Our restaurant is open for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. It is on these nights when I get to recommend, serve and sell wine as well as pair it with certain dishes.
Tonight, I chose wines that were off the beaten path in honor of my continuing wine education as sommelier in a small town. Just because we are located in eastern North Carolina doesn’t mean we should have to conform to the norm and drink standard stuff. No, in fact, our wine list reaches for the opposite of standard…it strives to intrigue and impress as well as educate.
Tonight started with a sparkling Pinot Noir Rose from Burgenland, Austria. The producer is Weingut Michlits, and the wine has flavors of strawberries and roses with a hint of barnyard in the background. It is pleasantly refreshing yet very deep and assertive. I found it to be a perfect accompaniment to the Oysters Rockefeller.
Esoteric Wine #2 was Rio Maggio’s Telusiano, a white blend of Passerino, Pecorino and Verdicchio. Flavors of almonds, wild honey and apples, it has moderate weight and a clean, pure finish that isn’t unlike Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc. Absolutely stunning with Carolina Grouper and Corn Chowder.
To finish my wild and crazy line-up, we ended the evening with a blueberry-like red from Ribera Sacra in Galicia, Spain. Made from the grape called Mencia, it is so vibrant and juicy, it screams drink me with duck or short ribs. An absolute showstopper that steals the thunder of any wine in its sight, the D. Ventura Vina Caneiro is a great wine to enjoy as the weather becomes cooler.
To be able to entertain and educate as well as nourish and quench is a beautiful thing, and I am so thankful for my life and my job because of it.