Thursday, 5 May 2011

7 Courses 7 Wines

Yesterday we had our first wine lecture and tasting. We tasted six wines in total starting with three Burgundian whites, two which were chardonnay and one miscellaneous. Chardonnay is my favourite type of white wine but I wasn't overly fond of any of them, I found them quite acidic instead of the buttery, oakey, crisp chardonnays I've tried in NZ, maybe thats the French style or they were too young.

The most useful thing I learnt was that you can tell the age of a white wine solely by looking at its colour, a very young white will be a very pale yellow green and turning straw yellow, golden and finally yellow/orange (with various colours in between) as it ages. Aging of the wine in oak increases the speed of that aging so you need to keep that in mind when tasting white wines with woody characteristics.

We then tried three red wines from Bordeaux from both sides of the river culminating in my favourite which was a 11 year old Cab sav/Merlot from the left bank. It was all very informative and increasingly more enjoyable in particular for me and the 90% of others that didn't use spittoons after trying the various wines.

Today we went in this morning and spent an hour or two creating:

A White Veal Blanquette with Braised Rice and Glazed Vege
(this is the only photo I have, unfortunately it was before I cleaned the plate)

This is an intentionally pale, rich, thickened veal stew with the vegetables added for flavour and then removed at the end. It looks simple but it's a bit more complicated than a normal stew, with lots of straining and separating needed as well as a roux and a liasion to thicken it. This is probably my best dish so far and even the Chef had no complaints. It was rich like I hoped but at the same time quite delicate, there aren't any robust flavours obvious, more a symphony of subtle ones in agreement.

Tonight a few of my classmates and I are going to a dinner cooked and organised by the cuisine students at their final stage of study at Le Cordon Bleu. This is something that every superior cuisine student has to do in order to graduate; produce a restaurant style degustation dinner for a large number of people. It's going to be seven courses with matching wines and I've heard rumours of oysters and foie gras so I'm looking forward to it! It will also be valuable to see the level that the chefs are cooking at and what I can expect to be able to produce a few months down the track.


  1. hey! I'm off to the dinner too so perhaps I will see you there! Come hunt me down if you see me :)

  2. Adam, I am really enjoying your blog and your obvious passion for food. Perhaps you should become a food critic you have a wonderful way with words.... "more a symphony of subtle ones in agreement" is sublime. I too have enjoyed the meat section along with you and can almost taste them.

  3. Really enjoying your stories.sorry I haven't been apparent as a follower. I had to get your mum down here to show me how to post comments! Good to hear you're a chardy person

  4. Who would've guessed your fav wine would be a Merlot?!
    The dish looks super delicious and is definitely the best presentation very "pretty".
    Hope the dinner is amazing, can't wait to read a blog about that!

  5. @ Debbie: Thank you for the kind words I'm glad you've been enjoying it, writing this blog really hasn't been a chore for me, I'm enjoying the course so much I almost feel obliged to gush about it on the internet.

    @ Jane: I'm not sure Mum has any great understanding of how it all works but it's good to hear from you, I hope everything is coming back together for you in Chch.

    @ Helen: Yeah, don't often go for merlots but that one was a beauty. Thanks for the comment about the presentation, unfortunately it goes downhill again for a bit for me for the next blog, but I'll compensate with glorious photos from our dinner soon. Stay posted.