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.
December 17, 2022, FRENCH WINE TASTING DINNER, PARIZADE, DURHAM. 6:30.

All Whites Wine Tasting Dinner

Only 11 Seats plus your thankful host. 9 seats left.
wine dinner, parizade
Elite Wine Tasting Dinner at Parizade
Tis the season, plus by the time the holidays end, there will have been enough red meat and the red wines that go with it. Plus really, whites offer a lighter, with often a wider range of food pairings.

Like during the tour, we'll all be at one communal table, in the grand scene of Parizade, which is always spectacular, and we will taste and compare several wines with each dish.


MENU:


GRILLED OCTOPUS white bean salad, pickled onions, radish, red wine vinaigrette

Chateau Vignol, Entre Deux Mers, 2020

Chateau Haut Champion, Entre Deux Mers, 2020


These two excellent classic Bordeaux whites, are made by the same producer, and let me be direct: nobody has ever found better. While the wines are supposed to be, let's say, extremely similar, and actually identical the mind of the producer, for some reason, people. including myself, have discerned a difference over several years, between these two cuvées.

So here, we'll do a blind tasting of the two, and see if some truth can come out of that. I have never done such a tasting with these two wines either, it will be fun.


HERB STUFFED BRANZINO
broccolini, mixed olives, smoked tomato salsa

Domaine Richeaume, Tradition Blanc 2020, Biodynamic.

Chateau Saint Maur, Excellence Blanc, 2020, Provence Cru Classé.

Chateau Léhoul, Graves Blanc Sec 2020.


3 Exceptional whites: one of the very best white wines from Bordeaux, and two unique ones from Provence providing alternatives to this otherwise natural celebrity with seafood. The Graves Blanc Sec is quite aromatic, with the citrus attaque conferred by Sauvignon Blanc, punctuated by notes of lychee, white peach, passion fruit in the finish from its glorious Semillon blend companion. This Chateau Saint Maur is a Vermentino aristocrat, with notes of white flowers and a distinct fresh apricot overtone, quite suave with a voluptuous viscosity. The Domaine Richeaume White offers a less citrus approach than the two others, drier as well, with touches of toasted biscuit, and notes of pear, mirabelle, white flowers.


BANANA RUM NAPOLEON Crispy housemade phyllo layers stacked with banana-rum pastry cream, fresh bananas, finished with Chantilly cream, raspberry & caramel sauces

Chateau Vignol, Blanc Doux, 2019

This wine is light, dry, and very affordable. It is a bit like a moelleux with more jammed flavors (mandarin, apricot, pineapple), and is perfect with desserts for which it presents a nice complement while remaining quite dry.



$102 per person, including tax and gratuity.

Seating is scarce, so make sure to reserve your spot, asap.

I look forward to this holiday joyful celebration with you.
cogolin, chateau saint maur
The village of Cogolin, near Saint Tropez, seen from Chateau Saint Maur.
DECEMBER 15, 2022 FRENCH WINES TASTING DINNER AT ZAMBRA TAPAS, ASHEVILLE

8 Seats Remaining
zambra tapas
Wine tasting Dinner at Zambra Tapas, Asheville
Dinner is at 6:30 at Zambra Tapas


RESERVATIONS: Email me (see "Contact Us" button at bottom of page) or call: 919 416 1111, or text 984 312 5315


This is the last dinner this year in Asheville. Zambra Tapas will offer an extremely convivial atmosphere to celebrate upcoming holidays with cozy friendships and comforting foods with uncompromising wine pairings.

Up to 11 guests, plus this French Wine Front Line Worker.

Wines will be available for purchase at excellent pricing.

$120, including gratuity and taxes, paid to me (PayPal, Zelle, or checks made to Contrast Tours)


MENU:


Seared Scallops watercress, celery root puree, kohlrabi, celery seed

Chateau Saint Maur Excellence Blanc, 2020

Chateau Romanin AOP Blanc, 2019

Two whites from Provence. The Chateau Saint Maur is 100% Vermentino, from the French Riviera, a Cru Classé, with notes of white flower dancing around aromas of fresh apricot, and a voluptuous concentration resulting in an unmistakable viscosity. The Chateau Romanin is a cuvée of exceptional minerality, with notes of toasted biscuit, pear, almonds and an overall uniquely enjoyable feel. These two very southern French whites will be a delightful study with the scallops.


