Pure Chablis and 3 Top Vancouver Sommeliers at Secret Location

When you think of Chablis, elegance comes to mind for me.  Floral and citrus fruits, stone fruits, whey and honey are all flavour descriptors for these wines, and one in particular; flint.  The flint (some may say smokiness) comes from the Kimmeridgian soil, a mineral-rich clay, that also contains marine fossils which are responsible for its lime content.

With the recent Vancouver International Wine Festival, and the theme country being France, I had the opportunity with several other food and wine people in Vancouver to experience the range of Chablis wines from base Chabis to Petit Chablis, Premier Cru, and Grand Cru; and to pair them with a 3 course meal from Secret Location in Gastown.  And in case you do not know, Chablis is made from Chardonnay grapes.

A selection of Chablis for our dinner

A selection of Chablis for our dinner

But how do 3 top Vancouver Sommeliers fit into this picture?  The 3 sommeliers from top Vancouver restaurants, picked a Chablis to pair with each dish, and we then voted for our favourite pairing at each course.  And of course at the end, one sommelier would get bragging rights.  Our 3 sommeliers were:

  • Brooke Delves from Wildebeest
  • Jason Yamasaki from Chambar
  • Roger Maniwa from Hawksworth
Chablis selection by Brooke Jason and Roger

Chablis selection by Brooke, Jason, and Roger

Lots of talent, and as the event progressed, you could see each sommelier’s wine and food pairing style come out.  What was also notable is that the sommeliers did not get to try the wines OR the dishes ahead of time.  Using their knowledge of food and wine, they had to piece together the puzzle of how these two elements would combine to create something exciting for our palates.

Our First Course

Our first course was lobster with freeze dried pea shoots, green asparagus and 64 degree egg.  The dish was very rich with the lobster meat and then an added layer of richness and creaminess on top with the 64 degree egg.  To counter point this you had the vegetal aspect coming from the asparagus.

Lobster with freeze dried pea sprouts asparagus and 64 degree egg

Lobster with freeze dried pea sprouts, asparagus, and 64 degree egg

Our sommeliers’ Chablis selections:

  • Brooke: Domaine Drouhin Vaudon, Chablis Grand Cru, Vaudesir, 2009
  • Jason: Domaine Billaud-Simon, Chablis Premier Cru, Montee de Tonnerre, 2009
  • Roger: Domaine A’Dair, Chablis, 2008

My tasting notes for these wines:

  • Domaine Drouhin Vaudon, Chablis Grand Cru, Vaudesir, 2009 -Light oak, sweet spice and lemon on the nose.  Medium minus body, south mouthfeel and medicum acidity.  Green apple, light vanilla, and a mineral streak through the wine. Very elegant.
  • Domaine Billaud-Simon, Chablis Premier Cru, Montee de Tonnerre, 2009 -A bit of vegetal and tropical fruit on the nose.  Medium body, with round mouth feel. Medium acidity.  Citrus with a hint of sweet spice.
  • Domaine A’Dair, Chablis, 2008 – Flinty, smoky nose.  Medium minus body and medium pls acidity.  The flinty match stick continued onto the palate.  Dry, citrus flavours, and a mouth watering mineral finish.

My pairing preferance was from Brooke as it felt that the wine was very complementary to the flavours in the dish.

Our Second Course

Continuing with seafood, our second course was a seared scallop with sunchoke puree and squid ink rocks.  The scallops haad a wonderful sweetness to them, the sunchoke puree added rich flavour and texture, and the squid ink rocks a salty component.

Seared scallop sunchoke puree and squid ink rocks

Seared scallop, sunchoke puree, and squid ink rocks

Our sommeliers’ Chablis selections:

  • Brooke: Pascal Bouchard, Chablis Premier Cru, Fourchaume, 2010
  • Jason: Domaine Louis Moreau, Chablis, 2011
  • Roger: Domaine Christian Moreau Pere et Fils, Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons Cuvee Guy Moreau, 2011

My tasting notes for these wines:

  • Pascal Bouchard, Chablis Premier Cru, Fourchaume, 2010 – Interesting nose, quite restrained with citrus and stone fruit. Medium minus body, round with medium minus acidity.  The Light cinnamon and citrus on the palate, with flintiness, acidity, and minerality becoming more prominent toward the finish.
  • Domaine Louis Moreau, Chablis, 2011- Vegetal and green peas on the nose.  Light body with light intensity flavours of green apple.  Medium acidity and a bit hot at the back of the throat on the finish.
  • Domaine Christian Moreau Pere et Fils, Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons Cuvee Guy Moreau, 2011 – Light flinty, smoky aroma.  Medium body, round with tropical fruit, sweet spice and flint on the palate.

The pairing by Jason this time was my favourite.

Our Third Course

Our third course was a roasted chicken with wild mushrooms and shaved truffle.  This was probably the most flavourful roast chicken that I have had in a long time.  In addition I really appreciated the crunchy skin.  The wild mushrooms and truffle added an earthy component to the dish.

Roasted chicken with wild mushrooms and shaved truffle

Roasted chicken with wild mushrooms and shaved truffle

Our sommeliers’ Chablis selections:

  • Brooke: Domaine Pattes Loup, Chablis, 2011
  • Jason: Jean-Marc Brocard, Chablis Grand Cru, Les Clos, 2010
  • Roger:Domaine William Fevre, Chablis Grand Cru, Valmur, 2008

My tasting notes for these wines:

  • Domaine Pattes Loup, Chablis, 2011 –  Buttery, light oak and tropical fruit on the nose.  Soft mouth feel, eventhough it has high acidity.  Medium body with tropical fruit flavours and apple on the finish.
  • Jean-Marc Brocard, Chablis Grand Cru, Les Clos, 2010 – Light vegetal nose at first sniff but later leads to honey and stone fruit.  Lighter body, with medium acidity.  Sour apple, oak and citrus rind flavours.  Puckering finish.
  • Domaine William Fevre, Chablis Grand Cru, Valmur, 2008 – Light buttery and honeyed nose.  Soft, round and buttery on the palate.  A lower level of acidity.  Some sweet spice and sourness on the finish.

For this last pairing, my choice was with Jason again.

Our winner Roger Maniwa from Hawksworth

Our winner Roger Maniwa from Hawksworth

We all have different palates, likes and dislikes for food and wine, and their pairings.  I scored Jason from Chambar as my overall favourite sommelier for this event, but there were about 40 other attendees, so once we tallied up all the scores, the overall winner was Roger from Hawksworth.  Congratulations to Roger!

A special thanks to Executive Chef Jefferson Alvarez and his team at Secret Location for creating wonderful dishes for us to enjoy with our Chablis.

Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Some people prefer red wines. Some only like Cabernet Sauvignon. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I met many great wine makers. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.