Wine & Food

Snooth User: JenniferT

Ideas for a tasting/dinner with lobster thermidor?

Original post by JenniferT, May 15, 2013.

Hi Guys:

In my ongoing saga of trying to learn how to cook, I'm planning on giving lobster thermidor a whirl soon. I'd like to pair it with 2-3 wines, mostly as a pairing experiment to see which works best. Any ideas? I was thinking I could potentially combine the dinner with the vintage VS NV champagne combo I've been meaning to do...other ideas might be a white burgundy, chablis, chardonnay......

I don't know how much lobster thermidor recipes vary, but here's the one I was thinking about making:http://www.winespectator.com/webfea...

Thanks!

 

Replies

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Reply by JenniferT, May 22, 2013.

Thanks, Welkja! 

The grand cru is about 60 bucks less expensive as well.  :)

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Reply by JonDerry, May 22, 2013.

Great, it's a no-brainer then ; )

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Reply by JenniferT, May 22, 2013.

I'll run back there and pick up the Fevre for sure. I'm glad Les Clos is a good choice...it was in line with my research. 

I'm so glad I asked before buying!

Your thoughts (and prayers) are greatly appreciated! :)

 

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Reply by EMark, May 23, 2013.

Well, today's the big day.  Good luck, Jennifer.

I was going to buy a ticket to fly up and join you--if for no other reason than to provide a tie-breaking vote in case your sweetheart and you deadlocked on one of your evaluations--but then stuff happened, and the day has, pretty much, slipped by.

Have fun.  We're looking forward to your report.

:-)

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Reply by JenniferT, May 23, 2013.

Too bad, emark, lol! Although I would wait until my cooking skills are more established if I were you! It is easier, however, to ensure success with the wine (relatively, anyway). 

I did get the Fevre; now I'm excited to try it! I selected some different cheeses to experiment with different pairings as well (and buy me time/wiggle room in terms of other courses).....From what I've read, I'm expecting an ash ripened goat cheese to go the best with the chablis. It will be fun to see what happens in practice versus theory. 

I'm doing a cheese plate, a bisque with wild spot prawns, the lobster thermidor and a waldorf salad, and I just remembered that I forgot to pick up a dessert at the bakery as I type this. Oh well. I'll see what I can do.

I'm only putting things together now (and I've yet to get through the wines)...so I'll check in later tonight or tomorrow and let you guy know how it went. I'm anticipating having quite a bit of wine....so perhaps tomorrow is more likely :)

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Reply by JenniferT, May 25, 2013.

Just a quick note to say that dinner went really well, although it turned into more of a multi-stage thing. (Not having guests affords me a little more flexibility that way). So far I've mixed and matched wines with cheeses, bread + butter, and a lobster bisque that turned out pretty well.

Then a tragic cheese grater accident put the brakes on our plans. Tragic only with respect to my clumsiness, really. I swear, you couldn't make this stuff up. I actually can't type very well now due to the size of my bandage on my finger (directly related to the number of bandages required)....but I'll have lots of more detailed notes about the wines, food, various pairing experiments, and my misadventures soon! 

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Reply by EMark, May 26, 2013.

Sorry to hear about your accident, Jennifer. 

Chin up.  We look forward to your return.

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Reply by JenniferT, Jun 5, 2013.

Hi! Time for a long overdue update. Unfortunately I will be going from memory and some very basic notes though. Dinner was somewhat impacted when I cut my finger with a cheese grater - I should have just thrown it away as soon as I noticed it was coming out of its plastic housing. It never pays to rush in the kitchen - especially when you are relatively unskilled like me. 

On an unrelated note, it's important to see someone within 24 hours of sustaining a cut if you are going to get it stitched or glued. A smaller cut like mine may have been eligible for the latter but I waited too long. So pay attention, kids, and grate safe! :)

On to dinner. In the end I did a great bisque and the thermidor was still great when I served it the following day (although I wonder how much better it would have been if eaten immediately....grounds for future experimentation, for sure).

