The Harbor View Hotel has kicked off a new wine dinner series; the first dinner, on Feb. 22, focused on wines of the Loire Valley in France. Executive Chef Richard Doucette paired dinner with wines carefully selected by connoisseur David Hall from M.S. Walker Wine & Spirits, headquartered in Norwood.
Wines that come from the Loire Valley are distinct: They’re from the heart of France, famous for its breathtaking beauty and rich history. It’s where Joan of Arc led French troops to victory, as well as being known as the cradle of the French language, where locals are believed to speak the purest French. That rich history can be found in the wines of the valley as well. Divided into five regions (Pays Nantais, Anjou, Saumur, Touraine, and Centre-Loire), it produces some of the best and most varied wine in France.
The dinner consisted of five courses, with most of the wine being certified organic, biodynamic, and sustainable, which made the diners quite happy. First offered were Katama Bay Oysters, which inspired Chef Doucette to create a light-as-air foam over the briny oysters paired with Louis de Grenelle, NV. It was the perfect way to kick off the night.
Next came a slice of Pâte Maison en Croute, where the chef and his team made a classic pâte wrapped in delicate puff pastry, topped with pickled cauliflower and served with two types of mustard. Paired with Clos du Gaimont (2017), the limestone in the soil shone through and worked well with the earthiness of the pork sausage.
For the third course, Seared Diver Scallops were one of my favorite dishes. Served with toasted grains, simply prepared kohlrabi, and kumquats that had been compressed with warm spices, it was a dish to remember. Even more so was the pairing with Domaine Paul Buisse Touraine (2015), which David referred to as a “baby Sancerre” due to its similarities.
The meat course, a take on Lamb Cassoulet, was impressive, to say the least. Unlike the traditionally heavy cassoulet, lamb saddle was made into lamb sausage, and a lamb porterhouse (loin and tenderloin) was served atop roasted root vegetables, fava beans, and herbs. All the comforting flavors of cassoulet were there, just presented in a lighter, fresher way. This was paired with the only red wine of the night, from the region of Chinon, Cuisine de ma Mere.
Last, there was an Apricot Tart that dessert lovers only dream of — apricot served in a light puff pastry cup, topped with a tart crème fraîche sorbet, surrounded by compressed apricot and a gel made from the wine, a Pascal Jolivet Rose of Sancerre. I think I’d give up chocolate for more of that dessert.
Join Harbor View Hotel for its next wine dinner, which will showcase the wines of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) on March 29 at 6:30 pm. Price per person is $60, and is a great deal for the gorgeous wines and delicious food you’ll enjoy — treat yourself and learn all about wine in the process. Capacity is limited; please call 508-627-3834 to make a reservation.