The SOMM Journal

April / May 2015

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Page 101 of 112

{ }  101 Freedom of choice isn't always pretty or tasteful. The table who just ordered a hundred bucks worth of sparkling fresh, two-day out of the ocean Kumamoto oysters is asking for your best Chardonnay selection. The host, a mid–50s woman in advertising, will not be deterred. While her mind desires the classic flavor and texture of California's popular oaky buttery selection, your palate is racing ahead of the speeding train before its smashes headlong into the jarring wreck of oak toast, low acid fruit and melted butter. As tour guides and storytellers, our guidance of customers into the safe bays and wild waters of sensual exploration pays our professional rent. Can specific Chardonnay selec- tions create an adequate or even excellent food pairing with half-shell oysters? How do you build a safety net within your wine list for this anticipated request? It is a threat at all, or is it long-held professional bias? The answer is yes to all questions. In the words of Kaleigh Brook Vrapi, CMS Level III candidate and owner of When in Rome restaurant in Bigfork, Montana, the soft, moist oyster seeks simply . . . "the bones of minerality." A small selection of the 30 international Chardonnays we pitted against a wide range of oyster textures and flavors. Author Dan Vogel, CSW, CMS Certified Sommelier, pours the first of many Chardonnays for Gene Castellino, Wine Manager of Whitefish Liquor Store, and Jennifer Lewis of Intermountain Distributing, CMS Certified Sommelier. THE DILEMMA OF OYSTERS AND CHARDONNAY Fire & Ice by Dan Vogel, CWS, CMS Cerfied Sommelier photos by Kathryn Hayes

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