Chicken Gaston Gérard

Yet another kitchen disaster made good in the name of invention. The recipe was created in 1930 by the wife of the Deputy Mayor of Dijon, Gaston Gérard. She was cooking for an esteemed guest, Maurice Edmond Sailland, AKA Curnonsky, a celebrated food writer dubbed The Prince of Gastronomy. Gravity intervened and she accidentally dumped a load of paprika into the chicken dish Madame Gérard was cooking. To rectify it she added crème fraiche, white wine and a dollop of mustard. Curnonsky loved it, and he named the dish after his host. It is now a Dijon classic.

Suggested Pairing: While Chardonnay and our Hildegard Estate White share similar traits, Hildegard has a more expressive fruit character and crispness that makes it incredibly food compatible. Its velvety mouthfeel and bright citrus notes are a heavenly pair with creamy, rich chicken dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 3 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/4 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup Crème Fraiche (or sour cream if creme fraiche is unavailable)
  • 3/4 cup grated Comté or Gruyère cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (optional), leaves removed and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp dry breadcrumbs

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces. Heat oil & butter in skillet until butter is sizzling and frothy. Brown the chicken breasts; about 3-4 minutes each side.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish and then place in the oven to finish cooking, about 10-15 minutes. 
  4. In the same skillet, sauté the shallot until golden then add white wine, simmering until wine is reduced by about half. Lower the heat and add to it the creme fraiche, mustard, thyme and paprika and let simmer a few minutes more.
  5. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with grated cheese then top with breadcrumbs.
  6. Return to oven to warm chicken and melt cheese.
  7. Serve immediately with a baguette (or wild rice), mixed green salad and a glass of Hildegard.

Knox Clendenen: Harvest 2023 Recap

An Update from CO-OWNER, Knox

Knox sits smiling in a barrel of grape vines after harvesting the fruit.

Good morning, afternoon, or evening to you dear reader. I have been let into the insulated and cool sanctuary that is the office to regale you with how our harvest is going so far. Contrary to last year, 2023 has been at a steady pace. In February and March, we had a profusion of rain, which provided much needed vigor to the vines. For most of late August and early September, the overcast weather caused the vines to take their time ripening the clusters. Our first arrival, Pinot Gris, came in on September 6th and since then we have picked Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. The vineyards have provided an abundance of grapes with splendid quality. The acidity is high while also reaching necessary sugar levels. I believe this will harmonize perfectly with our use of French oak, creating a balanced and restrained wine with limitless aging potential. Though it is already October, we have a long way ahead of us. The labor is intense, however we have smiles on our faces, and more importantly, an influx of caffeine coursing through our veins. We shall keep marching on and when harvest is over, champagne will be drunk, and many a siesta will be had.

Everything Signals a Good Harvest

Keeping an eye on harvest 2023

Grapes send clear signals throughout their growing cycle, so far, all of the signals have been strong.

The cold and wet winter was a clear signal to take a break and shut down.  Vines need at least 6 weeks of dormancy, which was not a problem this year. The cool early summer has allowed the grapes an easy start to their growing cycle. With average daily temps now hitting 85 degrees the vines and grapes have been signaled to grow. These warm days with our foggy mornings are perfect conditions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

After many years, our winemaker Jim Adelman can walk the vineyards and pretty accurately predict the yields. His take on the coming harvest is Pinot Noir will be above average in yields while Chardonnay will be a bit below average.

One of the benefits of making wine, is that it never gets dull. Every harvest is a bit different. The 2022 harvest presented lots of challenges for our wine making team. Let’s hope 2023 is a bit easier on them!

Pinot Noir grapes at Bien Nacido Vineyard on Aug 4th going through veraison. Netting is used to keep the birds at bay. Harvest will be delayed a few weeks this vintage, but everything is looking good!