Master Sommelier Virginia Philip
Chef Kuppens’ menu is tricky, to say the least, with some unusual ingredients. I’ve paired the first course of spiny lobster poached in smoked butter with Jordanov’s Tikveš Rkaciteli, Macedonia Republic, 2014—a crisp white that’s a bit esoteric, but truly amazing. Made from the rkatciteli grape, the wine has bright acidity to balance the richness of the lobster and smoked butter.
The savory duck skin cracklings deserve a 2015 Painted Wolf “The Den” chenin blanc from South Africa. This offdry chenin blanc marries perfectly with the honey and balances out the intensity of the heat of the Antiguan hot sauce.
For the wild hare fillet entree, let’s go with a wine that brings a variety of flavor components to match all the ingredients in the dish. The 2011 Massaya “Silver Selection” red blend from Lebanon is a brilliant play here. Intense, gamey dishes crave a robust red with complexity and earthiness, and this full-bodied, dry red—a blend of 40 percent grenache noir, 30 percent cinsault, 15 percent cabernet sauvignon and 15 percent mourvèdre—delivers flavors of black truffle and red berry fruits to complement the hare jus and cigar oil.
With a kaleidoscope of flavors, the poppy-seed mousse and cranberry crumble dessert needs a 2014 Conte Vistarino “Costiolo” Sangue di Giuda Dolce. Sangue di Giuda, which translates to “Blood of Judas,” is a blend of croatina, uva rara and barbera. This slightly fizzy, semisweet red wine has all the flavor, components and textures to complement the delectable finale.