Chateau La Nerthe and L’Olivier

Living in Houston definitely has its perks… awesome people, incredible arts (all kinds)  and world-class restaurants, to name a few things I love about my city.

Back in June, I was treated by Pasternak Wine Imports, who imports some very delicious wines, to a meal with several other bloggers at one of those amazing restaurants,  L’Olivier Restaurant & Bar, paired with Chateau La Nerthe wines.  We all also had the opportunity to chat with Export Manager Christophe Brasil. And what a night of wine, food and conversation it was!

This was my first time to experience L’Olivier, the joint venture between Olivier Ciesielski, who, among other culinary accomplishments, spent  more than a decade as the executive chef at Houston’s legendary Tony’s, and Mary Clarkson.

I was eager to see what would be on the menu and taste the wines which I knew would be extraordinary. I was far from disappointed.

I was greeted with a glass of  Prieure de Montezargues Tavel Rose 2011,  a blend of Grenaches, Cinsault  Clairette, Syrah, Mouvedre, Carignan and Bourboulence which has just been released. It was refreshing and crisp, with a full body and notes of grapefruit, raspberry and a bit of peach. I loved the lingering finish.

Once it was time for dinner, we all took our seats and were met with our first course:

The tropical ceviche of scallops, white fish, pineapple and shrimp was light and yet flavorful, and was well matched by the Chateau La Nerth Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc. The wine was high in acid, and the combination whetted my appetite for what was to come. As you can see here, we were all mesmerized by the effects from the dry ice that was under our bowls of ceviche:

And L’Olivier’s Olivier Ciesielski, Sommelier James Watkins and the wines of Chateau La Nerthe continued to impress from there:

We had this scallop…

with this…

The Chateau La Nerth Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Clos de Beauvenir 2009, a blend of Roussanne and Clairette, was served with the scallop, and was delightfully aromatic and full bodied.

And then this amazing pork tenderloin, haricots verts (See I did take French in high school.)  and some kind of amazing potato cheese pastry…

 with these two big, bold reds…

The Domaine de La Renjarde Cotes du Rhone Villages 2009, a blend of Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan and Mourvedre was a  bold, complex wine with rich black fruit flavors and a long, luscious finish. La Petite Fontaine Cotes du Rhone 2010, a blend of Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan, was similar, yet had amazing spice and just the right amount of tannins for my palate (just enough to let you know they are there without overpowering the fruit). I could have enjoyed either of those all night, but my favor was for La Petite Fontaine Cotes du Rhone 2010. I like a little spice in life. But there was more wine to be poured…

The last two wines of the evening, the Chateau La Nerth Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2007 and the  Chateau La Nerth Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge Cuvee des Cadettes 2005, were served with a roquefort cheese terrine, with figs and apricots and fruit macerated in the Cuvee des Cadettes. At this point, I was very much in heaven and very thankful to have invited my husband to drink lightly so he could drive us home.  I enjoyed both wines, but the Cuvee des Cadettes was especially silky smooth, with deep flavors.

Everything about this meal was exquisite, from the impressive and yet still comfortable decor, to the easy-going attitude of our super-knowledgeable hosts, to the perfectly crafted and served wines, to each course designed down to the smallest detail. Nothing was overlooked. James, who I could tell places a great importance on appropriate wine service, decanted many of the wines two hours prior to our dinner so they would really shine.

If you are in Houston, I strongly recommend you make a point to visit L’Olivier for lunch, dinner or brunch soon… before everyone else discovers it and you can no longer get a reservation. Yes, it is that exquisite.

And if you are in Houston or not, consider any if these wines when you are looking for something that is definitely a cut above. If you are like me, you will be delighted.


L’Olivier Restaurant & Bar

240 Westheimer Rd.

Houston, TX 77006


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