For wines, I poured a total of 8 wines over a couple of days (for my sweetie to taste blind, and also for us to experiment pairing with)

1. Muscadet sur lie: 2010 Domaind Du Haut Bourg Le Pavillion, Cotes de Grandlieu AOC (If you are interested to know, "Grandlieu" is the name of a lake in that part of that Loire. The internet told me so.)

2. A REALLY cheap chardonnay. The cheapest available, in fact - Peller Estates! Just to show that there is really nothing I would dismiss doing when it comes to blind pouring. And this was also planned as kind of a joke given the quality of some of my other wines. But (spoiler alert) - it turned out that the joke was totally on me, and this one was a great learning experience.

3. An entry level chablis (mostly to compare with wine #4): William Fevre 2011 Champs Royaux

4. A grand cru chablis: Domaine William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos (2009)

5. A big Californian Chardonnay (so big that it makes me want to capitalize!): ROMBAUER!

6. A white Rioja: Altos de la Guardia Rioja Blanco (2011). A blend of Viura and Malvasia. This was an unplanned shot in the dark that I figured might make things a lot more interesting). And it did! 

7. To compare with the Cali Chard, another Chard: Riflemans Sacred Hill (2007) from Hawke's Bay, NZ.

8. Riesling (Auslese): 2010 Selbach - Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr. 

OK, First I will say that the Grand Cru chablis was good.....stunningly so. Perhaps the best wine I had even...so much going on, but still balanced... and such great length. I often talk about how much I like wines that "tell a story", with different parts/chapters/dialogue. This one certainly falls in that category. Thank you for the fantastic recommendation. My boyfriend (tasting blindly) was immediately transfixed by it, instantly regarding it as something really special.

However - in my mind, a perfect pairing should be greater than the sum of its parts. Balanced - in that neither the food or wine dominates, but rather that they play off each other in a mutually enhancing way. There is a lot going on with this one, and I thought it was just too hard to find anything to eat with it that did not detract from its awesome complexity. I felt that any food (even foods that worked well with it)....still made me feel like I was missing some parts of the story, if that makes sense.  

 

 

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Reply by JenniferT, Jun 5, 2013.

Ok, so on to pairing. It was very interesting to me that my bisque paired differently than the lobster thermidor. Even though the bisque was rich and creamy, the extra richness and weight of the thermidor sauce caused both of them to pair very differently with our wines.

It you're not interested in the details, our findings were as follows:

- The white rioja and simpler chablis were the most versatile food-friendly wines with the selection of foods we tried. White rioja is clearly something I must spend more time getting to know. It was the only wine we tried that worked with all the foods we had.

- For the chablis: the more complex grand cru was better than the simple chablis with the bisque, and the opposite was true with the thermidor. Funny - I would have expected that one to go the other way. The simple chablis proved to have great acid to cut through the thermidor...and that pairing seemed more complementary.

- For the chard: The Rombauer was ok with the thermidor but paired terribly with the bisque. We both felt that the NZ chardonnay paired better than the Rombauer with the thermidor. Neither chardonnay performed well with the bisque.

- The muscadet was surprisingly good with the bisque, and a bad pairing for thermidor.

- The Peller Estates wine really taught us both a lesson. As I said before - the joke was on me. I have a feeling that it would stand against much of the more expensive wines I've gone through. It did not stand out as a cheap, unbalanced wine. Moreover, it proved to be one of our favourites with the bisque. I would normally never even consider buying such a wine. I'm looking forward to buying more wine in that category from time to time, just to see how they perform against other wines. I have a distinct feeling I will be in for a few surprises. Either way, I won't be out much money for the experiment.

I was surprised to see that neither of us were big on the Rombauer pairings. (Disclaimer: this wine is not to my personal taste at all. To me it seemed really sweet, caramel/vanilla like, and overdone.) It proved difficult to pair as well. In the future, I would be reluctant to go that "big" on a chardonnay for a pairing. HOWEVER, while this wine proved to be too much for my dishes it did pair very well (better than the other chard) with a few of the cheeses I tried (I did an experiment where I paired off all our wines against 6 different cheeses). I will say that the more restrained chardonnay seemed more versatile and food friendly.

