Bob's Cheese and Wine Blog

My world of cheese and wine

Archive for March, 2011

Anatomy of a wine dinner, part 2

Posted by fromagebob on March 28, 2011

Wine dinners are usually focused on a particular winery or winemaker’s wines. The idea is to showcase the food of a chef or restaurant in conjunction with the wine in a series of pairings that join a course with a wine. As with any pairing endeavor, the goal is to bring these two elements together, and create an experience that either transcends the original, or takes one of the components to new heights.

The basis for the pairings of wine and food often grow from a conceptual foundation; there are “rules” of pairings that guide the decision as to the foods to prepare, that – when combined with the specifics of a particular wine – present a probable dish that can be created to achieve the desired results.

In many wine dinners, though, the chef doesn’t have access to the wine itself, but only to the winemaker or the winemaker’s notes, or (at the very least) the pairings that are usual for the wine. The logistics and costs involved in supplying wines are often difficult to overcome, and the chefs often lack the time (or inclination) to go through the exercise of deciding how to modify their dish to match the wine. Ultimately, it’s the dish that has to give in, and that’s not always an achievable result.

In the case of the Figge wine dinner, it was possible to sit with several tasters, try the proposed pairings, and make suggestions back to the kitchen as to what adjustments might “adjust” the food to the wine, without sacrificing the quality of the food or compromising the chef’s vision. We also had the option of several different iterations of the wines; same vintage, but different vineyards, to further tune the experience.

The proof, as they say, will be in the “pudding…”

Read the previous entry…

Read the next entry…

Click over to our wine dinner page to check out the menu, or (better yet) to make reservations to join us!


Posted in California Wines, Wine and food pairing, Wine dinners | 2 Comments »

Anatomy of a wine dinner: part 1

Posted by fromagebob on March 21, 2011

Figge Cellars

Wine dinners are designed to give a winemaker the opportunity to showcase their wines paired with dishes prepared by a chef who wishes to showcase his or her talents. It’s not always an easy task; in many cases, the chef does not have the opportunity to try the wines in order to “tune” the dishes, relying instead on the particular style of the wine, the wine’s profile, and feedback from the winemaker as to the intended dishes.

The results are almost always interesting, sometimes with good results … and sometimes not.

The Societá Dante Alighieri of Miami, in conjunction with Por Fin restaurant and winemaker Peter Figge, are hosting a wine dinner at Por Fin restaurant on April 12th, 2011. I have had the unique opportunity to be one of the tasters, working with the wines and the chef to create pairings that really highlight the wine and the food. I’d like to share that experience with you!

Peter Figge is what I call an “accidental winemaker.” Trained as a viticulturist, Figge’s life was centered around helping growers in the Central Coast region of California grow great grapes. As with many sourcing vineyards, the families that Figge worked with had high hopes. But one of the difficulties of becoming a source for grapes is that without a track record, it’s hard to command attention, much less premium prices.

One of the vineyards asked Figge to make wines from their grapes, in order to “put them on the map” of premium vineyards. His first reaction was caution; his métier was growing the best grapes for others to use, but after some pressure from the family, he decided to give it a shot, and in 2004, using begged, borrowed, and rented equipment, started making wines. He’s still a grower at hard, but as you will see when you taste his wines, his artistry has encompassed a whole new dimension!

Read the 2nd part…

Click over to our wine dinner page to check out the menu, or (better yet) to make reservations to join us!



Posted in California Wines, Wine, Wine and food pairing, Wine dinners | 2 Comments »