Master Sommelier Virginia Philip
The starter—red-eye ceviche with mango, pineapple and avocado served on a green shiso leaf and topped with sprouting mixed peas and garlic chive sprouts—includes a bright citrus vinaigrette that is an ideal match for Jubilee Sauvignon Blanc, Alto Adige, Italy, 2015. This crisp, 100 percent sauvignon blanc is medium bodied with notes of lemon, ripe grapefruit, green apple and acacia flower. Slight notes of fresh-cut grasses with a bright crispness on the finish should bring out the herbaceous flavors of the sprouts in the dish.
The main course is a pan-roasted halibut with lightly poached white asparagus, broccoli and sun-dried tomato, all accompanied by a smoky potato puree, tomatoes, capers and a roasted red pepper butter sauce. With such a complex dish, a complementary wine would be both light bodied and bold. Try the Chamisal Vineyards Stainless Pinot Noir, Edna Valley, California, 2014. This wine is made with carbonic maceration, a technique that includes fermenting whole grapes in a carbon dioxide-rich environment before crushing them (it’s often used in France’s Beaujolais region). The resulting aromas of bing cherry, red currant, pomegranate, red plum, boysenberry, cedar, smoky mushroom, summer forest floor and sweet spice are a complex match for this multi-ingredient dish.
For the dessert of warm individual pan brioche and brandy-soaked bread and butter pudding atop an orange marmalade purée with chilled vanilla bean creme Anglaise and clotted cream ice cream, a decadent pairing would be the Château Guiraud, Sauternes, France, 2003. Remarkably ripe citrus, tropical fruit and jasmine simply jump out of the glass. This sauternes balances sweet spices, caramel and refreshing orchard fruits, all within a fine texture. The orange marmalade should shine in this pairing.
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 States.’ She owns Virginia Philip Wine Shop & Academy in West Palm Beach.