Mas­ter Som­me­lier Vir­ginia Philip

Yachts International - - Cellar & Galley - Vir­giniaphilip­wineshopacademy.com

Chef Ben starts us with a tra­di­tional spring soup of leek, potato and smoked ba­con. Such myr­iad in­gre­di­ents can make wine pair­ing tricky. The Château Ta­nunda Grand Barossa dry ries­ling, Barossa Val­ley, Aus­tralia, 2013, draws from the Barossa re­gion’s Ger­manic his­tory. Syn­ony­mous with shi­raz, Barossa is turn­ing heads for its ex­cep­tional ries­ling. This bot­tle is re­fresh­ing and dry, with all the del­i­cacy, el­e­gance and fi­nesse of this noble va­ri­ety. Some 40 per­cent of the grapes come from old vines planted on the Château Ta­nunda Es­tate in the 1920s. The crisp acid­ity of this grape cuts through the rich­ness of the potato, yet the min­eral can take on the salti­ness of the ba­con.

The se­cond course of pan-seared scal­lop, pork belly, and car­rot and ginger purée calls for a full-bod­ied wine to take on the scal­lop: Sum­mers Es­tate Re­serve chardon­nay, Alexan­der Val­ley, Cal­i­for­nia, 2012. This chardon­nay is pro­duced from grapes grown at Stuhlmuller Vine­yards in Alexan­der Val­ley, bor­dered by Rus­sian River and Chalk Hill ap­pel­la­tions. Fer­mented and aged sur lie for eight months in French oak, the wine has a golden color with lovely fra­grant lay­ers of pineap­ple, pear, ap­ple and lemon cream pie. The pork belly, car­rot and ginger marry with the wine’s fin­ish, which is soft and lush with notes of nut­meg and cit­rus blos­soms.

The main course, a tapas trio of wagyu beef, ox­tail “lasagna” and cele­riac purée, re­quires a wine nei­ther too pow­er­ful nor too light. The De­hesa La Granja by Ale­jan­dro Fernán­dez, Castille and León, Spain, 2008 is up for the chal­lenge. Made from 100 per­cent old vine tem­pranillo grapes grown in the Guareña River Val­ley, this el­e­gant red is aged for 30 months in French oak and bot­tled with­out clar­i­fi­ca­tion or fil­tra­tion. The re­sult is a con­cen­trated wine that can age many years. On the nose are notes of dried black­berry, red cur­rant, ripe plum and sous bois. The palate is lush and round with fla­vors of stewed black cherry, fig, for­est mushroom, clove and a dose of damp earth on the fin­ish, which en­hances the mushroom and truf­fle foam in the dish.

For the fin­ish of fon­dant choco­late, try the Do­maine de La Tour Vieille Banyuls Rim­age, Langue­doc-Rous­sil­lon, France, 2013. This wine craves choco­late. The most south­ern ap­pel­la­tion in France, Banyuls is known for its sweet for­ti­fied wines, which are clas­si­fied as Vin Doux Na­turel (VDN). In­tense aro­mas and fla­vors of cas­sis, ripe black cherry, rasp­berry and co­coa dom­i­nate on the long, lus­cious fin­ish.

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