Los Angeles sommelier David Haskell (Le Cirque, Bin 8945) — whose Magnum event with chef Joseph Mahon at Royal/T on April 17th through April 19th will benefit the Japanese sake industry devastated by March's earthquake and tsunami — usually likes to tell a story when he does a food and wine pairing dinner.

In the past Haskell has been notoriously secretive about his pairings, only releasing his list to the public the day before an event. But here he's shared his wine picks for all 10 Magnum courses as well as a few of his descriptions of how they will work with each dish. Turn the page…

For next week's Royal/T event, Haskell set about creating a journey for the diner via each course. The first course will evoke dried apricots and the last course will bring out “that apricot even more and make it sweet to where it brings out so much more fruit in your mouth.”


  • Oysters, brown butter and lemon with Von Buhl Brut Riesling: Bad Durkheim, Germany — “The sparkling Riesling has stone fruits in it. Light apricots. With brown butter and the milkiness of the oyster, the apricot will become more pronounced. The midpalate is weighty because of the fat of the butter and the finish is long because of the oyster.”
  • Potato chip soup, ramps, cucumber and fried oysters with 2008 Batic Pinela: Sempas, Slovenia — “The cucumber settles down the fried oyster and ramp. When you eat fried food what happens in your mouth? Crunchy. So if I were to take something that's dry of a wine and put it with something crunchy, it causes a fizz in your mouth. Using a dry white wine with the soup is going to cause weight in your midpalate. And the fried oyster will cause a fizz in your back palate. I tried to make it taste [and feel] like a fried oyster chip.”
  • Fennel Royale, sea urchin, apple cloud, nori powder with 2009 Riviera Ligure di Ponente Pigato: Durin, Italy — “The uni has a caramel taste and with the apple in the dish and the light, dry fruit flavor of the wine it will actually taste like a caramel apple.”
  • Crispy tofu, sunflower seeds, cilantro, marinated vegetables, Dashi emulsion with Hitachino Nest White Ale
  • Tuna rolls with crab, jicama, mango and spicy mayonnaise with 2008 Francois Pinon Silex Chenin Blanc: Vouvray, France
  • Braised baby octopus, leek risotto, pine nuts, pancetta vinaigrette with 2009 Jean Paul-Brun Chardonnay: Beaujolais, France
  • Ocean trout, peas, mint, morels and lobster jus with 2007 G. Rescombes Villes Vignes Gamay: Brouilly, France
  • Sliders with grass-fed beef, potato chips, Bibb lettuce, chipotle aïoli with Jukusie Funabuchi Junmai Ginjo (sake): Nigata-Ken, Japan
  • Miso-cured hanger steak, creamed spinach, shitake mushroom tempura, sesame seeds, Ponzu sauce with 2007 Eric Texier LA Vaison Romaine Grenache: Côtes du Rhône, France
  • Yuzu crème brûlée, poached apricots with D. Delecheneau Domaine La Grange Rose Cab Franc, Cot: Loire, France

At the Magnum dinners, diners have a choice of either pairing with their 5-, 7- or 10-course dinner for an additional $45-$92 or by the glass at $14 each. For Tuesday the 19th, there will be a special uni menu to celebrate Haskell's birthday.

Proceeds from the three-day event and the silent auction (which features items like dinner by celeb chefs Michael Voltaggio and Walter Manzke and a butchering class by Lindy and Grundy) will go to aid the Japan Sake Brewers Association.

For reservations, call (323) 798-4648 or email magnumdh@gmail.com. The wines are available for purchase at Domaine LA in Midcity.

LA Weekly