Marinated Flank Steak,
crispy fingerlings, Zambra steak sauce, arugula, roasted garlic

Mas Peyrolle Pic Saint Loup Esprit 2017

Domaine Richeaume Tradition 2017, biodynamic

Sylvain Gauthier Saint Joseph 2019

Three reds made to accompany red meat, and offering a different style of pairing. The Pic Saint Loup is a rather big wine, with dark cherries and spices aromas. The Saint Joseph is fresh and rather blue, with well rounded tannins, notes of cherry and an overtone of blueberry, plum. The Domaine Richeaume, is pulpous and fresh, with aromas of black currant, plum, blackberry. It will be a fascinating battle to conquer your sensations.


Chocolate Pot de Crême, coffee soil, whipped cream,

with the leftover of reds.



This will be an evening of delightful peace.
jean-Baptiste Peyrolle, pic saint loup
Jean-Baptiste Peyrolle, of Mas Peyrolle, with the Pic Saint Loup.
DECEMBER 3rd, 2022 ELITE FRENCH WINES TASTING DINNER AT CORK, NEW BERN

7 Seats Remaining
domaine richeaume
Lunch during Provence Wine Tour with Domaine Richeaume
Dinner is at 7:00 at Cork


RESERVATIONS: Email me (see "Contact Us" button at bottom of page) or call: 919 416 1111, or text 984 312 5315


This is an absolute Elite Wine Tasting Dinner, with 4 absolutely exceptional wines, an opportunity to taste with the proper food, wines that are top holidays material, and are rarely tasted elsewhere.

Up to 11 guests, plus this French Wine Labourer.

Wines will be available for purchase at excellent pricing.

$156, including gratuity and taxes, paid to me (make check to Contrast Tours)


MENU:


Crab Cake grilled polenta, bacon, scallion

Chateau Saint Maur Excellence Blanc, 2020

Chateau Saint Maur Capelune Blanc, 2020

These two whites are from one of the few Cru Classé Estate of Provence, set in a beautiful location near Saint Tropez in the French Riviera, which is part of the Provence Wine Tour. These are two 100% Vermentino wines, floral and fruity, with a stunning viscosity and voluptuous concentration. The Capelune is a cuvée of exception, produced on an altitude plot in the mountains surrounding the Bay of Saint Tropez. This exceptional location and a special barrel aging, produce a wine of delicate but determined intensity.


Petite Filet,
Red wine demiglaze

Domaine Richeaume Terrasses 2015, biodynamic

Patrick Galant Nonciature 2017, Chateauneuf du Pape

These two exceptional wines will compete for your love. The Terrasses is Domaine Richeaume top cuvée, 100% Syrah. It provides a lot of concentration, now thinned by a bit of aging, and disperse a rare complexity with aromas of black currant, garrigue, spices in a discrete power fashion.

The Nonciature, exemplifies what people hope to find in a Chateauneuf du Pape, yet seldom encounter. This wine is deliciously suave, with aromas of violette, lavender, garrigue, spices, with also a lot of complexity, and in spite of its strength, no unpleasant sensation of alcool.

Both of these estates are stars of the Provence Wine Tour.

I can't wait to see which one wins your heart.


Flourless Chocolate Tort, with raspberry glaze

with the leftover of reds.



I look forward to enjoying this New Bern supreme evening with you.
chateau saint maur
Chateau Saint Maur, in Cogolin, near Saint Tropez
NOVEMBER 17, 2022 ELITE FRENCH WINES TASTING DINNER AT AVENUE M, ASHEVILLE

SOLD OUT. Please contact Avenue M to be put on the Wait List. Thank you.
avenue M, restaurant
Avenue M, seen from the Private Dining Room.
Dinner is at 6:30 at Avenue M.


