The Somm Set by Benchmark Wine Group


Welcome to The Somm Set. Each month we’ll be sitting down with a guest sommelier and uncovering their guilty pleasures, cellar staples, and everything in between! Follow as they hand-select their favorites from our warehouse, giving you the inside scoop on cellar must-haves!

This month on The Somm Set, we’re excited to feature Chris Blanchard, Master Sommelier. Join us as we explore everything from his love of Syrah to his passion for the perfect musical wine pairings.

Vine Hill Ranch
Truffle & Wine Pairings
La Toque 39th Annual Truffle Fest
For The Love Of Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Read Our Interview With Chris Blanchard
The Somm Set Home

This week from Chris Blanchard:

When I think of wine pairing with black truffles, just four things come to mind, Nebbiolo, Red Burgundy, White Burgundy, and Champagne.

Depending on the course, one of these wines will work wonderfully, but if I were selecting wine for Ken Frank’s truffle menu, I would probably choose a white and a red. In this case, starting with a Champagne perhaps or white Burgundy, which would be otherworldly when tasted alongside the truffle egg & brioche, or the truffle grilled cheese or any of the courses on the La Toque menu. In fact, how fun would it be to do a tasting of both white and red wines for each course to see what might be the better combination?

Here are a few Champagne and white Burgundy selections I would recommend:

Gosset Brut Grand Millesime 2012 ~ 36 @ $88

Jacques Lassaigne Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature Millesime 2009 ~ 13 @ $115 

 - A little known producer from an incredible vineyard site. Composed of mostly Chardonnay and with more than 10 years of age, this would be an amazing pairing, especially at this price!

Vilmart Brut Coeur de Cuvee 2012 ~ 12 @ $149 

- Delicious 80% Chardonnay Champagne with age from this well-regarded grower-producer

Caroline Parent Meursault 2014 ~ 26 @ $77

- Meursault is always so delicious, roasted nuts, brown butter, and rich texture at a great price for a wine with age.

Paul Pillot Chassagne Montrachet Clos St. Jean 2017 ~ 12 @ $114 BH90-92

Dominique Lafon Bourgogne Blanc 2018 ~ 12 @ $35 CT90

-  The legendary Lafon makes this entry-level Burgundy seem like a 1er cru for an incredible bargain!

Dishes like Ken's King Salmon in duck fat or porcini tortellini with mushroom sauce and beef Wellington with truffled potatoes are absolutely the perfect pairing with a red Burgundy or an aged Barolo or Barbaresco.  The combination of the earthy, heady aromas of black truffle and the forest floor, earthy, mushroom, and structure of the Nebbiolo or Pinot Noir is the stuff dreams are made of.  

Here’s some Nebbiolo that I would buy from the secret inventory of BWG's hidden gems:

Marcarini Barolo La Morra 2016 ~ 22 @ $45 JS95

 - The 2016 vintage is an outstanding year, and this classic producer is such a great value.

Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto di Serralunga d`Alba 2016 ~ 15 @ $199 D94

-  Hard to go wrong with one of the royal producers of Barolo, from the Serralunga d'Alba township of Barolo 

Domenico Clerico Barolo Pajana 2009 ~ 11 @ $85 JS95, RP94

-  Here's another screaming deal in the Benchmark inventory, from the heralded 2009 vintage and the stellar Pajana cru.

Roberto Voerzio Barolo Brunate 1997 ~ 12 @ $261 WA92

- In my opinion, one of the greatest wines of the last 25 years from a more modern style producer.  The 1997 put Voerzio on the world map, and his expression of one of the great crus in Barolo is unparalleled. 



Check out this great Red Burgundy: 

Patrice Rion Vougeot Les Cras 2015 ~ 25 @ $100 BH90-92

Caroline Parent Pommard Les Epenots 2009 ~ 21 @ $160

- Pommard with more than 10 years of age from the Les Epenots 1er Cru vineyard

Robert Chevillon Nuits St. Georges Les Vaucrains 2007 ~ 18 @ $177 BH91-93

-  I'm really loving the 2007 vintage, especially from Chevillon.  Truly a captivating bottle with age, structure, and complexity

Domaine Raphet Charmes Chambertin (Cuvee Unique/Vieilles Vignes) 2017 ~ 12 @ $169 BH90-92

- An incredible producer known for finesse and power, this old vine bottling of a portion of the Charmes Chambertin vineyard would be such a surreal pairing with these black truffle dishes.

Patrice Rion Nuits St. Georges Clos des Argillieres 2002 ~ 15 @ $124 CT90

Check out all the wines mentioned below!


Benchmark Wine Group

445 Devlin Road
Napa, CA 94558

Phone: 707.255.3500
Fax: 707.255.3503
SMS: 707.200.4049


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