The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2015

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28  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2015 A s customers' tastes in food become more cosmopolitan, so should the choices of wine to pair with those dishes. While saké traditionally pairs with sushi, Barolo wine pairs with Italian meat dishes and some may take a Margarita with their Mexican meal, several restaurants are willing to take a few risks to change a few perceptions and offer up a few wine pairing surprises. For example, tasting notes from the European Wine Treasures collection show that Bulgarian red varietal Mavrud beautifully complements marinated meats and spicy dishes, making these wines a good companion for both Mexican and Indian food. The fruity and floral noise of white varietal Misket makes it an appealing and refresh- ing partner for sushi, Japanese fusion fare or Thai dishes. To get the point across clearly about the versatility of these Bulgarian indigenous varietals (along with European Wine Treasures' distinctive expressions of international varietals such as Chardonnay, Viognier and Syrah), Chef A. J. Schaller of Manhattan's Corkbuzz teamed up with noted wine writers Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen to prepare a lunch showcasing 14 different wines from the European Wine Treasure portfolio last April. The first course, warm asparagus with a soft-boiled egg, brown butter, paprika crumbs, was partnered with three Bulgarian whites: a Dimyat, a Misket and a Sauvignon Blanc. "While we used a Sauvignon Blanc with the asparagus, we also used the opportunity to introduce the guests at this tasting to a Misket and a Dimyat," explains Jenssen. "This demonstrated to our fellow members of the trade that there is an opportunity to bypass a more traditional pairing to put the customer in front of something new that is still in sync with the flavor profiles he or she enjoys together." In the second course, the team followed suit with a traditionally Spanish dish: olive oil–braised octopus, olive panisse, piperade and tahini yogurt. The featured pairings included the unique expressions of Chardonnay and Traminer from European Wine Treasures. Later in the meal, a French-inspired duck breast with celery root, spinach, mustard and currant jus was matched up with Bulgarian Pinot Noir and Mavrud. DeSimone observes that as the genres of restaurants and palates of American consumers have expanded, so has room in the marketplace for beverages that were not previously available in the U.S. a generation ago. "There's a general curiosity in the U.S., especially in larger metropolitan areas and college towns, about new foods and flavors," he says. "Naturally, that's going to have an impact on what people will be drinking with these newly introduced dishes. Wines from the European Wine Treasures collection represent the next step of what the adventurous consumers are drinking or will be drinking in the very near future." Concludes Jenssen, "Once sommeliers, buyers and chefs open their minds to these wines, they are setting the foundation for a greater awareness of what they have to offer. We're talking about unfamiliar and familiar varietals that the consumer should get to know to make his experi- ence as a wine drinker fuller and more interesting." CAMPAIGN FINANCED WITH AID FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION, GREECE AND THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA New York City sommeliers and buyers experience varietals from European Wine Treasures at Corkbuzz in Manhattan. Indigenous, International and Inspired by Elyse Glickman PHOTO COURTESY OF EUROPEAN WINE TREASURES VARIETALS FROM THE EUROPEAN WINE TREASURES COLLECTION MAKE IDEAL PARTNERS FOR A DIVERSE VARIETY OF CUISINES C M Y CM MY CY CMY K

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