RESERVATIONS: 828-350-8181


These Elite Wine Tasting Dinners at Avenue M are becoming a feature in town, and before this email is even sent, almost half of the tickets are gone already. The dinner takes place in Avenue M's Private Dining Room, with a community table welcoming comfortably up to 17 guests, plus this French Wine Labourer.

4 special courses from Chef Andrew McLeod, preparing ground for the holidays, paired with 7 wines selected for these dishes by Ralph Lonow owner-sommelier at Avenue M, and yours truly. Avenue M is a farm to table restaurant, all produces are local.

Wines will be available for purchase at prices worth celebrating as well.

$85 plus gratuity and taxes, a bargain of celebration proportion.

This menu was put together to give an opportunity to taste wines for the holidays, with dishes able to promote a sense of celebration.


MENU:


Salted radishes with Western NC chili crisp

Mas de Cynanque, Méandres, VdF de Saint Chinian, 2017, Organic

Domaine Richeaume, Richeaume Blanc 2020, Provence, Biodynamic

Two whites from the south of France for starters, both unique, very dry and quite different. The Mas de Cynanque Méandres is an improbable blend delivering a rather aromatic wine in the direction of grappa. It is notably very apt with spicy foods, and this dish should give it an opportunity to express itself very well. The Domaine Richeaume Tradition Blanc graced a lot of our meals during the September 2022 Provence Wine Tour. It is rather dry with an innate roundness affirmed with a slight age. Discrete aromas of almond, melon.


Pasta fagioli,
pomodoro consomme

Denis Vervier, Vieilles Vignes Lamure, Pouilly Fuissé 2019

A rather rare Pouilly Fuissé, as the Climate Lamure is one of the very best in this appellation. A subtle expression of chardonnay with deep accents of apricot, punctuating a natural citrus attack. All delicately integrated. A quintessential wine for the holidays.


Confit duck, with potato, chicories and mustard

Chateau Lehoul, Grand Vin de Graves, 2018

Patrick Galant, Cairanne Vieilles Vignes, 2016

A match here between a superb Graves (Bordeaux) with aromas of Black currant, pimented with coffee and tobacco, that seem to be made to pair with duck, and a knight from the Rhône Valley, adorned with violette, cherry and a touch of licorice. Both from the best year in recent history.


Brown butter cake with apple and cream cheese

Patrick Galant, Viognier Vendanges Tardives, Dimanche d’Octobre, 2012

Chateau Vignol, Blanc Doux 2019

Both of these wines are rather dry, but are definitely suited for dessert. The Dimanche D'øctobre is certainly remarkable and surprising, ultra dry with a dominant of quince aromas with tertiary aromas (evolution, this is a 2012!). The Chateau Vignol Blanc Doux goes in the direction of a Sauternes, with aromas of peach and tropical fruits, with a very mild level of sugar.



This is a unique menu, that I can't wait to share with you.
denis vervier
Denis Vervier, in his chais in Pouilly.
NOVEMBER 10, 2022, WINE DINNER, PARIZADE, DURHAM.

SOLD OUT, Please Call Parizade to be put on waiting list.
wine dinner, parizade
Wine Dinner at Parizade
Dinner is at 6:30 at Parizade.

Parizade Wine Dinners take the whole restaurant, and are extremely popular. This one is in high demand with already more than 80 reservations. If you have not made yours yet, do it today.

6 special courses from Chef Jason Lawless to ideally pair with with 6 wines selected by yours truly.

$115 plus gratuity and taxes


Here is the Parizade presentation.


I recently came back from a Provence Wine Tour and 7 weeks altogether in France which will most likely color my presentation during this dinner featuring wines from various regions of the south of France


MENU:


Roasted Beets and carrot terrine, goat cheese, pistachio

Domaine Richeaume, Richeaume Blanc 2020, Provence, Biodynamic

This is a wine that graced a lot of our meals during the September 2022 Provence Wine Tour. It is rather dry with an innate roundness affirmed with a slight age. Discrete aromas of almond, melon.


Bouillabaisse,
scallops, clams, mussels, grapefruit, saffron rouille

Chateau Lehoul Graves Blanc Fûts, 2020

A delicious white from the Graves. Semillon dominant, aged in oak barrels, where it developed aromas of pineapple, passion fruit, mango, completing its natural grapefruit inclination.


