The SOMM Journal

April / May 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 66 of 112

66 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2015 { special section: port } COMING FROM A CULINARY BACKGROUND WITH DECADES SPENT in food and beverage management, finding the symbiosis between wine and food has always been a stimulating part of my life. In the case of Port wine, especially vintage Port, the same timeworn pairings seem to proliferate each year. For instance, the onset of recent Valentine's Day celebrations bred a parade of print articles touting the same old tired coupling of Port wine and chocolate, as if that was something au courant. It is not. Vice Chairman and CEO Imports at Wine Warehouse, Don Schliff is one of America's most prolific Port collectors, and he presented a five-course black-tie luncheon with inspired Port-friendly culinary creations by renowned Chef Wolfgang Puck at the luxuriously-appointed Hotel Bel-Air on February 7. Eighteen distinct vintage Ports ranging from 1963 to 1927, including several magnums and ultra-scarce tregnums, all aged in Don's personal cellar for more than 30 years, boded well for such a historic Port-and-food pairing event. As Port struggles to revitalize its anachronistic image, members of the trade have fought hard to appeal to the next generation, together with a focused outreach to attract more women consumers. The development of hip new mixed drinks using Port wine as a component has helped gain some traction in nightclub and restaurant venues. But finding imaginative ways to introduce Port to a younger base must be an ongoing process of introduction and education. I believe the best way to take Port more mainstream would require efforts to dismantle the way Port is currently promoted. In other words, no longer encourage Port as "just a dessert wine," evolving its image as a bold new accompaniment to center-of-the-plate offerings. It would likely require both time and lots of effort, but the long term potential could be very positive for Port's future. The wines came from the collection of Don Schliff, Vice Chairman and CEO Imports at Wine Warehouse. The black-tie luncheon was held at Hotel Bel-Air. A Vintage Occasion INNOVATIVE GASTRONOMY MELDS WITH RARE VINTAGE PORT IN BEL-AIR story and photos by Roy Hersh

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The SOMM Journal - April / May 2015