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food pairing, Wine Blog, Wine Travel

european scribbles, no 3.: moo.

Moo.

I must admit, I felt like mooing upon leaving this decadent Michelin-starred Catalan restaurant.  Upon learning that I would be in Barcelona a few days longer than expected, my friend and I took our chances on snagging a reservation at the much-praised Moo restaurant in Hotel Omm.  Alas, dinner was not an option… but lunch was wide open.

Nine courses later complete with impeccable wine pairings, we may have been holding our tummies, but the smiles plastered on our faces were filled with contentment.

Moo opened in 2004, looking to the Roca brothers of Celler Can Roca for consultation, Felip Llufriu for gastronomical genius, and Roger Viusà for wine pairing excellence.  Viusà, in fact, was recognized as Europe’s best sommelier in 2007 and then again in 2008 as the world’s second best sommelier.   When asked if we wanted to make our own wine choices for the Joan Roca’s tasting menu, I quickly declined… I wanted to see what Viusà had in mind.

Needless to say… good choice.

We began with their house Cava and an exquisite little plate of hard candy-shelled foie gras.  I was reluctant to ruin the display with consumption.  It was so charming!  The consistency was incredible, as it nearly melted in my mouth upon cracking its sweet armour.

We moved on to a Russian salad with a Bodega Robles Montilla-Moriles Piedra Luenga Fino Pedro Ximenes.  Yeah.  Divide and conquer.  Montilla-Moriles is a region in southern Spain nearby Sherry in Andalusia.  Fino indicates that it is dry and pale in style.  Pedro Ximenes is a varietal often seen transformed into sweet, thick dessert wines.  This, of course, was not, and though it was a little harsh on its own, it was gorgeous with the ahi-seared tuna.

Next was the scallop with chervil (a kind of parsley).  We enjoyed this with a Chardonnay from Limoux—a 2006 Domaine Mouscaillo to be exact.  In the past, Chardonnays from the Languedoc region of France have seemed marginal to me, but this one was impressive and quite Burgundian in style.  Though it was unarguably well-suited to the seafood, I thought something with a little more acidity may have complimented the shellfish a bit better.

We then had sea bass with green beans and ginger alongside a 2006 Pezas da Portella Val de Sil Godello from Valdeorras, a region that is recently getting much praise and recognition for this traditionally overlooked varietal.  For a really good article, go to: http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/restaurants/4350.html.  As expected, the mineral backbone and fresh acidity controlling this grape reined in all the glorious flavours to be had in the sea bass and ginger.  This is a wine that shines when paired so brilliantly.

Still with me?

We moved onto reds: a fabulous 1998 Roda II from Rioja—mostly Tempranillo with a touch of Garnacha.  The flavors of cherry, tobacco, earth, and dried spices were well-integrated at this point.  They worked to really loosen the rich subtext of flavors that were hidden within the lamb.  A superb synthesis.

Next, pigeon.  Yikes.  I was full.  The 2000 Cims de Porerra Priorat was a bit big for the meat.  Nonetheless, both stood well on their own.  I was nearing capacity, though, at this point, in all fairness to the pairing.

Luckily, we lightened up.  There was a small cheese course as a palate cleanser.  No pairing.

Then we had the first of two desserts: mango, coconut, and wheat.  We enjoyed this refreshing number with a sweet 2008 Domaine Delesvaux Chenin Blanc.  They met one another and were fast friends—a delicious pairing.  A very clean, light dessert.

Finally, the tiramisu…deconstructed.  We enjoyed this favorite with a 2000 Castello di Amo Trebbiano/Malvasia dessert wine.  An exquisite ending to an exquisite meal.

Should you find yourself in Barcelona, don’t hold back.  Go here.  Select a tasting menu with suggested wine pairings.  Sit back.  Relax.  Prepare to be enthralled.  It truly was a work of art, these dishes.  I eagerly awaited each course, like a kid at Christmas.  To see their concept unfold—to taste it—well, it’s priceless.  Possibly my most memorable meal during vacation.

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About mistralwine1982

Originally from Wisconsin, I moved to Colorado in 2005 in order to get closer to the mountains and rock climb. When it occurred to me that I would never make money with that hobby, I went to grad school. I received a masters in English and American Literature from New York University in May of 2009. I have since then opted not to pursue a PhD, for studying and writing about wine is far more fascinating (well, perhaps not moreso than Virginia Woolf, but still… for the long haul?). My favorite wines come from the old world, especially the Rhone, Burgundy, Rioja, Piedmont, and Tuscany. I am also smitten with roses, Italian hard-to-pronounce white varietals, and dessert wines from around the world. By day I run a wine shop. By nite, I sip and tell. It’s rough… but someone must do this.

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