Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Taste of Menton, With Sherry

Last month, while in Jerez, I had the pleasure of meeting César Saldaña, the director general of the Consejo Regulador, as he led an informative class on sherry.  Then last week, César came to Boston to lead a sherry class and tasting at Menton.  The educational session was similar to what I had learned in Jerez, helping to reinforce and solidify my familiarity with sherry. But there was new information as well, expanding my knowledge of this intriguing wine. César once again did an excellent job, being a compelling speaker, and he is certainly a fine ambassador for sherry.     

We tasted 20 sherries, including some VOS and VORS aged sherries, and I had tasted many of them before. The Bodegas Tradicion Oloroso VORS and Palo Cortado VORS once again stood out to me, just amazing wines which should greatly please most wine lovers.  There wasn't a bad sherry in the group, though I am still not a big fan of the Pedro Ximenez, as it is too sweet for my preferences.  Wine stores definitely need to stock more sherry, especially the aged sherries.

What was new is that we also got to try a couple sherry cocktails at lunch: the Berry Cobbler and the Triangulo de Jerez.  The Berry Cobbler is a variant of the famous Sherry Cobbler, which was one of the most popular drinks of the second half of the 19th century.  The Berry Cobbler was made with Dry Sack Medium Sherry, Lustau Peninsular Palo Cortado, Nectar Pedro Ximenez, Fresh Berries, and Lemon. The PX was used instead of simple syrup, to add some sweetness.  I loved this drink, which had a delicious berry flavor without being too sweet.  There were depths of flavor in the drink, and it was made with crushed ice, which I also enjoy. I could easily drink several of those.  I did not care for the Triangulo de Jerez, which is made from Fino Sherry, Tanqueray Ten, Dolin Blanc, and Orange Bitters but only because I generally dislike gin.

Lunch was provided at Menton, Barbara Lynch's newest restaurant, located in the Fort Point neighborhood. Menton is often considered one of the most expensive restaurants in the city, and the menu offers you either a four-course prix-fixe or a seven-course chef’s tasting with optional wine pairings. Before it opened, there was some controversy of whether Boston was ready for such a high-end restaurant, yet since it has opened, it has received many raves.  I had not previously dined there so was very interested to eat there for lunch.  As they do not usually do lunch, I also understood that my experience would be but a small glimpse into the restaurant.

Our lunch began with a Croque Madame, with a farm egg, ham, and petite lettuce. A simple but delicious dish that was presented well, and I could easily have eaten more. The bread was soft and fresh, and the ham was tender and tasty. It was not the best Croque Madame I have ever had, but was a more elegant variation.

The main entree was Short Rib of Beef, with chickpea, almonds, and medjool dates. It was a very tender and flavorful piece of beef with a savory sauce, and the almonds added some nice texture and flavor to the dish.  Again, a simple but elegant dish.

For dessert, there was a Terrine of Vanilla Glace, with vanilla cake and Pedro Ximemenz. Once again, a simple but delicious dessert, with a moist cake and creamy, rich filling.

Based on the dinner menus, our lunch was a much simpler affair, though well executed and satisfying.  Service was excellent, and there was a large team in place to ensure everything went smoothly. I still want to have dinner there sometime soon, and will be sure to report back when I do. But at least initially, I think it has potential.  And sherry definitely is a great food wine.

354 Congress St.
Boston, MA
Phone: (617) 737-0099

Menton on Urbanspoon

No comments: