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Prestigious Prizes, Perfect Pairs

As summer stretches into August and the days continue to grow even hotter, things are cooking at etoile Restaurant, too. Following Chef Perry Hoffman’s second James Beard Award nomination—one of the culinary world’s most distinguished honors—earlier this year, etoile Restaurant has recently picked up some impressive nods, as well. Domaine Chandon’s fine dining establishment has been named one of the nation’s “Top 100 Wine Restaurants” by Wine Enthusiast, and earning a “Best of Award of Excellence” in Wine Spectator’s 30th anniversary restaurant issue.

Clearly, Perry and his team have their food-and-wine-pairing expertise dialed in, and people in the know continue to notice. However, not everyone can jet off to Yountville for a Michelin-star meal at etoile Restaurant. Which got us thinking: What are some helpful hints we could offer fans of Chandon and fine dining for the next time they’re looking to prepare a perfectly-paired meal at home?

So we put an elite team of nibblers and sippers together in a room, locked the door, and here’s what they came up with:

1. The menu makes the meal—literally: A successful evening of wine-pairing begins and ends with the dishes you prepare, and the easiest way to bring etoile Restaurant home is with a little help from The Domaine Chandon Cookbook.


2. Tailor the stemware: If you’re planning to sample a variety of vinos over the course of the meal, be sure to have enough glasses to “support” each tasting. That means flutes for sparkling wine, white wine glasses for Chardonnay and red wine glasses for…you get the idea.

pair against type3. Pair against type: It’s a common misconception that sparkling wine is best served with light, delicate fare and heartier red wines require similarly beefy entrées. Often, you can discover delightfully surprising nuances within a wine by pairing outside the box.

Take it away, Perry: “Say you have a bottle of Brut Classic. Do I really want this crisp wine to go with a crisp grilled dish? Instead, you want the acidity in the wine to help break through, say, a marinated rack of rib. For me, it’s the balance of having a great, heavy piece of grilled meat and this crisp sparkling wine to cut right through it. It leaves you balanced at the end of the meal, instead of having a big old heavy piece of meat with a big old heavy glass of red wine.”

Keep these tips in mind next time you’re hosting a wine-centric event, and happy pairing. We recognize, however, that sometimes you just can’t beat the original. When you find yourself in or around Napa, be sure to stop by for a bite. We—and your taste buds—will thank you!