CONTRAST TOURS DINNERS

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Serpent magique
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.
MARCH 21, 2024, PARIZADE, DURHAM, WINE DINNER
parizade, wine dinner
Parizade, Wine Dinner
This is it folks, it is this time of the year, when my spring Wine Dinner at Parizade is approaching. This time the theme is "Bordeaux or Provence, The Spring in all its Essence"

Chef Jason Lawless and this French Wine Special Commando, have imagined a refreshing menu to celebrate the spring in all its glory.


PARIZADE, Durham

Thursday March 21, 2024, 6:30pm

$125 per person, excluding tax and gratuity.

Reservation: Please call (919) 286-9712

Wines will be available for purchase at great pricing.


Please note:

* Chef inspired Vegetarian and Gluten Free substitution available upon request at booking



MENU:


CRAB ARANCINI calvisius caviar, chive purée, crême fraiche

DOMAINE DU CASSARD, CRÉMANT DE BORDEAUX
100% Sémillon

An uncommon sparkling wine, which is served with a characteristically French abandon, at nothing else but the French National Assembly. That's right, this is the French equivalent of the House of Congress, and I will explain during dinner, how it helps the French representatives to pass laws.

This wine is made like a Champagne, although it is 100% Sémillon, and therefore expectedly quite different in taste. It is crisp and rather dry, with citrus and pear notes on a yeasty structure with very fine and plentiful bubbles. Very pleasant, refreshing and beyond perfect with seafood finger food like here, shellfish, cheese.



BLUE CHEESE AND SHORT RIB FLATBREAD roasted pears, toasted walnuts

CHATEAU LÉHOUL GRAVES SUPÉRIEURES (MOELLEUX), 2020
90% Sémillon, 10% Sauvignon

A Graves Supérieures is also known as a "Moelleux," which means "soft." It is a semi Sauternes, if I may write. This means a wine that is not "dry" anymore, and displays most of the characteristics of a Sauternes, but in a drier format, a wine neither dry nor fully sweet in a Sauternes sense if you will. I will explain at the dinner how such a wine is produced. It has an abundance of fruity savors, in this vintage more on the exotic fruit side, and is one of the very best possible pairings with oysters, foie gras and blue cheese. Here we chose the latter to show how such a wine may shine and be incorporated in unusual parts of a meal. Watch out, it can easily become addictive!



POACHED SWORDFISH braised artichokes, mussels, coriander, cherry tomato, saffron nage

PATRICK GALANT, CAIRANNE BLANC GALIFAY, 2021
Grenache Blanc 55% - Roussanne 35% - Viognier 10%

This Cairanne Blanc exemplifies the best that may come from a white Rhône wine. It is a bit fat, quite floral and less citrusy than a wine from the Loire or Bordeaux. Its undoubtedly seductive and distinctive white floral notes, are enhanced by an unusual wood character, a bit smoky with a light toast evoking cedar. This is a wine that holds its ground facing powerful savors, which makes it a beautiful pairing with the dish here, conceived for this occasion.



DUCK AND BACON BOLOGNESE sweet potato gnocchi, ricotta salata

CHATEAU CARBON D'ARTIGUES TRADITION, GRAVES ROUGE, 2018
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon

It turns out that 2018 was a fantastic vintage in Bordeaux, and this Graves illustrates it beautifully. It is deliciously juicy and plush with cherry aromas that by now come singing to enchant the palate. A very smooth and full delivery with classique graphite shavings notes in the finish, a superb Bordeaux, warmer than usual.



GRILLED LAMB CHOP AND CRISPY BRAISED LEG green peas, fava beans, grilled green onions, brown butter thyme jus

PATRICK GALANT, CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE LA NONCIATURE, 2017
60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre. Parker 91-94

A wine delivering what should be expected from this appellation: concentration, smoothness, ampleness. Here augmented with aromas of violette, cherry, lavender, garrigue, cigar box, gentle licorice. A very complex and enchanting wine, ideal to celebrate the spring with some lamb.



CHOCOLATE DOME ENTREMET Amarena cherries, espresso whipped cream

CORINNE DEPEYRE AMITIÉ 2015, Organic
100% Late Harvest Grenache Rouge

This wine is amazingly unique, it evokes Banyuls, but in a substantially drier and fresher variation, loaded with cherry savors, a wine made for a rich chocolate pairing as in this dessert.



