Five major pairings for the holidays

Composed of young owners, sommeliers and chefs from some excellent restaurants and wine bars, the Club des Oenonautes has invited us every year since 2014 to (re)discover the Bordeaux-sphere by popping open a few bottles of wine produced by their favorite winemakers. With the holidays just a few days away, five oenonauts from Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon have compiled an exclusive list of their favorite food and Bordeaux wine pairings for us, with explanations about why they work so well together…. Giving you plenty of ammunition to really shine at all of your high society events.

The most Nippo-compatible
At the wild Asian restaurant Peco Peco in Paris, Benjamin Perrier – who was born in Cussac-Fort-Médoc! – recommends a biodynamic Blanc Bonhomme 2015 from the Château Peybonhomme-les-Tours (€28 a bottle) to go with the bonito tataki made by chef Yoshiaki Mantani.
What to say, as casually as possible: “This Sauvignon-Sémillion blend is dry, fresh, mineral and well balanced all at once, perfectly complementing the melt-in-your-mouth fattiness of the lightly seared bonito.”

The kindest to your bank account
Amongst the good ideas of oenonaut Guillaume McColskey from the nice bistro L’Orillon Bar, this Natural Circus 2014 from Patrick Erésué (€4 a glass, €19 a bottle) is a welcome troublemaker in the great circus of Bordeaux wines…. And it’s in perfect harmony with the laid-back bistro fare made by Thomas Chevrier.
How to describe it to friends while opening up a bottle: “It’s typically a sweet and gourmet aperitif wine with fruity notes; it pairs perfectly with a pan con tomate or a charcuterie platter.”

The youngest vintage
On the menu of Guillaume Dupré’s Bordeaux wine bar Coinstot Vino, you’ll find the Saint-Émilion grand cru Château Meylet 2001 (€112 a bottle in house, €100 to go) from the biodynamic winemaker Michel Favard, with no added sugars, yeasts or sulfites…. It goes wonderfully with the mischievous cuisine made by Frédéric Marque.
A poem to recite with a Girondin accent as you serve it: “Its leafy and herby notes, with hints of fern and fresh humus, have a divine ability to bring a little freshness to a grilled steak.”

The most Bordeaux fusion
In Bordeaux, Miles (Le Guide Fooding’s Best Restaurant of 2015) has fabulous fusion food, prepared and served by its diverse staff and owner-chefs: Ayako from Japan, Gil from Israel, Laura from New Caledonia and Arnaud, who is French-Vietnamese! They all place their trust the Camille Schall, the house’s wine lady, who had everyone in agreement with a Pessac-Léognan rosé cuvée Paul 2015 from the Château Haut-Gergey (€7 a glass, €35 a bottle), made with grapes that were harvested by hand!
The winning argument: “With highly concentrated red berry notes, this rosé is perfect with the flame-charred mackerel, coffee-infused mayonnaise, celery root and buttermilk dish that Arnaud and Gil like making for their clients and friends.”

The most atypical of the Hauts-Médoc wines
To bring out the best in Mélik Debadji’s exquisite dishes, Charline Bellanger, the sommelier at L’Ebauche (Lyon), unveils her secret weapon: the cuvée 2014 Closeries des Moussis. A Haut-Médoc wine produced by two women, Laurence Alias and Pascale Choime (€45 a bottle).
The description to whet people’s appetites: “In Laurence and Pascale’s wine, you won’t notice the typical wood flavor of barrel-aged wines. It’s much fresher than that, with an ampleness that complements the fat of a duck breast or a chocolate mousse.”

Illustration by Antoine Corbineau, from Le Guide Fooding 2017