Master Sommelier Virginia Philip
Falling leaves, chills in the air, logs on the fireplace and heartier fare—all of it calls for wines that work alongside our natural gravitation toward vegetables, meats and pastas at this time of year. And this chef’s menu is perfect for the season.
The first course of a vegan homemade cheese platter with pickled pear, blueberry and lime coulis will pair nicely with Domaine Helfrich’s Steinklotz riesling, Alsace Grand Cru, Alsace, France, 2008. The tang of the pickled pear, and the sweet and sour component of the coulis, should work beautifully with this wine, whose minerality and bright acidity bring out the clean flavors of the pear and lime. This riesling is just rich enough to complement the vegan cheese, and its slightly off-dry flavor meshes with the other components of the dish.
The second course is spaghetti al frutti di mare (spaghetti with seafood). It should be a hit with an exceptional rosé from the Mediterranean. Domaine Ott’s Chateau Romasson, Bandol, France, 2016, is a favorite of the yachting crowd in Provence, Antibes and Saint-Tropéz. This rosé’s ripe and lean finesse complements the fullbodied texture of grenache, the softness of cinsault and, for its small contribution, the fruity roundness of syrah. The wine’s pale, pink color (tinted with gold or orange) adds ambience to its bouquet of citrus fruits and white flowers. On the palate, the immediate effect is lively and bright, revealing notes of pink grapefruit and red fruits. Once the wine has had a chance to breathe, the finish is complex and lasting.
The main course of braised short ribs with saffron risotto, roasted pumpkin with ginger, and demi-glace requires a hearty red wine. Craggy Range’s Le Sol syrah, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, 2012, is the perfect partner. This syrah is classic with deep and dark-purple hues, and aromas of sweet blackberry, plus subtle hints of bark, cocoa powder and freshly cracked black pepper. On the palate, an elegant core of black currants, dark cherries and blackberries layers with dusty, dry tannins and refreshing acidity. Each sip will hold up to the heartiness of the dish.
The dessert is a compressed pineapple carpaccio with homemade coconut ice cream and cilantro syrup. This refreshing ending will pair
well with Jorge Ordoñez & Co.’s Selección Especial Muscatel, Malaga, Spain, 2012. This late-harvest Muscatel is a rich wine with fresh notes of orange, honey, flower blossoms and exotic spices. The acidity will cut through the ice cream and marry nicely with the cilantro syrup.
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.” At The Breakers Palm Beach, Philip oversees the beverage selection of the resort’s nine restaurants and bars and 14 wine lists. She owns Virginia Philip Wine Shop & Academy in West Palm Beach. virginiaphilipwineshopacademy.com