This article was written by K&L Redwood City's own Alex Schroeder.
Last Sunday I had the great pleasure of joining Gary and Cindy Westby, two of my renowned K&L colleagues, at their home for a Japanese-themed meal paired with the resplendent Champagnes of Pierre Paillard. With the warm weather, the first late sunset of Daylight Savings Time and the beautiful Grand Cru Champs and Sushi, I was just about awakened from my dreary, rainy-California-winter-induced hibernation.
To start, we had Paillard’s 2010 “Les Mottelettes” Blanc de Blancs with freshly shucked Humboldt oysters outside on the patio. This single-parcel, single-vintage gem is quite unusual to see from Bouzy, known for its great Pinot Noir. The very modest 2.6 gram dosage on this Extra Brut allowed the complexity and subtlety of the Grand Cru Chardonnay to shine cleanly alongside the crisp chalky minerality, and made for the perfect accompaniment to the fresh, briny oysters.
We also tried Paillard’s Grand Cru Rosé, Les Terres Roses, with the oysters. I’m here to tell you, Rosé Champagne and oysters can be a beautiful thing! Dosed at the Extra-Brut level 4.5g per liter, the wine was bracing and clean, and the complex fruit was a great contrast to the mollusks.
Next we had lightly smoked salmon sashimi with the 2010 “Les Maillerettes” Blanc de Noirs. The power and roundness of the Pinot Noir was especially evident after the Blanc de Blancs, and given that it was dosed at the exact same 2.6 g level. The red fruit was intense yet well-balanced and elegant, with a certain salinity that perfectly matched with the smokey salmon, a small corner lightly dipped in soy sauce.
For the main course we had Maguro bowls, with tuna sashimi, rice, poke, and avocado, along with “Les Parcelles,” Paillaird’s non-vintage Brut. It poured out an almost onion-skin color and provided the weight and richness to pair perfectly with the Maguro bowls. Rich fruit flavors of melon, honey and biscuits, with a beautiful citrus acid frame really made the meal come alive.
Finally, for dessert we had freshly baked Madeleine cookies with strawberries and the 2006 vintage “Grand Recolte.” This blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay is also lowly dosed at 2.6 grams per liter, and the ripeness of the vintage was evident with rich, expressive fruit, even a touch of exotic quince.
I have to extend a deep gratitude to the Westbys for sharing such a splendid culinary experience, and with our direct-import grower-producer Champagne pricing, the Paillard lineup is easily available to add to your own next culinary adventure. Get yours before we run out of stock. - Alex Schroeder, K&L Redwood City