Master Sommelier Virginia Philip
As summer comes to an end, great chefs look for rustic, earthy and briny ingredients. Flavors, components and textures become more complex. Fish dishes are heartier, proteins are deeper red in color, and desserts are richer to the point of decadence. This Asianthemed menu is a good example of that approach and calls for wines that are just as thoughtfully considered.
The first course of maki screams for a high-quality, chilled saké. The ocean flavors will pair nicely with Rock Saké’s Junmai Daiginjo, made in Oregon. This finely milled, refreshing rice wine has notes of lychee and pear, and a hint of white peach, with briny mineral on the finish.
The main course is a Japanese specialty of shiitake-glazed wagyu sirloin. The tender, delicate flesh of this prized beef, along with the savory, sweet and earthy flavors, needs a delicate but complex red such as the Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru by Jean-ClaudeBoisset, Burgundy, France, 2007. This elegant pinot noir has just the right tannin structure, maturity, and blend of exotic spices and earth tones for the savviest foodies.
For the silky, rich and sweet dessert of duck egg vanilla bean creme brûlée, try the Château Guiraud Premier Cru Sauternes from Bordeaux, France. It is made from 65 percent semillon and 35 percent sauvignon blanc. Aromas of orange marmalade, honeysuckle and lemon curd blend with a pleasant note of botrytis and mineral. On the palate, it is rich and lusciously sweet, balanced by mouthwatering acidity. Flavors of ripe mango, macerated apricot and sweet tangerine dominate on the long, memorable finish. Approaching almost 14 years of age, this “nectar of the gods” has loads of bright fresh fruit and youth left—a fantastic finish to this meal.
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. virginiaphilipwineshopacademy.com