Master Sommelier Virginia Philip
As we wring out the last weeks of summer, our palates crave crisp, clean whites, dry rosés and lighter reds. I refer to these wines as “poolside sippers,” and they’re also ideal for this month’s menu.
Goat cheese and courgette cannoli, nut bon bon, caramelized fig and clarified gazpacho jelly is a light and unique dish. Lucien Crochet’s 2016 Sancerre from the Loire Valley in France has a beautiful acidity that complements the food’s caramelized notes. This crisp, 100 percent sauvignon blanc wine is medium-bodied with notes of lemon, ripe grapefruit, green apple and acacia flower. There are slight notes of cut grasses with a bright minerality on the finish that brings out the summer flavors in the dish.
The char-grilled octopus, citrus-marinated beetroot and asparagus extra-virgin caviar with slow-braised, black-and-white Catalan cassoulet is a flavorful and substantial dish. Tinto Pesquera’s 2012 Reserva from Ribera del Duero, Spain, has enough weight to match the flavors and textures. This 100 percent tempranillo wine is aged 24 months in American oak barrels and 12 months in the bottle. It has a deep, elegant nose with intense notes of black cherry and red plum, and a touch of well-integrated oak. On the palate, wellrounded tannins and a perfectly integrated acidity frame the plum, currant, red fruit, toasted wood and anise flavors. The strong flavors of char-grilled octopus will work with the wine’s toasted wood and red fruit flavors, and the elegant tannins will balance the caviar’s saltiness. The wine’s fresh acidity will match the citrus marinade, and the overall bold fruit and toasted wood flavors will enhance the slow-braised black and white Catalan cassoulet.
For the dessert of millionaire’s shortbread, banoffee banana crumble and bitter orange sorbet, try Bisol’s Crede prosecco Valdobbiadenne from Lombardy, Italy—and add a 1-ounce pour of Cointreau. The refreshing combination will work well with the dish’s orange and banana notes, ending the night on a lighter note.
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