17th July 2018
Prestigious Journey of the Senses
The word “elegance” has been forever redefined by the Moët Hennessy Private Tasting event at the Petersen Museum. It was an evening that featured roaring exotic cars, spectacular Moët et Chandon champagne, a fabulous dinner by Chef Sean Dent and the legendary Chef Celestino Drago, and then finished with an astonishing blend of 19th and 20th century eaux-de-vie – the Hennessy Paradis Imperial.
Members of Club AlphaLuxe Drive or Taste Chapters were amongst the guests. Some even belong to both Chapters!
The Petersen Automotive Museum takes you on a breathtaking journey of automotive history. It is one of the largest automotive museums in the world. It was established in 1994 in the Miracle Mile Neighborhood of Los Angeles. The museum has 25 galleries with over 100 vehicles displayed. The exhibits featured rare Porsche sportscars, including one of the two remaining 1939 Porsche 64.
The Museum’s rooftop 4th floor Penthouse has an all-glass enclosed dining area, and an outside terrace with gorgeous views of Hollywood Hills and Century City.
We were joined by Marie-Christine Osselin, Wine Quality Manager of Moët et Chandon, who works directly with world renowned Chef de Cave Benoît Gouez (Wine Enthusiast Winemaker of Year in 2013).
Marie-Christine came all the way from Champagne to introduce us to the beautiful selection of Moët et Chandon champagne that was lined up for the evening.
Canapés and Champagne
The evening started at sunset, around 6:30 p.m., and champagne was flowing. We started at the terrace with a large format non-vintage Moët et Chandon Cuvee Imperiale, paired with canapés of crisp potato rosti, lemon macaroons, smoked chicken empanadas, and oysters-in-shell.
The non-vintage Cuvee Imperiale was a dry blend of Pinot Noir and Meunier; exhibiting fruity scents consisting primarily orange citrus. I am always a big fan of large formats as they provide for a more profound character to the wine.
The oysters were a tribute to the classics. A simple clean oyster with no toppings added. Just what you expect to enjoy on a rooftop penthouse with a glass of champagne.
The crisp potato rosti was topped with crème fraiche, salmon caviar, and then served in a tasting spoon. It featured a combination of salty caviar and fresh crème that screamed for a splash of the Cuvee Imperiale.
The lemon macaroon was my favorite starter. It included a mixture of beet and tarragon crème, a soft macaroon with a refreshingly pleasant lemony taste, a hint of tarragon, and a spice finish. Also a perfect canapé to go with the Cuvee Imperiale.
The chicken empanada was filled with cilantro crèma. It had a nice crispy texture that also incorporated the element of freshness. It was a refreshing starter and nicely prepared the palate for our first dinner course.
First Main Course
The 2009 Moët Champagne is 50 % Pinot Noir, 36% Chardonnay, and 14 % Meunier; a very high proportion of Pinot Noir. The 2009 has a strong structure and body, featuring a scent of fruits and roses, and notes of vanilla and red berries.
The kickoff to the main dishes was the Hamachi Crudo. It’s a beautiful masterpiece by Chef Sean Dent. The hamachi (yellowtail amberjack) was spectacular and very fresh, and the sweetness from the melon added to that freshness. I can’t think of better champagne to go with this other than the 2009 Moët.
Second Main Course
The 2009 Moët Rose is an absolute stunner! It’s a blend of 59% Pinot Noir, of which 19% is still red wine, 30% Chardonnay and 11% Meunier. Another very high pinot noir proportion Moët. It features balanced red-berry and floral flavors.
The second dish consisted of Pork Belly, green coconut Thai curry sauce, peaches, scallops and kimchi. This dish was a mixture of a little spicy heat combined with the sweetness of kimchi and peach to balance everything, and then a finish that it tied up with the 2009 Moët Rose.
The scallop was amazing and cooked just right. It had a beautiful crispy top, a soft center and unique metallic finish. I thought that the pork belly was a bit overdone for my taste but the flavors were all perfect. This dish was a clash of all the taste buds – from the coconut, to the sweet and then spicy – that is cooled off with Moët Rose for a very interesting and great food-wine pairing.
Third Main Course
MCIII by Moët is a new champagne that breaks all the rules. This is a different kind of champagne blend of very different types of wines. It is a mixture of 6 different vintages that create a champagne with an incredible personality. This wine transforms into something new every 5 minutes. This wine can be divided into 3 pillars: the first consisting of a 37 – 40% blend of chardonnay and pinot noir from 2003 – which was a very hot year in Champagne. The second pillar consists of 37 – 40% of Grand Vintage blends from 1998, 2000, and 2002. The third pillar consists of a 20 – 25% blend of the Grand Vintage Collection from 1993, 1998, and 1999. It’s a very rich deep golden color that provides a powerful structure, scents of citrus and lemon, and notes of citrus, vanilla and nutmeg. It’s a very unique and innovative wine that you cannot compare to anything else.
The third course consisted of Duck Two-Ways: foie gras crusted with pistachios and a rare to medium-rare duck breast on a beet puree. The duck was exceptionally juicy and tender. The pistachios on the foie gras were just amazing. It gave the foie gras a nice finishing crunch, and the saltiness on the foie gras demanded a powerful wine like the MCIII.
The Hennessy Paradis Imperial Cognac is a one-of-a-kind cognac, 10 out of 10,000 eau-du-vie are selected for this cognac. It’s a viscous liquid thick with fusel oils, which tells you that it is a very old and fine cognac, but with a light amber color.
The Paradis Imperial provides very elegant scents of jasmine, honey, orange blossom, floral aromas, and a bit of oak for an absolutely excellent cognac!
The dessert was a chocolate crunch, with chocolate and strawberries. It consisted of powerful and fresh strawberries combined with a chocolate mousse and a chocolate crisp. The crunch melding with the unctuous mousse and tangy strawberries was a lovely blend. This dessert was an amazing finish to a lovely evening.
The evening was generously sponsored and hosted by RRS Motorsports and owner Mr. Steve Shee, who has turned his passion for sports and exotic cars into a thriving small business. Especially fond of Porsches and Lamborghinis, but able to help automotive buyers with all brands and models, Steve tries to combine a personal touch with professional services, informed by insight only a fellow car enthusiast can share.
Anthony Nehme joins us as a contributor with extensive knowledge of wine. Anthony is a trial attorney and a forensic toxicologist. He is also a food and wine enthusiast and a wine collector.
Anthony lives in Downtown Los Angeles with his fiancé and his French Bulldog, Frank. In his spare time, you can find him jogging on the streets of Downtown Los Angeles with Frank, watching soccer, and touring California wineries.