémillon
Normally paired with foie gras, this "moelleux" wine is prodigious with oysters whose salinity balance very well the natural sweetness of this storm of aromas. Yu have to ry this, it is one of the best pairings I know.


CHATEAU FARLURET, SAUTERNES / BARSAC 2016

90% Sémillon, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
A pairing going in the same direction as the previous one, but further and more intensely. An absolutely gorgeous wine and a rare experience in such a pairing.



WINE AND CHEESE

Brie made of 3 different types of milk (cow, sheep, goat), and a washed ring hard sheepsmilk cheese (similar to a pecorino).


DOMAINE CATHALA CUVÉE ABSOLU, RED SAINT CHINIAN 2017

Syrah 70%, Mourvèdre 30%
A very complex and profound wine which is one of the ideal pairings with the Brie here.


DOMAINE CATHALA CUVÉE A BLANC 2020

Grenache Blanc 50%, Roussane 30%, Marsanne 20%
Lots of minerality, apricots overtones, a delicious pairing with the sheepsmilk cheese.




Please contact Shannon for reservations: (712) 229-6971 or shannon@ashevillebouchon.com
petanque french restaurant
Pétanque at RendezVous
JULY 6, 2022, RENDEZVOUS, ASHEVILLE, PROVENCE WINE TOUR DINNER

5 seats available
petanque french restaurant
Pétanque at RendezVous
This dinner is to give a taste of some of the wines, and of what you could be doing during a wine tour in Provence. The dinner is very convivial, all at one table, sharing the food, discussing the wines, and solving some of the world's most persistent problems.

There will be pétanque before dinner, since Asheville is graced with RendezVous's superb pétanque facility (with "boules" available for you to play)


Pétanque is at 5:45
Dinner is at 7:30 at RendezVous

Only 12 seats available

$90 per person including gratuity and taxes

All the wines will be available for purchase.


MENU:

SALADE DE BETTERAVE AU CHÈVRE Roasted beets tossed with apples, walnuts, local goat cheese & Dijon mustard vinaigrette, served on fresh mixed greens

CHATEAU ROMANIN AOP BAUX DE PROVENCE BLANC 2019, BIODYNAMIC

Vermentino 40%, Roussanne 24%, Clairette 22%, Grenache Blanc 14%. Decanter Gold Medal with 95 Rating.
This is a stunning white, all in minerality. Superb balance and complexity, with delicate notes of melon, mirabelle.



STEAK AU POIVRE Beef‎ shoulder tenderloin steak encrusted with crushed black pepper, sautéed, & smothered in a Cognac cream sauce. Served with our house vegetable medley and pommes frites

DOMAINE ROSE DIEU, SAINTE CÉCILE LES VIGNES OLD VINES, 2018

50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 25% Mourvèdre
Juicy and round, this Côtes du Rhône Villages delivers the sun from this terroir, with an abondance of cherry and a generous medium body.


PATRICK GALANT CAIRANNE VIEILLES VIGNES 2016

80% Grenache, 20% Syrah. 12 months in small oak casts
A lot of depth and complexity in this classique superior cru, with aromas of violette, cherry, leather on a tamed full body with rounded tanins.


SCAMANDRE ROUGE, COSTIÈRES DE NÎMES 2011

50% Syrah, 20% Carignan, 15% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre
A superb wine, 11 years old and totally fresh. Lots of depth and complexity with a dominance of cherry and griottes, and an overtone of cacao.


MOUSSE AU CHOCOLAT

Save little of the red wines above, notably the Scamandre, to enjoy this dessert fully.


Please email me, see "contact us" button in footer, or call me with question and/or reservations: 919-416-1111
patrick galant
Patrick Galant
JUNE 9, 2022 ELITE FRENCH WINES TASTING DINNER AT AVENUE M, ASHEVILLE
french dinner
French Social Movement at Work
AVENUE M is a gem restaurant up Merrimon Ave in Asheville. Ralph Lonow, one of the two owners, is a superb sommelier and I am very honored that Contrast Wines has been included rather extensively in the offerings at this very Ashevillian restaurant.

I am starting here, a series of Wine Tasting Dinners in Asheville, similar to the ones I have been doing for some time in the Triangle.

20 seats available at Avenue M's community Table, for a convivial wine tasting experience with delicious food.


Dinner is at 6:30.

$70 plus Tax and Gratuity.

All the wines have been selected for their astounding value, and will be available for purchase at very competitive pricing.


MENU:

MARINATED ARTICHOKES Arugula, Reggiano

With this rather rare dish in the U.S., albeit a dish that helps reveal the subtleties of wine due to the inherent qualities of artichokes, we will have an uncommon study of Bordeaux Rosés. Bordeaux Rosés are very discrete on the U.S. wine scene, but that should not take away their merit, notably with food, as well as their ability to develop a keen character with a tad of aging, as this 1st dish will show.

CHATEAU VIGNOL, BORDEAUX ROSÉ 2020

85% Merlot , 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc
With one year of bottle, this rosé has become very round, super balanced and present delicious, fresh as well as slightly jammed aromas of raspberry.


CHATEAU LÉHOUL, BORDEAUX VDF, ROSÉ 2020

50% Merlot , 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc
Very balanced and round with a rather high presence.


CHATEAU LÉHOUL, BORDEAUX VDF, ROSÉ 2019

Merlot 40%, Cabernet Sauvignon 30%, Malbec 10%, Petit Verdot 10%, Cabernet Franc 10%
A lot of depth, tamed power and complexity, with an addictive smokiness. A rosé well out of the ordinary, and particularly apt with food.



TRIANGOLINI green garlic, preserved lemon

All pasta at Avenue M is freshly made in house. It is one of the chef's absolute specialties. Paired with 2 whites of rather different styles and origins, but equally apt at providing a resounding pairing.

CHATEAU CARBON D'ARTIGUES PRESTIGE, GRAVES BLANC 2016

70% Sémillon, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, aged in oak
A very subtle, delicate, but persistent wine, Sémillon rich, well tamed in oak barrel and time.


CHATEAU SAINT MAUR EXCELLENCE CÔTES DE PROVENCE CRU CLASSÉ, BLANC 2020

100% Vermentino
A delicious wine from the French Riviera, floral and fruity, with an enchanting and lingering presence in mouth.



BEEF CHEEKS mushroom glaze, sea island red peas, icebox spring onion

Vegetarian Substitution: Farro Verde, grilled peas, salsa verde, marcona almonds & mint.

This will be a Rhône vs. Bordeaux pairing with two corner stone wines exemplifying their respective region:


CHATEAU ROCHECOLOMBE CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES AGED IN OAK, ORGANIC, 2018

50% Syrah, 50% Grenache.
An astounding wine capable of rivaling with the crus of the region (Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras). Aromas of cherry, raspberry, prune, agrement a complex, deep and well honed body.


CHATEAU COULONGE JULIETTE, BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR, TRANSITION ORGANIC, 2016

80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot
A bluer wine with deep aromas of blackberry and purple plum, offering a pure and crisp expression of Cabernet Sauvignon.




Please contact Avenue M for reservations: 828-350-8181 or through website
Chateau lehoul rose
The Chateau Léhoul Rosé Effect
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Domaine Richeaume
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pamlico river, washington
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mas de cynanque
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parizade, dinner table
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costieres de nimes, pic saint loup
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french wine tasting
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patrick galant
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petanque, french restaurant
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french bistrot
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oysters
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