French Wine Dinner

Last night was a wonderful start to Valentines week at the French Wine Dinner at The Depot ( in Auburn, Alabama.

One of my favorite things about this restaurant is that the building has an incredible amount of historic charm. Located in the heart of downtown Auburn, bordering the railroad tracks, the original train depot was built in 1847. The current owners renovated the entire building a few years back, and the results are amazing. I love all the decorative details; from the massively impressive chandelier in the main dining room, to the smaller details like the host stand being made entirely of suitcases stacked on top of one another.

We started our night off in the bar having cocktails. I started with the ‘Parasol’ and thoroughly enjoyed it. Anything with St. Germain and Veuve and I’m sold!

As the building started to fill up, we grabbed a table with friends in the main dining room. We were served hors d’oeuvres, which consisted of a yummy vegetarian French onion soup, and something new for me, escargot. I really enjoyed the first wine paring, a Jacques Pelvas Brut Rosé. I love most rosés, and this did not disappoint. This wine was also paired with the first course, a salmon tartar, which was also a new food experience for me. The wine pairing was perfection, and the traditional food preparations were a nice balance to start out the dinner.

The second course was a Barramundi Meuniére. Executive Chef Scott Simpson described this as a fish from the Red Sea that was cooked in a simple traditional French method that consists of a simple sauce with lemon, butter, and parsley. I do not eat a lot of seafood. I was delighted to try another new type of fish, and I really enjoyed the Barramundi. The wine pairing for this course was a 2015 Henry Natter, Sancerre. This was my absolute favorite wine of the night. They could have left the bottle at the table! It was a crisp, light and overall delightful wine. It paired wonderfully with the Barramundi.

For the third and fourth course we moved into the red wines. The third course was a veal and mushroom ragout paired with a 2015 Louis Latour, Santeney Cote de Beaune. The fourth course was a Boeuf a la Bourguignonne, which was prime beef and smoked bacon that had been simmered in the red wine. This was served with a brie and truffle Duchesse potatoes. I think our whole table agreed that we all could have eaten our  weight in the potatoes. The sauce on the prime beef had a delicious smokey, tanginess to it, which I thought paired wonderfully with the 2015 Chateau La Case Bellevue St. Emilion.

The final course, and what was the most memorable course to me, was yet another new experience, Floating Egg White Islands on Vanilla Creme or “Oeufs a la Neige”. I was very apprehensive about eggs and the crumbles of blue cheese, but it was pure deliciousness and genius. It did not have any semblance of egg to me, and the blue cheese was fit nicely into the palate of the dish. It was more like a fluffy cloud confection. This was paired with a slightly sweeter Sauternes, a 2013 Chateau Lions De Suduiraut. For me, a Sauternes is not a wine that I would drink on a regular basis, but it’s purpose here as a dessert wine worked marvelously.

The French Wine Dinner was a great way to start Valentine’s week. The combined efforts of the chef, sommelier, and service staff made the evening a delightful experience. I appreciated the chef’s traditional approach on all the dishes, and I was delighted to experience so many new cuisines. We cannot wait for another opportunity to dine at The Depot.

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