2007_08_FoodTariquetChard.jpgFrance’s Gascony region has long been famous for the Three Musketeers, Armagnac and foie gras. Lately it’s becoming known for white wines as we learned at a luncheon at Orsay earlier this week. Wines from Domaine du Tariquet were paired with a menu that featured ingredients from D’Artagnan that ran the gamut from foie gras to pheasant.

Some dishes overpowered the wines, particularly an Asian duck salad with a pickled ginger component that ran roughshod over a Sauvignon Blanc. Despite that small flaw one thing is certain: Tariquet’s founder Yves Grassa turns out some wonderfully crisp whites that showcase the fruit. As the affable importer Robert Kacher told those gathered in Orsay’s second floor dining room, everyone thought Grassa was nuts when he started experimenting with whites back in the 1970s.

Unfortunately Grassa was too busy harvesting grapes in Gascony to attend, but Kacher provided a very informative lecture. Ariane Daguin, D’Artagnan’s irrepressible founder was also present and noted that Tariquet was “first to take Armagnac grapes and make white wine. They made me like white wine.”

2007_08_FoodTariqueFoieMille.jpgThe reason Grassa’s wines provide such a pure expression of fruit is that he eliminated the use of chemicals such as sulfites as a preservative by immediately chilling the grapes. But let’s not sweat the oenological details too much. Here’s a brief rundown of what was poured. The apéritif of Ugni Blanc Colombard was quite refreshing, especially since it was such a weirdly humid mid-October day. It also served as a bracing counterpoint to D’Artagnan’s swoonworthy French kisses, Armagnac-soaked prunes stuffed with foie gras mousse. Also of note was the Côté Tariquet, a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc that tasted remarkably of pink grapefruit. It was paired with the dish pictured here, a foie gras and green apple millefeuille. Lastly Tariquet’s Chardonnay had none of the overwhelming oak that all too often plagues Chardonnay these days. To bring things full circle, the meal ended with a snifter of Tariquet Bas Armagnac X.O.

Lest we forget, the other truly remarkable think about Tariquet’s wines is their price. They range from $7.99 to a whopping $12.99. At that price all Gothamist has to say is, “A votre santé.”

Orsay, 1075 Lexington Ave., 212-517-6400