I look forward to your company for this always exceptional rendez vous.
patrick Galant
Patrick Galant in Chateauneuf du Pape
MARCH 7, 2024, TABLE, ASHEVILLE, ELITE WINE TASTING DINNER

17 Seats available. SOLD OUT, Please contact me to be on the Waitlist.
elegant dinner
I am mighty happy, and proud, to present the first dinner of this kind at Table, Jacob Sessom's elegant Farm to Table restaurant on Lexington Ave, in downtown Asheville, definitely one of the trendiest culinary venues in the town. There we will be enjoying a very urban view and a high quality meal, conceived in partnership with Chef Patrick Rumley and with the orchestration of Malcolm Knighten, Table's Wine Director whose professionalism has earned my greatest appreciation.

As per the tradition of this dinner format of mine, we will compare two wines with each of the two first courses, and venture a bit outside of the dusty alleys of traditional food pairing, and with wines that are themselves rather outside of norms. If you like modern food and wine with exceptional conviviality, come enjoy Asheville at its best.

All wines are of course from my import portfolio.


TABLE, Asheville

Thursday March 7, 2024, 6:30pm

Only up to 17 guests, plus this French Wine Urban Minister.

$145 per person, including tax and gratuity.

Reservation: Please make your reservation with me: email me with the "Contact Us" button at bottom of page, or text 984-312-5315, and send your payment after reading how on this page.

Cancelation Policy

Wines will be available for purchase at great pricing from Metro Wines.


Please note:

* Given the farm to table nature of the restaurant, some minor changes may occur to the food menu.

* Chef inspired Vegetarian option available upon request.



MENU:


4 NEW BRUNSWICK OYSTERS Heidi's Bread, House Cultured Butter, lemon, pepper.

DENIS VERVIER POUILLY-FUISSÉ CLIMATE LAMURE, 2019
100% Chardonnay

CHATEAU FARLURET, BARSAC-SAUTERNES, 2016
90% Sémillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc

Two rather upscale pairing with these oysters, the Pouilly Fuissé is a very delicate Burgundy wine from one of the finest plots in the appellation, in one of the top climates (appellation with particular merit within the appellation). A delicate minerality and notes of apricots. This Sauternes with oysters is one of my favorite pairings, marrying the saltiness of the oyster with the relative sweetness of the wine, they cancel each other, letting the palate enjoy a more flavorful oyster magnified with a firework of savors from the Sauternes.



WOOD ROASTED PORK
Heirloom Grits, Early Spring Vegetables

DOMAINE RICHEAUME, TRADITION 2018, Red, Biodynamic
Syrah 47%, Grenache 43%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%

PATRICK GALANT, CAIRANNE OLD VINES 2016 and 2017
80% Grenache, 20% Syrah. 12 months in small oak casts

The Domaine Richeaume Tradition is a fleshy and fresh, wine from Provence, exhibiting definite savors of plum and black currant. The Cairanne Old Vines, has velvety tannins infused with violet savors, leather, garrigue spices. Both will enchant your palate with this dish.



BLACK FOREST CAKE Cocoa-Cherry Frosting, Amarena Cherries

CORINNE DEPEYRE AMITIÉ 2015, Organic
100% Late Harvest Grenache Rouge

This wine is amazingly unique, it evokes Banyuls, but in a substantially drier and fresher variation, loaded with cherry savors, a wine made for chocolate pairing, especially a Black Forest of this magnitude.



I look forward to your company for this exceptional Asheville Dinner.
cairanne, dentelles de montmirail, mont ventoux
Patrick Galant's Vineyard with view on Cairanne in the background
FEBRUARY 3, 2024, PARIZADE, DURHAM, PAELLA DINNER WITH BORDEAUX WINES

Up to 21 Seats. SOLD OUT, but please let me know your interest to be on the wait list. Thank you.
parizade board room
Parizade Board Room
Every first weekend of the month, Chef Jason lawless proposes a Paella, but in this dinner you will have a chance to experience it with a series of Bordeaux white wines selected especially for this dinner. Because of course Bordeaux is also a great region for whites.

Zhait the Wine Director at Parizade, is joining me as a host of the June 2024 Bordeaux Wine Tour and so this will set the atmosphere for the participants to this glorious journey to come.

And depending on availability and the overall numbers, we may be in the Board Room, the most precious space at Parizade, as illustrated in the photographs.

This dinner is rather well suited for Gluten Free people and also has vegetarian substitutions.


PARIZADE, Durham

Saturday February 3, 2024, 6:30pm

Only up to 19 guests, plus this French Wine Matador.

$92 per person, including tax and gratuity.

Reservation: Please make your reservation with me: email with button at bottom of page, and send your payment after reading how on the page linked below.

Payments and Cancelation Policy

Wines will be available for purchase at great pricing.



MENU:


GREEN CHICKPEA AND MUSHROOM FALAFEL creamy feta dressing, pickled onion, cucumber salad (Gluten Free)

DOMAINE DU CASSARD, CRÉMANT DE BORDEAUX
100% Sémillon

You may read about this out of the ordinary wine here.