And there it is!

I'll detail more of my food and wine experiments in the future in case anyone is actually interested. :)

 

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Reply by JenniferT, Jun 5, 2013.

Oops...I forgot to talk about the Riesling. We both loved it, but thought it seemed too sweet for either dish.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jun 5, 2013.

Great stuff Jennifer (aside from your injury), glad the Fevre was as advertised. I can also see what you mean about simpler (especially european) wines pairing well with food.

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Reply by EMark, Jun 5, 2013.

Thank you for the excellent report, Jennifer.  Isn't it fun to try wines blind?  And isn't if fun to see your opinion change as the evening progresses.  Not only is it fun, you also learn a lot.

Glad to have you back.

 

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Reply by napagirl68, Jun 5, 2013.

Jennifer,  Thanks for your report!  I didn't chime in earlier because my perfect pairing for any Lobster would be Benadryl and epinephrine (I am allergic to shellfish). 

But, in looking at your recipe you posted, I would have to agree most with EMark... I would have suggested a white rhone blend from Central coast.... The one that comes to mind is from Paso Robles, the 2008 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc.  I still have a bottle stowed away.  I just looked at their webpage and saw the new Vermentino... I want to get that one too!

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Reply by JenniferT, Jun 6, 2013.

Well, it looks like there is going to be a lobster bisque + thermidor rerun in the future.  Thanks for your suggestion - I will try to pick up the rhone blend you suggested on my next trip down to the US (which may be as early as next week if my other half gets time off)

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Reply by napagirl68, Jun 7, 2013.

Jennifer,

Let us know where you may visit here in the US.. we can guide you on sources... wine shops are sometimes a great outlet vs. visiting multiple tasting rooms when on a schedule.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 7, 2013.

I got here a little late.  If it's any consolation, my then-eight year old daughter cut her thumb right below the knuckle crease while opening a shrink-wrapped cheese with a knife literally two minutes before company arrived.  One of the guests was a doctor who said, "Doesn't need stitches."  Next day, we took her to the doctor who said, "We would have stitched it but it's too late now."  My daughter has no visible scar (looks like part of the knuckle) and is glad she was spared stitches.

Rombauer is the epitome of oaky, buttery chardonnay.  It deserves all capitals.  The founder is the son of the the author of The Joy of Cooking and one of my least favorite people in the wine world. 

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Reply by napagirl68, Jun 7, 2013.

The founder is the son of the the author of The Joy of Cooking and one of my least favorite people in the wine world.

AGREED!  LOL, foxy!   Rombauer makes me want to have dry heaves and a migraine.

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Reply by JenniferT, Jun 10, 2013.

How refreshing! The "wine expert" at the store where I found the Rombauer extolled the virtues of this particular wine, and made a point of telling me that it is her very favourite type of chardonnay. I, on the other hand, felt challenged by coming up with a way to use the leftover wine as I felt guilty about throwing it out. I just couldn't get behind drinking it when there is already so much other stuff around that I like drinking so much more.

The last time I was so not impressed with a wine was when I tried a German off-dry Pinot Noir (a Spatburgunder).

I will certainly put the word out in advance of my next trip down to the US of A....I'd love to hear your feedback and ideas. I had been hoping that we would be driving down next week but my other half was unable to take time off work. I didn't think it was worth spending a few cool (cold) days on the olympic peninsula so I cancelled that one. It is likely that I will be sailing down into washington next weekend anyway...docking in a few small ports.... but that's an entirely different kind of thing.

Regardless - here's hoping my next trip comes sooner than later.  :) 

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Reply by JenniferT, Jun 10, 2013.

The Spatburgunder kind of redeemed itself in light of how fun it is to say....SPAT-BUR-GUN-DERRR!

Writing it out doesn't do it justice...I think it comes off as more French Canadian....but hopefully you still get the picture.

:)

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Reply by JonDerry, Jun 10, 2013.

Spatburgunder, yes!

You're the first to talk about any such experience with one JT, though I've been planning on experimenting with these wines for a while now. The problem is distribution to the states, we're not getting "the good stuff" necessarily.



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