söndag 9 juni 2013

PM & Vänner

We had a wedding anniversary to celebrate, and grandmother to take care of the kids - thus an opportunity to visit PM&Vänner in Växjö (which I have been looking for, for quite some time now). The journey begins with a fantastic early summer drive along road 30 passing by small villages that look just like you would imagine a typical Swedish countryside with cows and rolling green hills and small woods. Here and there a small lake, and when you reach the outskirts of Växjö a somewhat larger lake called Helgasjön. We check into the hotel (nothing fancy, but functional) and stroll down Storgatan, to the Cathedral and the actual lake Växjö where there is a really nice arranged walk around the lake. Sunshine and 24 degrees, lovely. On the way back I walk into PM to have brief chat with the sommelier about wine choices. We had already decided on the " Skog Äng Sjö"large tasting menu. PM has a great wine list, probably the "best" in northern Europe (Operakällaren is most probably equally well furnished). The selection covers about 170 pages, and with many bottles I would (almost) kill to drink. The choice was not easy. After some 15-20 minutes with the new Head Sommelier Ruben it was actually not difficult, he made informed and very tempting suggestions to each course so we decided on the matching wine tasting package (something I rarely do). Went back to the hotel for a quick shower and change of clothes, we walked back to PM with high expectations.

We were very nicely greeted and shown to our table, I will not bore you with all details, and here are the high lights:
Asparagus with 1998 Alzinger Steinertal Riesling Smaragd
Perfectly mature Austrian Riesling that totally matched the asparagus

Pork terrine and whitefish with 2003 M. Deiss Mambourg Alsace Grand Cru
Again, a great wine with utterly nice development (no problem with the warm year 2003).
A remainder to drink more wines from M. Deiss!

Perch, crayfish butter with 2008 Kistler Les Noisetiers Sonoma

Ahh - the combo of the crayfish butter and the full, but very well balanced wine from Kistler was just to die for.

1st serving of lamb with 2006 Gevrey-Chambertin, 1er Cru, Domaine Fourrier

The back of the lamb was served with a green herb sauce (Spanish chervil) just melted. The wine was good, but (in my opinion) the only wine this night that was not perfectly developed. It was still a bit one dimensional and "tight". It did open up a bit with air, but could probably benefit from a couple of years in the cellar. Very good anyway.

2nd serving of lamb with 1989 Talbot, Saint-Julien
We had discussed a Bordeaux with this course, and I had mentioned that perhaps a Saint-Julien would be well-suited - and it was! The wine was showing perfect maturity with loads of secondary aromas and still a good fruit core. The lamb was really great too!
Cheeses with 2007 Clos Naudin, Vouvray
Five really mature cheeses spanning from medium weight goat to a full and (maybe too) salty red rind cheese is a challenge for any wine, but this dry Chenin worked nicely.

Then two smaller desserts based on milk from a local cow: Calf dance and PM Single Cow Milk Cheese 2.0. Both tasted great, no wines.

Finally, rhubarb-pie and 2006 Tschida Angerhof BA from Seewinkel, Neusiedlersee
The pie was actually rhubarb compote with a cover of a thin oat and fennel-seed cake, innovative and tasty. The fennel-seeds taste a bit of liquorice or anise; again difficult to match with wine. The Tschida BA worked really well - providing just the right balance of sweetness and acidity. Great wine too!

After almost five hours of extraordinary food & wine served and presented absolutely impeccably by Ruben, it was time to slowly walk back to the hotel in the warm summer night. A fantastic way to celebrate an anniversary and PM is most definitely worth a journey.

PS. Two minor remarks: the size of some portions is small, or even extra small. The good side is that you do not end up overly full and satisfied, the downside is that with each course there is a glass of delicious wine... the wine tends to "get you" a bit. I would gently suggest slightly larger portions. The other remark is the bill, it ends up north of 6000 SEK for two. Not unreasonable for the extraordinary quality of food, wine and service - but you should be prepared. And it will take some time to gather the necessary funds for our next visit. DS

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