Master Som­me­lier Vir­ginia Philip

“It has been amaz­ing to con­nect to other chefs in per­son and on so­cial me­dia to get in­spi­ra­tion,” she says, “rather than star­ing at a cup­board all day ev­ery day in your own gal­ley.”

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The first course of king prawn carpac­cio is a match for a rich, dry white made from chenin blanc. Do­maine des Bau­mard Saven­nières, Loire Val­ley, France, 2012, will do the trick. This el­e­gant white has fla­vors and aro­mas of green ap­ple, white peach and An­jou pear with mouth­wa­ter­ing acid­ity and bright min­eral on the long fin­ish. The chili in the sauce will not over­power the wine, and the wine will off­set some of the heat in the dish.

With the sa­vory main course of sous vide or­ganic beef, a hearty, rus­tic red wine is well suited. Made from 80 per­cent mer­lot and 20 per­cent caber­net franc, the Château de Parsac from Mon­tagne Saint-Emil­ion, Bordeaux, 2015, has just the right amount of tan­nin struc­ture and weight. The fla­vors and aro­mas will re­mind you of dark cherry, cas­sis and black­berry with hints of cigar, earth and for­est mush­room on the grippy fin­ish.

The dessert course of pas­sion fruit and hazel­nut tart is a real palate re­fresher with a gen­er­ous amount of sweet­ness and acid­ity to keep it in bal­ance. Try it with the ripe, lus­cious fla­vors and cool­ing sen­sa­tion of Stra­tus Vine­yards Riesling Icewine, Ni­a­gara Penin­sula, Canada, 2013. This “nec­tar of the gods” has ex­plo­sive fla­vors and aro­mas of ripe mango, hon­ey­suckle and Costa Rica pineap­ple. The fin­ish is well bal­anced and long, with pleas­ant hints of min­eral and wet stone.

Vir­ginia Philip is one of only just over 200 pro­fes­sion­als world­wide to hold the ti­tle of Master Som­me­lier. Her dis­cern­ing palate and en­cy­clo­pe­dic knowl­edge also earned her the Amer­i­can Som­me­lier As­so­ci­a­tion’s ti­tle of “Best Som­me­lier of the United...

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