The Somm Journal

Dec 2015-Jan 2016

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Page 114 of 124

114 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2015/2016 The Pairings AMUSE and DISH 1: Dish-pickled golden beet on a sesame leaf, lemon aioli; grilled octopus with roasted grapes, chickpeas and ginger scallion vinaigrette. WINE 1: Bérêche et Fils "Reflet d'Antan" NV Brut Champagne THE RARE WINE COMPANY (AND OTHERS) "You need acid and weight in a wine to work with octopus," Arnold says of what drove this choice. The gritty nutty chick- peas and the Asian glaze sweetness were complemented by the oxidation in the wine. This Champagne, made in a unique solera method, blending four different vintages, has that moderate oxidative element along with flavors of ginger skin, spice, nutmeg and hazelnut. The rich texture worked with the chew- iness of the octopus and the underripe grapes. The acid picked up the freshness in the scallions and cleansed the palate. The bubbles were also a delight with the amuse of sweet golden beets with lemon aioli, cutting through the richness with its dryness: The Reflet weighs in at as little as six grams/liter of residual sugar. DISH 2: Heirloom tomato, raw wax bean, cucumber, watermelon and fresh ricotta WINE 2: Casa d'Ambra 2014 Biancolella, Ischia, Italy OMNIWINES DISTRIBUTING/TOSCO WINES Arnold's first love is Italian wine which inspired this white wine pick Ischia, an island off the western coast of Campania. The indigenous Biancolella, likely Greek in origin, is straw yellow in color with wisps of green and juicy flavors of tropical fruit, melon. The low alcohol level (under 11%) makes it a great starting wine, pairing exceptionally well with the acidity of the tomatoes and the creaminess of the ricotta, "letting the food show through," says Arnold. The bitter almond-like finish wipes the pal- ate clean, ready for the next bite. DISH 3: Trout escabeche, Illinois corn, Nebrodini mushroom, almonds and basil WINE 3: Domaine Huet 2011 Vouvray "Le Mont" Sec THE RARE WINE COMPANY (AND OTHERS) Playing off the trout, Arnold chooses to rethink his first inclination and reach for the Chenin Blanc over the Rosé. A big fan of the Loire Valley, Arnold adores this dry 100% Chenin Blanc in a sec style. The wine's texture and the "wooly" earth components stand up to the skin on this trout. There's an overripe tropical fruit sensation and a weighty texture which brings focus to the spicy basil and the earthy mushrooms in the dish. The sweet corn component takes on the acidity of the wine openly. DISH 4: Pork belly with corn bread, jicama and blue cheese WINE 4: Prager 2007 Riesling Smaragd Wachstum Bodenstein WINEBOW This premier wine from the Wachau is crafted by acclaimed Tony Bodenstein in the far reaches of Austria. This Smaragd is made of grapes picked a bit later yielding more mature flavors for a rich developed Riesling. The meaty oiliness of the pork belly along with mild sweet- ness of the corn bread and the crunchy jicama shines with a sip of this beauty. "This was a pairing I was fantasizing over," Arnold says about his prep. "It's a classic." Although he was briefly thrown off by the blue cheese, the rich meaty Southern- inspired dish is a win-win with this wine. Somm Da�e with a

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