I recently had a business lunch at the Chez Panisse Café. I was my first time at Chez Panisse, and although it didn’t blow my mind, it was a great place to do business. We opened 3 bottles of wine, beginning with a Ligurian treat — Bisson’s 2006 Colline del Genovesato Pigato. This was the perfect wine for my first course (see below). The Pigato grape is interesting, refreshing, textural and crisp. Next we opened a bottle that the host of the lunch had brought with him, Jean-Marc Morey’s 2002 Beaune Greves Blanc. It was delicious, but even at 6 years old, it still needed time for the interesting secondary aromas to develop. It still tasted about as fresh as the day it was bottled! The final bottle was going to be a ’96 red burgundy of some kind, but the bottle was corked. So sad! In the end the host picked Jacques Puffeney’s 2004 Poulsard from the menu, and as a truly light-bodied red, it was probably a better match for everyone’s food anyway. Speaking of food, I had a fava bean puree on flatbread with sliced radishes draped across the top. It was very tasty. The second course was penne with asparagus and spring onions and a cream sauce. I would ordinarily never order pasta with cream sauce, but because it was Chez Panisse I was tempted.  It was good, but again…not mind blowing. Solid as a rock though. For dessert we split a couple bowls of Bing cherries from Frog Hollow Farm and pluots from Flavorella. The fruit was excellent. Fruit is always the best dessert (well, tied with cheese, although ideally you have a cheese plate first, then a bowl of fruit). Our east coast host was so alarmed that cherries were already in season, making the joke, “Were these picked this year?”

 

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