PAELLA
Chorizo, chicken, shrimp, clams, rice, saffron (Gluten Free)


CHATEAU LA FLEUR DES PINS, GRAVES BLANC 2019
80% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon. Aged in Oak.

CHATEAU LÉHOUL GRAVES BLANC FÛT, 2020
65% Sémillon, 35% Sauvignon Blanc, aged in oak.

The La Fleur des Pins is a natural choice for this dish. It displays a light oakyness assorted of rather forceful stone fruit like yellow plum, and citrus savors. The Chateau Léhoul is a firework of more exotic aromas, citrus as well, but also mango, lichee, passion fruit, that will hold their ground to danse a festive complicit chachacha with this rather powerful dish. I cannot think of better wines to pair with this dish, and it will be fascinating to see which ones resonates better for you.

VEGETARIAN: GOLDEN QUINOA, edamame, green chickpea, kale, roasted mushrooms, toasted almonds (GF)

or PUMPKIN GNOCCHI, spinach, toasted pumpkin seeds, sage & brown butter alfredo.



KEY LIME PIE

CHATEAU HAUT BERGERON 2016, SAUTERNES
85% Sémillon, 15% Sauvignon Blanc

This is a superb Sauternes for dessert dishes (Sauternes may be paired as well with some savory dishes), due to its acidity content that balances well its sweetness, and allows a full enjoyment of its intense aromas of apricot, orange peel, pineapple etc.

Gluten Free substitution: Crème Brulée.


I look forward to your company for this uncommon Bordeaux Whites affair.
Parizade board room
Parizade Borad Room, Wine Dinner Set Up
JANUARY 25, 2023, AVENUE M, ASHEVILLE, WINTER MOUNTAIN DINNER WITH FRENCH WINES

Up to 20 Seats. SOLD OUT, PLEASE CONTACT RESTAURANT TO BE ON WAIT LIST
avenue m, restaurant
Avenue M
What could possibly be nicer than winter in Asheville? Come get warm with the dishes conceived for this dinner by Chef Zack Ghidotti, paired with French wines selected by Ralph and I. It will take place in the private room for a convivial ambiance in which we can hear each others.


AVENUE M, Asheville

Thursday January 25, 2024, 6:30pm

Only up to 19 guests, plus this French Wine Missionary to the Altitude Territories.

$80 per person, plus tax and gratuity. (that's right, no typo, it's a no brainer, Ralph wants to warm up your heart)

Reservation: (828) 350-8181

Wines will be available for purchase at great pricing.


MENU:


RADISH CAESAR roasted radish medley, watercress, black garlic crouton, boquerones

MAS DE CYNANQUE MÉANDRES 2017, VdF de Saint Chinian, Organic
40% Albarino, 40% Petit Menseng, 20% Grenache Gris

A definitely southern France white but rather rare blend, with a fair amount of bottle aging now. Extremely balanced and round in a white fashion, with a delicious sunshine bitterness.



SCALLOPS
duck fat potatoes, fennel, horseradish cream, roe

CHATEAU LA FLEUR DES PINS, GRAVES BLANC 2019
80% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon. Aged in Oak.

A Sémillon dominant white from Bordeaux, and the corresponding stone fruit savors to be expected, mostly mirabelle (yellow plum) with traces of oak left after quite a bit of aging already. A lovely seafood companion.




RISOTTO mushroom & leek ragu, fried & pickled beech mushrooms, parmesan

KARIM VIONNET, CHIROUBLES 2021
100% Gamay, Vin Nature, Carbonic Maceration.

A lot of magenta fruit in this very expressive Beaujolais, with a controlled but determinant acidity.



HICKORY NUT GAP PORK CHOP warm red cabbage, apple chutney

DOMAINE CATHALA A' 2017, SAINT CHINIAN.
Syrah 50%, Grenache 40%, Mourvèdre 10.%

CHATEAU ROCHECOLOMBE, CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2021, Organic.
60% Grenache, 40% Syrah. Paris Gold Medal.

We could not decide which wine would be best with this dish, so you will be experiencing both. The Cathala A' is juicy and rich, very balanced after 6 + years in bottle, yet retaining a slight acidity and a fair amount of violette and notes of cherry. The Rochecolombe is the reference in Côtes du Rhône, juicy, fleshy, with dominant savors of raspberry, plum and licorice on the finish. Very addictive.



MIGNARDISES



I look forward to exchange the warmth with you.
Karim Vionnet, beaujolais
Karim Vionnet in Villié Morgon, amazed at this menu.
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