Last time I blogged, I told of my amazing experience at the Fearrington House in Pittsboro, duking it out with Wine Director Maximilian Kast at the first Battle of the Sommelier dinners.
I now blog to you live from Tarboro the day after our rematch where my husband Stephen prepared a magnificent meal, and I dared to pick the best wines to highlight his food.
Firstly, I would like to sincerely thank each and every one of you who attended. It was a wonderful night, and you all made me so proud with the warm welcome you extended to Max, full of amazing grace and hospitality. Max had a wonderful time, and we hope to make this a yearly occurrence. You all are the bombs for coming!
Also great thanks to John Clay, one of the talented kitchen cohorts who took these wonderful photographs in hopes of making Inez Says a little more visual and intriguing.
I will definitely admit in the days leading up to the event, I was quite nervous.
Mostly in part to being a girl and the other about my husband executing a menu without my help.
Obviously, I give myself way too much credit, because many of you confessed the meal was one of your all-time favorites.
My nerves were subsided the moment Max arrived at On the Square with a wonderful smile and plenty of zen-like calmness.
We each drank our beer of choice from Mother Earth Brewery in Kinston, and then we took off the gloves in anticipation of choosing the best wine to pair with each of Stephen’s dishes.
The complete menu is as follows, and the wines in blue are Max’s whereas the wines in pink are mine. If they are in bold, they indicate the winner.
So, here goes the drill:
Pimento Cheese Beignets, Fried Oysters, Corn Bread Foie Gras
Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Brut NV
Lobster & Avocado Salad with Caviar Vinaigrette
Nora Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain 2010
Hopler Pinot Blanc, Burgenland, Austria 2010
Pan Seared North Carolina Sheepshead with Creole Stew and Crispy Collard Cake
l’Agape Riesling “Expression,” Alsace, France 2009
Evening Land Vineyards Chardonnay “Etoile,” Burgundy, France 2009
Duck Crepe with Cranberry & Blue Cheese
Tenuta Rapitala Nero d’Avola “Alto,” Sicily, Italy 2009
Thierry Puzelat “Le Tel Quel,” Loire Valley, France NV
American Leg of Lamb with Carrot Sformato & Sweet Pea Beurre Blanc
Edmunds St. John “Rocks & Gravel,” Dry Creek Valley, California 2010
Storybook Vineyards Zinfandel, Mayacamas Range, California 2008
Frances’ Amazing Pistachio Snack Pack–Pistachio Pudding, Poundcake & Brittle
Ventosa Estates “Carlos,” Scotland Neck, North Carolina NV
Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux “Le Mont,” Loire Valley, France 2008
As you can probably see, I did not win. No hard feelings, no regrets, no un-drunk wine.
The night was more fun than I can remember and I loved every moment of it.
My day was made complete when my dear friend Tiffany emailed this afternoon to tell me what a special evening she enjoyed.
When you get the reaffirmation that people love to enjoy wine because of the lively conversation and the magic of drinking it with food, it’s all worth it.
And that is because, just like life, winning doesn’t matter, it’s all about the fun you have taking the trip.