The Zagreb-based restaurant Noel has already proven itself as one of the premier destinations for fine dining in the Croatian capital, but also beyond it. After a recent spectacular dinner organised together with the famous champagne house Runiart, they continued the practice of wine dinners, this time initiated by the agile association WOW – Women on Wine.
The tasting dinner Domaine Koquelicot was proof of the exceptional enthusiasm of Noel, but also of WOW members, to promote the domestic wine scene in the world of superior gastronomy. As wines are here regularly magnificently paired with the artistic culinary works of chef Goran Kočiš, wine was again an inspiration for the menu.
The Domaine Koquelicot winery is nestled in the Istrian town of Gračišće, but owned by spouses Jacqueline Marovac and Olivier Ertzbischoff. The combination of the truly favourable Istrian terroir and the passion and style of French tradition is a winner, proven with some exceptional wines under this label, such as their praised Chardonnay Belaigra, but also Cabernet Sauvignon Nomad etc.
Photo: Šimun Šitum
The co-owner of Noel, manager and sommelier Ivan Jug had just passed his first two degree in Athens for the highest sommelier title in the world, Master Sommelier, so we were guided through the dinner by sommelier Goran Petrić and a coordinated team, with masterpieces leaving the kitchen. While Jug was completing his first, introductory exam, and then a test for Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommelier, a very important title and the highest rank in the sommelier calling, Noel guests enjoyed the French style of wines raised and nurtured in Croatia. It is important to say that the fourth level of Court of Master Sommelier is held by only 148 people in the world!
Already with the welcome bite, we were thrilled by the Koquelicot sparkling Kontempo 2014 Blanc de Blanc, Zero Dose. The first course, a trout from Krka with spinach, green apple and dill weed, came with the Santa Chiara 2013, and with the foie gras, the Belaigra 2015. The main course was duck with a sensationally gentle egg white sphere, pumpernickel bread and saffron, consumed with a coupage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Teran from 2013, named Nomad. The desert was a millefoglie from citrus with an extra brut sparkling Luna from 2014.
The Noel crew, with sous-chef Bruno Vokal, created a delicate menu intertwined with character and once again confirmed quality to be talked about. Noel will soon host an interesting experimental olfactory dinner which will combine unexpected scents – perfume and wine, then the already sold out tasting dinner of the Krug sparkling winery and an exclusive New Year celebration with a secret programme which they say will surpass nearly anything seen so far. Judging by what was shown at the Domaine Koquelicot dinner, we have no reason to doubt that.