Suggestions and a recipe from the chef, with Christophe Rod (4/4)
How do you grow the best Chasselas in the world? A report from Mont-sur-Rolle, an award-winning vineyard belonging to Cave de la Côte, and a behind-the-scenes look at the 7th Mondial du Chasselas held in Aigle last June.
From the Auberge de Lavaux, the view over Lake Geneva, the Alps, and the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage-listed vineyard is one of the most magical you can find. The wine list is (almost) as impressive. If he hadn’t become a chef, Christophe Rod would have made a fine sommelier or oenologist. He recently launched a new venture to create his own wine in conjunction with a wine-grower friend of his.
The chef, who hails from Vaud, has a passion for wine and a particular penchant for chasselas, “a grape variety that is so emblematic of this terroir and above all the people who cultivate and work with it…”
Built on emotion, the wine list at the Auberge de Lavaux is aimed at passionate wine enthusiasts, not those who simply go by the label. It includes around a hundred chasselases, twenty or so of which are old vintages, out of a total of over 400 wines.
The choices are dictated by “meetings with passionate wine growers”.
Chasselas is back in fashion, says the chef, who believes it to be “the only thirst-quenching wine you can never have your fill of”.
Chasselas is “floral, fruity, fresh and delicate; there’s one for every moment and occasion and while it’s great as an aperitif, it’s also perfect in food and wine pairings”, says Christophe Rod. It’s not just all about fondue!”
His favourite grape variety evokes three things in particular: “First of all, the personality of the wine grower really shows, more clearly than for any other grape variety, followed by the terroir and of course the oenologist who created them…”
Auberge de Lavaux’s chef strives to promote great chasselases, old vintages and, of course, also the winning wines from the Mondial du Chasselas awards. These include Montoise 2017, elected best chasselas in the world last June: “A good minerality in the nose and in the first attack, nicely full-bodied, freshness and a pleasant little note of bitterness. A fresh and delicate wine that makes you want to refill your mouth just for the pleasure of it… As it warms up, it develops almond notes and lingers in the mouth.”
Montoise is good as an aperitif or served with a cold starter, says the chef, with fish from the lake or tuna tataki, for example. And it goes brilliantly with oriental cuisines such as Japanese and Chinese.
Like the very best chasselases, which develop incredibly intense flavours, Montoise has good potential for ageing. “Personally, I suggest serving old chasselases at 14-15 degrees, and the others at around 7-8 degrees.”
Christophe Rod’s recipe, to pair with Montoise 2017
Red tuna tataki
– 1 good piece of red tuna
– 250g red beetroot coulis (made from cooked beetroots)
– 200ml unsalted soy sauce
– 5g gelatine
– Juice of 1 lemon
Make a crumble with 30g ground hazelnuts, 30g white flour and 30g butter.
Marinate the tuna overnight in 100ml soya sauce mixed with a little lemon juice.
Salt the tuna well and put it in a hot frying pan, then sear it quickly on both sides. Allow to cool in the fridge for 2 hours.
Heat the beetroot coulis, seasoned with salt and tabasco, add the gelatine and pour into a half-centimetre slab. Allow to set. Cut the beetroot gelatine into cubes and sprinkle the crumble on top.
Cut the tuna into generous slices.
Heat the rest of the marinade, seasoned with a little starch, and season the tuna with this sauce and some fleur de sel.
Serve with some small crunchy salad leaves.
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