Sunday, August 22, 2010

SomSmack! (aka The Event Formerly Known as Sommelier Smackdown!)

Another month, another Smackdown...
Chef Paul bailed on us this month, with Chef Anne Moynihan from Tryst taking over. Paul always jokes about how Anne does all the work anyway, and this was a really delicious menu so I can't complain...
The sommeliers this month were returning champion Todd Lipman from Bin 26 and challenger Jen Fields from Toro.
Things started off with Peach and Prosciutto Bruschetta with Local Stracciatella Cheese. The bread was nice and charred (just how I like it), the cheese was fantastic, and the bright basil accent tied everything together. This was a great way to start the night, and would be easy to duplicate at home.
Both sommeliers gave us bubbles with this course. Todd went with a Chateau Moncontour Vouvray, and Jen gave us a totally awesome Mionetto Sergio Rose. The Vouvray was nice and was a pretty good pairing, but I thought Jen's choice was perfect with the dish. I love how it accented the fruitiness of the peach. Jen got my vote on this course and Todd got Joe's. A slim majority sided with me, so Jen took this course 13 - 9.
Next up was a dish of Corn Tortelloni with Corn Milk, Melted Leeks, and Edamame. I am a bit obsessed with corn, so this was a perfect dish for me. I loved the creaminess of the filling and the sauce, the sweetness of the corn, and the perfectly cooked pasta. Yummy!
Todd gave us a spectacular Riesling (a Selbach-Oster 2007 Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken, to be exact) and Jen gave us a nice Pinot Gris (which we'd seen before). The Riesling totally rocked my world and (in my opinion) was the perfect pairing. Joe agreed with me, but this course actually was a tie, 11 - 11.
The third course was a Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Tasso Polenta and Peach Barbecue Sauce. The pork was perfectly cooked, and the polenta was fantastic. I love arugula, too, so the light salad of arugula and red onion was a nice accent.
Todd gave us a Tres Picos Grenacha for this course, while Jen gave us a totally fantastic Ridge 2006 Lytton Springs Zinfandel. Joe and I were both incredibly impressed by the Zin as a wine, but we had to throw our votes to Todd because that pairing was absolutely perfect. A slight majority agreed with us, and Todd took this course 14 - 8.
Finally there was a dessert of Flourless Chocolate Cake with Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. This was both amazing (the cake) and mediocre (the ice cream). I wasn't a big fan of the ice cream, and it also made this pretty much an impossible pairing. The cake was fantastic, though, and I think the sommeliers mostly focused on that.
Todd gave us a decent Madeira that was pretty good with the cake, while Jen gave us a totally kick-ass Sherry. We thought the sherry was perfect with the cake (and we actually each ended up taking home a bottle), so Jen got our votes... but the crowd was split on this course 11 - 11.
That means that, once again, Todd is our champion and will be back again next month. Another fun night with great food and tasty wines. The Riesling, Zin, and Sherry were all wines that I was really happy to learn about, too. Any Smackdown where I come away having discovered a few great new wines is a successful Smackdown in my book...

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