Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sommelier Showdown III

I hadn’t been to a Sommelier Showdown before and when I saw that STLwinegirl, Angela Ortmann, was going to be in the third “battle” against Brandon Kearne from Elaia & Olio, I immediately signed up!

What I really love about this “competition” is that the challenge is about making the perfect pairing, which to me is much more important than how good a wine is by itself. Some wines just may be quite quaffable, but one usually has a glass to drink over dinner and you want to bring out the flavors for both in either a complimentary way or to let the food shine.

With Randall’s Wines & Spirits as the sponsor, they kicked off the evening with a shot of tequila, handed to us by a guy in a Mexican wrestling mask. I’m not sure if every “Showdown” is like this but it certainly set the tone for the night as the evening definitely had a “fight night” atmosphere!

While I admit that I was very biased towards Angela’s pairings, the voters were definitely the winners as you got two glasses of wine with each course. Not a bad deal at $35!! This was an exceptional price considering this “Showdown” was held at Cielo inside the Four Seasons!

 
In summary, I felt Angela had the better pairings because her wines were a lot more accessible in both taste and price. (Prices are listed on the menu because Randall’s was encouraging everyone to purchase what they tasted that night.) I felt that her wines were a lot more mellow and paired well with each course, really letting the food stand out. Brandon’s wines were almost all big, bold, or dry. I don’t think I could drink any of his selections as none of his pairings matched my palate.


First course...goat cheese and salad
Second course...risotto, shrimp and asparagus
Third course...Pork tenderloin

My favorite part of the evening was when both Brandon and Angela came over to our table and I got to ask them why they had picked each wine. It’s great to get inside a Sommelier’s mind and see how they think about the wine and the corresponding food.

Brandon came out the winner, although I really think Angela had the better pairings, which is what the evening’s competition was really about.

Be sure to check out the next “Sommelier Showdown” on Thursday, July 18th at 7pm with Linda McGovern from Major Brands vs Glenn Bardgett from Annie Gunn’s. This one is also $35, but will be located at Copia at 1122 Washington Ave.

Resources:

Randall’s Wines & Spirits = http://www.shoprandallas.com

Cielo = http://www.cielostlouis.com/

STLwinegirl = http://www.stlwinegirl.com

Elaia & Olio = http://www.elaiastl.com/