Roasted duck breast, baked fingerling sweet potatoes, cranberry orange jus

Chateau Carbon d’Artigues, Tradition, Graves Rouge, 2016

Very plush and lush Graves, juicy and exuding fresh cherry aromas.


Cavatelli pasta, braised oxtail and butternut squash ragout, parmesan

Patrick Galant, Cairanne Vieilles Vignes, 2016

An evolved old vines Rhône Cru, with the patina of 6 years in bottle.


Roasted flank steak, prosciutto, arugula, mushroom jus

Mas Peyrolle, Pic Saint Loup, Le Chant de l’Aire 2017, Organic

Rather big wine, with a higher concentration well tamed by age, delivering dark red fruit aromas with pepper and a cool licorice finish.


Local cheese plate, orange chutney, crispy breads

Domaine Cathala, Saint Chinian, Cuvée Absolue, 2017

Lots of depth and complexity in this master cuvée loaded with cherry and violette giving way to spices, garrigue and cigar box scents.



I look forward to enjoying this unique wine and food menu with you.
cairanne
Cairanne seen from Patrick Galant's Vines, with the Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail in the background.
OCTOBER 29, 2022, ELITE FRENCH WINE TASTING DINNER, PARIZADE, DURHAM. 6:30.

Provence Wine Tour Wines

Only 11 Seats plus your constantly talking host. 5 seats left.
wine dinner, parizade
Elite Wine Tasting Dinner at Parizade
I just come back from 7 weeks in France, most of which spent in the preparation and actual September 2022 Provence Wine Tour. The tour participants have been back for longer than me, and I have decided to organise this dinner as a first reunion of ambassadors. A bit in a rush, but because it was the best possible date before probably December. Some of the Tour participants will be there, and those of you wishing to, will have a chance to experience a bit what the Provence Wine Tour and its wines are like.

The next Provence Wine Tour will be May 20 - June 3, 2023.

Like during the tour, we'll all be at one communal table, here in the grand scene of Parizade, which is always spectacular, and we will taste and compare several wines with each dish.


MENU:


Roasted Beets whipped ricotta, toasted walnuts, orange honey.

Chateau Rochecolombe, Côtes du Rhône Red 2019. Organic

Domaine Rose Dieu, Sainte Cécile les Vignes 2018


Two classic Rhône wines, Chateau Rochecolombe being the reference in that category. We spend a lot of time in the Provence Tour around Sainte Cécile les Vignes, and the participants are therefore very familiar now with this name. It was therefore only suiting to also have this wine, which other a good alternative to Chateau Rochecolombe, more on the Cherry with more Grenache, while Rochecolombe has a higher Syrah contant and character, with aromas more on the raspberry.


Pork Chop
roasted mushrooms, double smoked bacon jam.

Vegetarian Substitution: Farfale butternut squash alfredo, fried sage, toasted pumpkin seeds, parmesan.

Domaine Richeaume, Tradition 2017, Biodynamic .

Domaine Scamandre, Scamandre Rouge 2011, Organic.

Domaine Richeaume, Columelle 2015, Biodynamic .


3 Exceptional Provence Reds: The Domaine Richeaume Traditions 2017 is a full body wine but with a sense of lightness, a clearly thicker texture, almost pulpous. It is characterized by freshness without noticeable acidity. Aromatically we'll find black currant, blackberry, plum and a sense of stone fruits. A delectable wine only topped by the Columelle 2015 from the same producer. Columelle is the result of a selection of the best cuvées, and 2015 was a landmark year. Domaine Scamandre offers a rare and older vintage which a low this wine to deliver a marvelous "velours" and tamed aromas.


Flourless Chocolate Tort crème anglaise.

With the reds above.


$99 per person, including tax and gratuity.

$88 for vegetarian menu.

Seating is already scarce, so make sure to reserve your spot, asap.

I look forward to this unique wine and food menu with you.
domaine richeaume
Domaine Richeaume, at the foothill of the Montagne Sainte Victoire
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
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