The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 46 of 152

D.C. At arms! Julie Dalton, Sommelier at Mina's Wit & Wisdom in the Four Seasons hotel in Baltimore, MD versus Julian Mayor, Sommelier at Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons in D.C. Flight Club SOMMELIER SMACKDOWN IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL by Scott Greenberg / photo by Mark Finkenstaedt J ulian Mayor was recently sipping wine while visiting fellow sommeliers in Los Angeles, mulling over a fun and informative way to get his regular patrons, as well as new guests, to broaden their wine palates. After one more inspiring sip, Mayor had an epiphany: Flight Club! Julian's concept involves inviting a fellow sommelier to his home-turf restaurant—Chef Michael Mina's modern American steakhouse, Bourbon Steak, located in the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C.—and then challenge them to a five course wine-paring smackdown. The sparring sommeliers pair each dish with a unique wine specifically selected to win the round. The guests vote after each course for their favorite pairing as well as select the all-around winner. The first season of Flight Club featured four dinners, each with a uniquely themed menu that matched Julian's skills against some of the finest somms in town, including the final showdown with fellow Mina colleague Julie Dalton, the charming Sommelier at Mina's Wit & Wisdom in the Four Seasons hotel in Baltimore, MD. Mayor narrowly squeezed out a victory over Dalton when it came down to a tie-breaker in the fifth course, the "Knock Out" round. Both somms showed remarkable depth as well as creativity when it came to pairing wines with the offal-centric menu. A course featuring head cheese, lardons and fresh eggs was tamed by Mayor's choice of Zind Humbrecht 2011 Pinot Gris "Calcaire" and enlightened by Dalton's selection, the Huet Vouvray 2007 Chenin Blanc "Le Mont" Demi Sec. Mayor originally landed in D.C. as political science junkie, but soon figured out that wine was always politically correct. After a stint at the French Culinary Institute (FCI) in New York and a few restaurants in D.C., he joined the opening team at Bourbon Steak as a sommelier in 2008 and has been an integral part of the wine and beverage program ever since. Dalton was working full-time in the biotech industry while moonlighting as a sommelier. In 2010, Julie decided to go into the wine business full time as a sommelier at Michael Mina's Wit & Wisdom. Dalton has since earned sommelier certifications up to the Advanced level through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and she is a Certified Wine Educator through the Society of Wine Educators. She often uses her background in science to explain to diners why specific wines work with certain dishes. In my opinion, the best pairing of the night was Dalton and Mayor. 46  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2013 TP1213_034-63.indd 46 11/23/13 8:26 PM

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - December 2013