WineInk: Meals and wine pairing at Aspect 47

Chefs at the 2022 Tiny Nell Culinary Fest in Aspen.
Caelinn Donahue

There are some remarkable eating choices in the Roaring Fork Valley, but it is hard to discover a greater one particular than the blend of charms uncovered on a summer time afternoon by the poolside patio of Component 47, the signature restaurant of The Tiny Nell lodge. The marriage of fine delicacies, the world’s most considerable wines and a location that is highlighted by the Residing Wall of floral shade designed by Arabella of Busy Beavers Gardening is sublime. It is a person purpose why gourmands and oenophiles the world more than regard Aspen as a entire world-course eating location.

The month of September debuted with a accumulating on that patio, dubbed as a Sommelier Lunch, which took the full knowledge to a further stage. Under a shining sunshine, a crowd of 60 or so wine and food afficionados dined on cuisine established by New York Metropolis dependent, Michelin two-starred chef Gabriel Kreuther and personal executive chef and cookbook creator Bernard Guillas. The two chefs ended up below as element of the 2022 Small Nell Culinary Fest, which brings together chefs from the Relais & Châteaux global network of hotels and restaurants. Every single of the dishes in the 4-system (five if you contain the sweet bites – and you have to) was expertly paired with a range of high-quality wines personally preferred by community master sommelier and director of Matsuhisa Aspen’s wine plan, Jay Fletcher.

The Minimal Nell Culinary Fest was originally conceived past yr by the Nell’s culinary director Matthew Zubrod as a way to operate with some of the exceptional talent that remaining a part of the Relais & Châteaux delivers.

“Four times a 12 months the cooks from Relais & Châteaux get jointly on a get in touch with to share notes,” Zubrod reported. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting to invite some of these great chefs to Aspen to cook and make some camaraderie?’ I love likely to occasions and cooking with other chefs, and I just thought it would be good for our kitchen area to get some other cooks in right here for a weekend.”

That very first yr, 2021, the event took place throughout the June weekend that would have normally hosted the Foods & Wine Common in Aspen, which was postponed until eventually September owing to the pandemic. It presented a welcome and classy function in the June window. So, the plan was to maintain the custom alive, and the party presented a great coda to the summertime dining season.

In addition to chef Kreuther, who arrived from his namesake cafe in New York, and chef Guillas, the Culinary Fest welcomed Krista Garcia, government chef at Hotel Wailea in Maui, two-Michelin-star chef de cuisine Richard Lee, and culinary director Paul Chung from Saison in San Francisco. They ended up joined in the kitchen by Oscar Carrasco, government chef at The Very little Nell and Meghan McGarvey, pastry chef at The Minor Nell. It was an amazing lineup for the three-day celebration of meals and wine.  

Operating with the staff in the kitchen at Ingredient 47, cooks Kreuther and Guillas established menus that reflected equally their respective delicacies and the finest of the season at hand. Getting shared their plans for the dishes to be served, Fletcher expertly commenced to pair wines that reflected both equally the heritage of the cooks and the dynamics of the dishes.

“It’s a entertaining challenge,” claimed Fletcher about deciding upon the wines. “I realized chef Kreuther would be preparing a foie gras dish and required to pair a wine that would get the job done nicely with it.”

His preference? A 2020 Weiser-Künstler Enkircher Ellergrub Spätlese Riesling from the Mosel area of Germany.

As we all admired the compact ball of foie gras terrine rolled in marcona almond praline with an adjacent banana discomfort d’epices, chef Kreuther instructed us that he was raised in Alsace in jap France and that the dish was a homage to the region. His restaurant, Gabriel, in mid-town Manhattan, is regarded as a person of the very best Alsatian eating places in the environment and just this year gained the prestigious Grand Award from Wine Spectator for its prodigious wine checklist.

As Fletcher released the wine, he transported the overall patio on a trip to the Mosel.

“This wine is grown on slopes that are terraced with slate and are so steep that each individual vine has a pole where vineyard personnel can maintain onto, so they really do not tumble down the mountain. It’s steeper than Aspen Mountain,” he spelled out.

His enthusiasm for not just this wine, but also the tale powering it, captured the diners, who paused, glasses in hand, considering just what the Mosel have to be like. It is these times that amplify the pleasure of wine.

The entire lunch ongoing in that manner. Chef Guillas ready a diver scallop from Maine with area Olathe corn and clean chanterelle mushrooms that Fletcher paired with a white Burgundy. Guillas was positively giddy as he thanked individuals in attendance.

A Maine diver scallop with truffle pearls was organized for company by chef Bernard Guillas.
Kelly Hayes

“We are acquiring so significantly enjoyment in the kitchen,” he exclaimed as the scallops have been staying served. “I just want to thank you for letting us prepare dinner for you.”

Fletcher yet again took us on a digital wine journey as he talked about the Premier Cru Drouhin “Clos des Mouches” Blanc 2019 that he experienced chosen to pair with the scallops.

“This vineyard in the southern portion of Beaune near Pommard is wherever the Drouhin household will just take you if you are a visitor. Clos is a walled winery, and ‘de Mouches’ indicates ‘of the flies,’ but it actually refers to the bees,” Fletcher described. “One hundred per cent Chardonnay, 100 p.c biodynamic, from one particular of the oldest Drouhin family members vineyards, this wine is a great case in point of what white Burgundy can be.”

The pairing ongoing as a result of two surf and turf principal classes, which includes chef Kreuther’s chorizo-crusted Atlantic cod, which Fletcher paired with a Les Clans rosé from famous winemaker Sacha Lichine’s vibrant vineyards at Château d’Esclans in Provence, France. The closing entree was a wattle-seed-dusted elk loin with Palisade tart cherries from Colorado’s Grand Mesa.

The 2022 Minor Nell Culinary Fest.
Caelinn Donahue

For this, Fletcher presented the only pink wine of the day, and, to me, it was the emphasize of the wines — a Renee Rostaing Côte-Rôtie Cuvee “Ampodium” 2018. A significant and daring Syrah from the Rhone, it was earthy and real — a excellent capper to an remarkable luncheon.

As the diners ooh-ed and ah-ed above the splendid range of desserts organized by McGarvey and her pastry workforce at the Nell (and paired by Fletcher with a Tokaj from Hungary, naturally) the chefs arrived out in unison from the kitchen area for a final toast. There were smiles all about as these in attendance rose to both equally honor and thank the cooks with an ovation. It appeared to me that no a single was happier than chef Zubrod.

It is fantastic when a program will come together. Let us make The Minimal Nell Culinary Fest an yearly occasion.

Sommelier Jay Fletcher picked and described the wines for the Sommelier Lunch at Ingredient 47 in the course of The Tiny Nell Culinary Fest.
Courtesy photograph
2019 Calera Pinot Noir ‘Jensen Winery.’
Courtesy image