Matching the right wine with specific foods/dinners can dramatically enhance both the food and the wine, as well as the dining experience. And sometimes your dinner company too.
To accomplish this, the wine needs some acid, good balance and something interesting to offer for pairing — like a pleasing mix of spice, fruit aromas or bold flavors that don’t overpower other elements…and no extra oak or sugar designed to trick your palate into liking it. (Which is more than I can say for a lot of the company I’ve had.)
This French wine, 2008 Château Bouscassé, Les Jardins de Bouscassé, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec, was the most local thing on the menu. Literally — our waiter said it was the wine made closest to the town of Eugénie-les-Bains, the town where famed chef Michel Guerard cooks works of art and improves your figure at his restaurant/spa hotel Les Prés d’Eugénie.
The beautifully balanced wine was 80% Petite Courbou and 20% Petit Manseng, two grapes indigenous to southwest France, and it paired very well with all courses in this meal and the elegant restaurant itself. Beguiling and lovely in its acidity and floral-ness, understated with the promise of more to come, this wine from this small corner of the world was deserving of much more attention than it ever receives (much like this relationship with the Baker).
It was perfect. We drank in its beauty, trying to hold the brightness inside ourselves. And we ate gloriously for this one last night, temporarily averting a creeping sadness and slowly devolving palate for each other.