When you work at one of the top rated hotels in Denver you tend to attract a fair amount of writers, bloggers, etc. that all want to come experience your hospitality first hand so they can share with the world how you interpret and deliver hospitality differently than anyone else. That was the case this past week when we had a handful of media people (that is what I call them) staying at the hotel for several days. I always like having press in house but I was particularly excited about this group because they arranged for a Chef’s selection, five course dinner with wines to pair with each course!
I was enthusiastic about choosing the wines until I saw the menu; first course was a Beet Borscht (a style of soup) with a dollop of whipped horseradish creme fraiche, a slice of hard boiled egg and freshly chopped chives to garnish. Second course was a grilled scallop with a black truffle emulsion, apple, celery and more truffles shaved on top. Third course consisted of a Shaved Baby Vegetable Salad with freshly chopped herbs and a golden balsamic vinaigrette. Fourth course was Colorado Lamb Cassoulet with crispy sweetbreads, braised flageolet beans, confit fennel and baby spinach. And for the final course, Chef eagerly prepared two desserts. The first was a Melting Chocolate Sphere that rested on a bed of Nutella powder with a homemade bourbon-caramel sauce that was to be poured over the sphere table side (hence the name of the dish). The second dessert was a basket of Cinnamon & Sugar Dusted Churros with a side of Mexican hot chocolate and dulce de leche sauce for dipping along with a scoop of avocado lime ice cream. I remember looking at Chef with a grin on my face and thanking him (somewhat sarcastically) for such a complex menu-How do I pair wine with food like this?
The first thing I did was look at the menu to see what the dominate flavors were so I could pair wines appropriately and hopefully pour one wine for at least two of the courses. Luckily enough I was able to pair one wine for the first three courses; for the last two courses I chose a different wine for each.
For the first three courses I selected a 2015 Dom Prier Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley in France) because of its higher acidity and minerality. For the fourth course, the Colorado Lamb Cassoulet, I did not want to go with a traditional pairing (i.e. an Australian Shiraz) so I ended up choosing 2011 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape (a red blend from the Southern Rhône Valley in France). To pair with desserts I went with the Dow’s 10 year Tawny Port for its complexity and sweetness (when pairing wine with desserts you always want your wine to be as sweet or sweeter than the dessert itself). Even though I was confident in my pairings I was still nervous to see how the table would react because let’s be real, they are way more experienced than I am with this stuff.
I anxiously waited until the end of dinner to get feedback from the table regarding the food of course but mostly I wanted to know if they liked my wine pairings. I was relieved when they said they loved everything. I remember how proud of myself I was in that moment, all my hard work is paying off!
I would just like to say thank you for following me on my journey to become a Master Sommelier, it means so much to have your support. Please be sure to leave a comment and subscribe to my blog so you can stay up to date on all of my latest adventures!