Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chez Joel Bistro - Marsannay Burgundy with Authentic French Faire

Chez Joel Bistro - Marsannay Burgundy with Authentic French Faire

For the second time this summer, after a day in the city, we dined at our favorite French Bistro Chez Joël (that happens to be in the heart of Chicago's Little Italy Taylor street dining district), a family  restaurant operated by brothers, Joël and Ahmed Kazouini.

While we love the atmosphere of their elegantly quaint authentic bistro francais dining room, in the summer when weather permits we opt for their outdoor courtyard patio, a perfect setting since we had with us two of our grandkids, Lucy and Richie.

Courtyard dining at Chez Joel
For the wine selection we took advantage of their wine special offer, Domaine Silvaine Pataille Marsannay Bourgnone 2008 which proved to be a proper accompaniment to the Pâté starter and our Duck and Ahi Tuna entrees. I've already tried every Bordeaux on their thoughtfully selected wine list. For summer, and the lighter tuna and duck faire, the more delicate and approachable Pinot Noir based Burgundy is the way to go.

The Duck & Chicken Liver Pâté is always enjoyable. I had the pan seared Duck Breast & Duck Leg Confit, served with Wild Mushrooms Fricassée, Potato Galette and Cranberry Orange Sauce. It very tasty and creatively prepared. The potato galette is a signature dish however I especially like their mashed potatoes. Linda and Erin loved the Ahi tuna daily special entree served in a delicious berry sauce with pomme puree.

Sylvain Pataille makes wines exclusively from the terroirs of Marsannay-la-Côte. He runs the family owned domaine in Marsannay after studying in Bordeaux and working as a consulting oenologist since 1997. He  has been developing his own label since the 2001 vintage, dependent on rented parcels of vineyard around Marsannay, then started with one hectare and today has 10, producing 12 cuvées. His wines are found mainly in France and in the US particularly in restaurants.

Duck Breast and Leg Confit

Sylvain Pataille owns and runs the small domaine in the little known commune of Marsannay just south of Gevrey Chambertin in the Cotes de Nuits. He practices biodynamic farming, so popular in Burgundy like many of his illustrious neighbors – Domaine Leflaive, Domaine Leroy, Domaine de la Romanée Conti. This method of viticulture is thought to bring more minerality, vitality, intensity and most importantly, a sense of the individual terroir which is the essence of Burgundy wines.

Shared portion of the Ahi tuna
The property is on the road from Beaune, past Gevrey-Chambertin on the outskirts of Dijon. The region only received it’s Village AOC in 1987 – before this the wines were ‘regional’ and simply called Bourgogne or Bourgogne de Marsannay. There are no 1er Crus. Marsannay is also well known for its white and Rosé wines. While the AOC belongs to the Côte de Nuits it is not officially within the Côte de Nuits.

I regularly write in this blog about how difficult it is to find high QPR (quality to price ratio) value priced Pinot Noirs. This naturally also applies to French Burgundy wines, which of course are named for the region, whereas in the US, wines are named for the grape varietal. Chez Joël does a nice job offering a selection of moderately priced French based wines to pair with their menu.

This 2008 had a bright ruby red color, light to medium body, it presents cherry, ripe cranberry, hints of strawberry, dusty rose and leather and a whisper of vanilla, it is well balanced with soft acidity and has a nice mouth feel with a smooth lingering fine tannin finish.

RM 88 points.