Last night I attended Engaging the Senses, a food and wine pairing event at Max’s Harvest in Delray Beach facilitated by my friend Lyn Farmer.
Chris Miracolo, executive chef at Max’s Harvest really honed in on the marriage of food and wine. Miracolo is a talented and playful chef who understands the fundamentals of food and wine pairings and dares to take it to another realm as he amuses ones palate with combinations of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. The wines of the evening were from the portfolio of Gérard Bertrand; this eponymous brand hails from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France. The Gerard Bertrand wines are on the fast track in America. It is Bertrand’s goal to create a South of France category in the United States. This lofty yet plausible goal is conceivable as 80% of the wines in the Gérard Bertrand portfolio range in price from $10-$20.
We indulged in nine courses last night starting with Bertrand’s Cremant de Limoux as the reception wine and with the starter course. The Cremant de Limoux is a sparkling wine that was paired with Miracolo’s smoked Bluepoint oyster and casino butter.
Next up Lyn Farmer took us through a playful exercise of food & wine pairing 101. We applied the interactions of our five tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami) with Bertrand’s Cabernet Sauvignon along with salt, apple and lemon. This flavor task was an ideal prelude to the forthcoming courses as it explained to the guests in a practical manner the basics of food and wine pairings.
There were a few wine surprises of the night and the third wine was the first surprise; Picpoul de Pinet a dry white wine that retails for under $15 and is ideal with seafood, fish and salad. Miracolo paired it with a tuna sashimi.
No wine tasting/pairing is complete without the customary Chardonnay. However, as we all know, all Chardonnays are not created equal as is the case in point with Bertrand’s Reserve Speciale Chardonnay a well balanced fresh-minerally wine that was paired with lobster ceviche.
The next wine surprise of the evening was the Gris Blanc, a Rosé wine showing off a crystalline style color. The food pairing too was a bolt of excitement as Miracolo paired this modestly blushing Rosé with duck prosciutto and pressed melon.
And as we rounded the corner towards the gustatory finish line, it was here that we met up with the big boys on campus; Reserve Speciale Pinot Noir, Grand Terroir Tautavel and the senior classman, Cigalus. This dominating trio was paired with none other than beef….three ways; classic beef tartare with egg, caper and rosemary. Braised spinalis with a candied yam and blue cheese beurre blanc. Paupiettes with mushroom, shallot confit and tomato jus. This unique course allowed guests to pair the three wines and the three meats anyway that best suited their palate.
We ended the evening with an exquisite cheese course paired with the expressive Muscat 10. This photo is my favorite of the evening, it shows the aftermath of the wickedness of nine wines and nine food pairings in one satiated evening.
Click here to view more photos of the evening.