story by Bryan Holt
Helping a person pair an amazing dinner with the perfect bottle of wine is something anyone in the wine industry loves to do. There is a certain sense of pride and fulfillment of the ego that comes with the territory. Planning for a couple of people or even a supper club is a pretty easy task if you know a little bit about wine. Planning for about 300 people is a different animal in its own right. It can be a very overwhelming task, dealing with twelve different chefs/cooks who want to showcase their talents, but are not necessarily worried about the wines can make it a little daunting.
This is Micky Finn’s second year of being a sponsor for the Sip and Stroll that’s held downtown Florence in April. One of our responsibilities is helping the board come up with the wine pairings with each dish provided at each stop. Typically when pairing a wine with a food dish you can always go with the standard, red meat with red wine and white meat with white wine. The last few decades have seen wine experts deviating from this philosophy and beginning to pair white meats with red wine and red meats with white wines. Think of BBQ chicken with a Rioja (Spanish red wine) and ribeye steak with a Bandol or Tavel (both French rosés). Or you can always do what my parents have done since forever…Riesling goes with anything since that’s all they really drink.
I’m always looking forward to the day when I get the first email with the menu for that night. I know it’s going to be a risk. Are they going to use something that is a standard menu item? Are they going to go with something new that no one has ever tried? Is it going to be something that I’ve had before? This year was actually not that difficult. A few dishes had me stumped and a few others were questionable, but after a few phone calls and some Hail Mary’s, I think that I have it planned pretty well. I won’t break down every table that will be out there, but I would like to describe a few of them and discuss how I came up with the pairings. Hopefully, it’ll show you that not everything is simply red and red and white and white.
The awesome staff at Bird’s Nest are making Hamburger sliders featured at the Hyatt Place. I wanted to showcase some new wines we will be carrying soon at Micky Finn’s, Gehricke Wines. They have an awesome Cabernet Sauvignon from the Knight’s Valley, an American Viticultural Area (AVA) located in Sonoma County, California, which will pair nicely with these sliders. Also, we will have their Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This will be the only station that has three wines, so you don’t want to miss this one.
Over at O’Harra Mellette Interiors, we will have some pulled pork BBQ sliders prepared by Wholly Smokin’ Downtown. The two wines I love to pair with pulled pork BBQ are St Cosme Cote du Rhone red and Chateau Trinquevedel Rosé (I know right). Typically, Syrah and pork go great together. The Syrah doesn’t have too high of an alcohol content to make the spice stand out and you can never go wrong with a Rosé for a BBQ or, in general, any outside gathering. Rosé, like Champagne, is a versatile wine and can handle basically any food you throw at it.
At Mainstream Boutique we will have Victor’s She Crab shooters served with fresh shrimp. This one wasn’t extremely difficult. I just had to find a good white to hold up with the body of a She Crab soup. The white I chose is Willm Pinot Gris. This wine came down to two basic thoughts. First, this is an amazing wine that has so much balance to hold up to the heartiness the soup brings. Second, I didn’t have any Pinot Grigio for the whole event. So…it wins by default. The red is an amazing Italian red wine called Amicone Rosso Venento. This wine is made from the same grapes they use for Amarone, Corvina. The result is an easy drinking, full-bodied red that has lots of rich soft, smooth texture.
So, here are just three of the twelve tables that will be showcased Downtown Florence on April 12th, 2019. I hope that you enjoy the pairings and I hope to see you all out there.
Bryan and Walter Bressia, one of the pioneers of wine in Argentina.
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