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Copyright © 2018
Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for November 10, 2000


Winery of the Week

Food and Wine by the Best...
James Beard and Joel Butler


James Beard

James Beard preparing Squab in Nests with Mrs. McMillin at left.

December 7, 1965—The grand gourmand of America, James Beard, stepped out of his Greenwich Village town house and into a black Oldsmobile. The driver whisked him off to his cooking demonstration in New Jersey. I got to talk alone with James Beard for 45 minutes, since I was the driver.

Meanwhile, Back In The Kitchen

As we rolled through the Lincoln Tunnel, my wife was cooking the crepes and other components he would use in the program, since she was his sole assistant. Another hour and the food was on the stage and Mr. Beard was preparing his delicacies.

Now, we didn't have time to talk wine selections to pair with the dishes; if we had, Beaulieu would have been included, since it was one of very few California wineries making table wines of stature in 1965.

Sudden Thought!

Today, Beaulieu public relations is handled by one of America's few Masters of Wine, Joel Butler. Why not have him match today's Beaulieu wines with Beard's 1965 recipes? He did, and here are the pairings.

    Crabmeat Charentais
    Charentais? It's Cognac from the Charente region, which is a bit more aggressive than some of the more mellow Cognacs of rival regions. As for the dish, there's crab meat, white wine, green onions, etc. The final step is to flame it with 1/3 cup of a Charente Cognac. Joel's Wine: 1998 BV Carneros Chardonnay, $16.

    Chicken with Cognac
    Chicken cut for frying, mushrooms, cream, butter, cognac. Joel's Wine: 1997 BV Merlot, Napa Valley, $16.

    Steak au Poivre
    Press coarse black pepper into porterhouse steak, sear quickly on both sides in a little butter, etc. Joel's Wine: 1997 BV Napa Valley Zinfandel, $14.

    Crepes Suzette
    In a skillet warm orange cordial, orange juice and butter. Add crepes folded in quarters, etc. Joel's Wine: Muscat de Beaulieu, $11 (375ml.).

Postscript —Only for Crepe Aficionados

Let me quote from a column my wife wrote for our weekly food and wine column in Tehran, Iran. Her very first of eight years of lessons from James Beard was devoted to the many uses of crepes..."The best-known crepe dessert is the Crepe Suzette, created many years ago by the then-apprentice chef Henri Carpentier. Edward, Prince of Wales, visited Monte Carlo and was so impressed by the new dish that it was named after one of the ladies in his party. Later, he retired to Manhattan Beach, California and did home demonstrations. My future husband was planning to attend when he was transferred to Texas and met me, who didn't even own a crepe pan!"


About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.



This page created November 2000