by David Donalson
Where did you have to be this last Saturday in order to taste Dean Fearing’s apricot barbecue glazed quail paired with a Martinelli Pinot Noir poured by Regina Martinelli herself? How about an auction where you could bid on a 3 liter bottle of Cristal Rose or a visit to each of Kent Rathbun’s restaurants including his penthouse? The answer is one of the most unique events in all of Dallas, the Côtes du Coeur.
Côtes du Coeur, is the international fine wine auction and celebrity chef dinner benefiting the American Heart Association, and with 100% of the proceeds going to such a great cause it is no wonder that some fantastic winemakers have travelled to Dallas to be paired with some of our finest chefs for the gala.
On the evening of the event I was able touch base with many of the winemakers at the Grand Tasting where Bob Egelhoff was awarded the coveted Tête de Cuvêe award. Those fortunate enough to have met Egelhoff know how easy-going he is with a genuine passion for those around him. It was a pleasure listening to his speaking with him and the Côtes du Coeur made the right decision in honoring Bob Egelhoff.
I enjoyed the winemaker’s 2006 Egelhoff Cabernet Sauvignon with ripe fruit notes, velvety tannins and hints of chocolate and spice and it paired wonderfully with lead chef Richard Chamberlain’s 40 day aged ribeye nestled in a smoked garlic sauce and served with a parsnip puree. Both the wine and the dish were stunning.
Another favorite of many in attendance was the day boat scallop carpaccio set in a bouillabaisse gelee with green olive crostini. The texture and delicacy of the scallop, accented by the olive notes, was a superb pairing with Domaine Paul BLANCK Pinot Gris from Alsace, France. This wine had it all: a good level of acidity to accent the scallop, enough weight on the palate to hold up to the bouillabaisse and a slight sweet note to balance the palate and hit all of the tastes on the palate.
Philippe Blanck flew in from Alsace Friday afternoon to make the event and brought a spirit and energy that matched his wines. Philippe also poured his Grand Cru Schlossberg Riesling that night, a truly remarkable, dry Riesling that is a reminder to all that Riesling does not need to be syrupy sweet.
Scott Romano from Charlie Palmer at the Joule made a braised lamb ravioli with spring peas and chanterelles that was both creamy and unctuous, especially when eating with the 2007 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon. While I was worried about the weight of the wine overpowering the flavors of the ravioli, the tannins were soft and velvety and the fruit was rich and ripe; a great wine on its own and a solid pairing with the ravioli.
Dean Fearing’s apricot barbecue glazed quail, with its ever-so-slight gamey taste of the bird, the hint of sweetness from the apricot and barbecue sauce and the creaminess of the polenta, made for a stellar dish. It also helped that Chef Fearing had both the 2007 Martinelli Bondi Home Ranch Pinot Noir and the 2008 Bookwalter Foreshadow Merlot from the Columbia Valley in Washington to pair with his dish.
The Martinelli was amazing balanced, with red and black cherry flavors accented by an earthy, forest floor background. The Bookwalter Merlot was young but showed so much potential, with strong fruit components of plum, blackberry and blueberry supporting a heavy backbone of smoked meat with Asian and baking spices.
The Côtes du Coeur organization knew it was an amazing event when everyone seemingly had a different favorite of courses and wines. When trying to decide to write about Sevy’s duck pancakes, the buffalo tenderloin from the Adolphus’ Marcus Strietzel, or the pancetta wrapped elk loin from Gerard Thompson of the Rough Creek Lodge, it shows how successful the Côtes du Coeur was in bringing an event unmatched in Dallas once again.