09 Dec Please The Palate Pick of the Week: A Curated 5-Course Pairing Menu with LXV Wines in Paso Robles
I immediately said yes when I received a personal invitation to have lunch with Neeta and Kunal Mittal at LXV Wines in Paso Robles. Not only was it an opportunity to visit their estate vineyard in the Willow Creek District and taste the new releases of LXV Mesos Wines, but it was also an opportunity to enjoy the wines paired with a menu curated by Neeta Kunal and Chef Matthew Roberts. If there is anyone who loves to create food and wine pairings, it is Neeta. That is why a Curated 5-Course Pairing Menu with LXV Wines in Paso Robles is the Please The Palate pick of the week.
A premier Cabernet Sauvignon/Bordeaux house, LXV Wine is owned by Neeta and Kunal Mittal. Neeta and Kunal are known for their wine tasting and flavor-pairing experiences. Born in India, Neeta’s father came from the spice capital of the world and Neeta’s mother loved experimenting with flavors, both of which influenced Neeta’s life. This is reflected in the flavors and spices that are showcased in the food and wine pairing lunches and dinners they do, as well as the deconstructed spice pairings they offer in their tasting room. As Neeta explained, “I am always seeking epic creativity in the interaction of food and wine – be it visuals, flavors, textures, or interpretation.”
The lunch featured the newest releases of LXV Meso wines. The wines designated Meso in their lineup are wines that represent vineyards and AVAs of distinction. The name Meso is inspired by “mesoclimate” which is a “climate of distinction from its surrounding region’s macroclimate.” Meso wines are only released in select vintages and the newest releases are the 2019 and the 2021 LXV Meso Cabernet Sauvignon from Gateway Vineyard in Willow Creek, the 2021 LXV Meso Syrah from Bien Nacido Vineyard, the 2022 LXV Meso White Sangiovese from White Hawk Vineyard in Santa Ynez, and the 2022 LXV Meso Cabernet Franc from G2 (North) in Willow Creek, which is still in barrel.
With a passion for food and wine, Neeta is interested in understanding how to pay homage to what goes on in the kitchen. Wine has its own complexity but its purpose is to go with food. The Meso wines have been crafted exclusively for fine dining establishments. These are wines that showcase their versatility when paired with food across cuisines and styles. When it comes to pairing wine with food, Neeta likes to create pairings that might surprise. “While pairing food with wine,” she explained, “I’m always conscientious of the fact that for someone it is about the wine and for someone else it is about the food. So the interaction has to be more like a tango with some push and pull. The tenacity is what creates a memorable pairing.”
Our lunch included five creative courses created by Chef Matt Roberts, each paired with a different wine.
Beets & Quince (pomegranate, smoked hibiscus, hazelnut, calamansi, Mexican tarragon, LXV perfumed Garden spice)
Paired with LXV 2022 Blanc de Sangiovese, White Hawk Vineyard, Santa Ynez ($65)
Inspired by a white Sangiovese Neeta and Kuna first tried in Tuscany, this is one of their most popular wines. It offers stone fruit and cherry notes and is textured with enough body to stand up to flavor. And it did. The dish was earthy but also bright with citrus notes and tartness from the pomegranate. Together, the wine had body and texture but also freshness to match this dish.
Fermented Rye Risotto (candy roaster squash, cacao, sunchoke, pecorino, LXV Turkish Shores)
Paired with 2019 AND 2021 LXV Meso Cabernet Sauvignon from Gateway Vineyard in Willow Creek ($140)
Faro (instead of rye) was fermented in buttermilk for two days. It was topped with roasted squash, miso-covered sunchokes, pecorino, cacao nibs, and a quail egg. This dish was paired with two vintages of Meso Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the Gateway Vineyard in the Willow Creek District in Paso Robles. The 2019 offered notes of chocolate and dark cherries with acidity and fresh tannins whereas the 2021 has dark fruit aromas and intense tannins. The 2021 Meso Cabernet Sauvignon needs time to age but the 2019 was a beautiful pairing with the risotto. The cacao nibs brought out the chocolate notes in the wine and the fresh acidity cut through the richness of the squash and creamy texture of the risotto.
Pork Jowl Toro (smoked scallop xo, turnip, dashi, shiso, sea beans)
Paired with 2021 LXV Meso Syrah from Bien Nacido Vineyard ($140)
The cool climate Syrah has notes of dark red and black fruits, as well as spice, and bright acidity with a saline finish. The acidity cut through the fatty and delicate Pork Jowl Toro and the salinity of the sea beans enhanced the saline finish of the wine.
Juniper Smoked Duck Leg (crabapple, chestnut mushroom, pinon, lovage, duck demi)
Paired with 2022 LXV Meso Cabernet Franc from G2 (North) in Willow Creek (not yet bottled)
The barrel sample of yet-to-be-released 2022 Meso Cabernet Franc from the G2N Vineyard was young but with the duck with dehydrated crab apple, chestnut mushrooms, cacao nibs, and juniper, it shined.
Smoked Chanterelle Panna Cotta (rosemary cajeta, chanterelle powder, sea salt)
Paired with 2022 LXV Rosé of Cabernet Franc
The dessert of smoked chanterelle panna cotta was an umami dessert, not a sweet dessert. The rosemary cajeta was made from goat’s milk and the chanterelle mushrooms were smoked and dehydrated. The rosé of Cabernet Franc has the texture and body to stand on its own and the freshness of the wine cleansed the palate after each bite of the dessert.
LXV Wines loves to showcase its wines with spices and foods and offers different experiences to showcase their wines with food. The Meso wines are also available in restaurants, including In Bloom and Les Petites Canailles in Paso Robles, Ettan in Palo Alto, Gucci Osteria Beverly Hills, and Mariposa in Sedona.