Mas­ter Sommelier Vir­ginia Philip

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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.

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