Sunday, March 1, 2009

Salmon and a Mâcon

Jean-Claude Thévenet in MâconA few days ago I popped the 2007 Jean-Claude Thévenet Mâcon Pierreclos to see what was what. I promptly stoppered it: it was tighter than a bug's butt. Still, I liked the minerality I found and I figured, or at least hoped, the fruit would unfurl with a bit of oxygen.

Yesterday I decided to give it another whirl and with it in mind I stopped by a nice take-out deli, where I picked up a filet of salmon with slightly sweet chili sauce and a mushroom risotto cake. I figured, or at least hoped, that the Thévenet's body, minerality, and orchard fruit flavors would lean nicely into these medium-bodied foods.

Jean-Claude Thévenet should not be confused with the more famous Jean Thévenet of Clessé. Whereas J.T. produces some botrytized, late harvest Mâcon, our J.-C. T. produces athletic, unoaked whites that are imported by the Rosenthal cabal. As you can see from the photograph at right (which I nabbed from the Rosenthal site), the soil includes red clay marl as well as limestone. The grapes are manually harvested, fermented in stainless steel, left on their lees, and complete malolactic fermention. Given all this, you would figure, or at least hope, that the wine would be clean yet still show some creamy depth.

This Mâcon Pierreclos fulfilled my hopes. The nose sets things up nicely, with rich aromas of lemon oil, waxy yellow apple, peach, and passionfruit, but the pairing was successful because the lemony acidity, the medium-creamy body, and the well-integrated stoniness were nice foils for the oily fish, while the fruit matched the barely-spicy mango sauce. In fact, the wine itself shows just a hint of zesty spice on the finish and maybe, just maybe, a suggestion of hazelnut. And that same combination of creaminess, acidity, and minerality worked with the risotto cake.

I found the Thévenet so apt a pairing that I'm wondering what could be better with this particular preparation of salmon than an unoaked white Burgundy. A spicy Oregon pinot gris? A nice Roero Arneis? I'd love to hear your suggestions. In any case, this wine did the trick.

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