Oct 10 2008

Sofitel Chef Martial Noguier bids au revoir to summer wines

Published by at 12:32 AM under Savvy Sip Tips,Wine Pairing

“Summer is finished,” says famed Chef Martial Noguier, matter-of-factly. “Bye-bye, summer.”

And hello root vegetables, spices and venison at Cafe des Architectes in the Hotel Sofitel Chicago, where French Chef Noguier took over as executive chef when he left one sixtyblue in August.

Green is gone, and turnips, rutabaga, cinnamon, cloves and other fall flavors now dominate Chef Noguier’s palette. His foods are a little more heavy and warm in contrast to the chill off the lake. And to pair, his restaurant is pouring richer, spicier wines.

One of Noguier’s favorite matches is a venison dish cozied up to Terre Rouge Tete-a-Tete, Sierra Foothills. The 2005 is a blend of 56 percent Syrah, 28 percent Mourvedre and 16 percent Grenache. This California wine spent 16 months in French oak. Looking for something similar on the shelf? Try Bennet Lane Maximus, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Or, for that gamey component that Mourvedre provides, check out El Seque, which is 100 percent Monastrell/Mourvedre. It’s big and bold, with quite a bit of oak and yet still plenty of ripe, plummy fruit, according to Rob Mosher, wine buyer at Just Grapes. Slightly lighter but still with that nice gamey-ness to hang with the venison is Domaine Ligneres Aric, with Carignan and Mourvedre. This one has good dark fruit and a leathery edge, Rob says.

This fall Chef Noguier also suggests a delish 2006 Easton Amador County Zinfandel, perfect with short ribs. It’s a dry California red with smooth tannins, tons of big fruit and a bit of creaminess from 10 months in French oak. The 2006 Di Arie Zinfandel, another from Amador County, also works well with fall foods, Rob says, particularly the warm spices Chef Noguier is incorporating.

I suppose that surrounded by smells and tastes such as these in the kitchen, it’s a little easier for Chef Noguier to say goodbye to summer without a heavy sigh. Cinnamon, rich red wine…Cheers to Chef Noguier for reminding this friend of fair weather that there is something to look forward to as the leaves fall!

No responses yet