Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ma Fête, À la Maison

It's my party and I want to drink bubbly...*
Something of an occasion today, smack up against the Thanksgiving holiday, prompted a relatively impromptu and, as it turned out, quite civilized lunch.  The festivity, the time of day and, most importantly, my craving all called for something sparkling.  It turned out to be a great choice.

Crémant du Jura, Domaine Jean Bourdy N.V.
$21.  12% alcohol.  Cork.  Importer: Potomac Selections, Landover, MD.
This was my first time drinking Jean Bourdy's Crémant du Jura. It won't be the last.  Produced in the méthode traditionelle, it's a non-vintage cuvée based purely on Chardonnay.  A lovely nose of lightly toasted hazelnuts, brioche, pear and marzipan led do a palate much racier and brighter than aromatically suggested, all of which was finished off with a vaguely Chenin-like note of honey and beeswax.  Coursing through it all was a core of almost sweet minerality, with a tang to it that made me think there might be a little Savagnin at play.  The wine blossomed with food, yielding some of the generosity to which its aromas had alluded.  What became crystal clear as we drank the bottle with lunch is that we were enjoying an excellent Jura wine, one that spoke clearly of its place, that just happened to be sparkling — not a sparkling wine for sparkling wine's sake.

The soupe a l'oignon served at À la Maison, the bistro we'd chosen for our mid-day repast, proved a natural match with Bourdy's Crémant du Jura.  Though Gruyère, the cheese traditionally used for French onion soup, may technically be of Swiss origin, it is of very much the same style and proximal place as Comté, arguably "the" classic match with the white wines of the Jura region.  You won't find me arguing.... The sweet nuttiness of the cheese, the deeply caramelized onions and rich broth all brought out the earthy, round aspects of the Crémant.  Truly a lovely match.

The poulet vol au vent at À la Maison, even though the dish was arguably a bit under-seasoned, also worked wonders with the wine.  Between the light cream sauce, buttery accents courtesy of puff pastry, earthy mushrooms, the delicate protein of white meat chicken, and fresh herbaceousness via tomatoes and asparagus, we were again in a sweet spot when it came to the meshing of wine and food.  I'd like to try the dish again, at a time when tomatoes and asparagus are actually in season (and when the person in the kitchen has a freer hand with the salt and pepper ), but even now it was a lovely foil to the wine, not to mention quite a comforting meal on a chilly November afternoon.

À la Maison
53 West Lancaster Avenue
Ardmore, PA 19003
A la Maison bistro on Urbanspoon

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* To be sung to the tune of:


Anonymous said...

my Cotriade was delicious and beautiful, too. too bad no pics of that.

David McDuff said...

What can I say... I was too hungry to take any more pictures. The cotriade was indeed very fine; both the mussels and monkfish were very flavorful.

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