The SOMM Journal

June / July 2018

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Page 117 of 132

{ } 101 hen they arrived at Las Vegas' Caesars Palace for last month's Wine & Spirits Wholesal - ers of America (WSWA) 75th Annual Convention & Exposition, the judges for The SOMM Journal's blind wine-tasting competi - tion immediately began preparing for the lofty task ahead of them. The group, who had flown in from all over the country, were entrusted to evaluate hundreds of bottles that formed a diverse representation of the global wine industry—no small feat, indeed. It was only fitting that, as the competition's sponsors, The SOMM Journal and sister publication The Tasting Panel would thank them for their hard work at a welcome dinner that also ran the geographical gamut: showcasing wines from Hungary, Italy, and Oregon against the charm - ing backdrop —and cuisine—of French bistro Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris hotel. After an introduction by Publisher/Editorial Director Meridith May, Wines of Excellence Project Director Eniko " Magyar took the floor to present the wine for the first course: the MÁD Tokaj 2015 Dry Furmint. For all its history as an estate run by an 18th-generation winemaker, Magyar said MÁD is helping forge a future in which Hungarian dry Furmint represents "the new taste of the world." Its contents, she added slyly, "might be dangerous to Pinot Grigio," but for Mon Ami Gabi Executive Chef Vin - cent Pouessel, the crisp, lively wine was also just the thing to cut through pungent Roquefort. Because he believed the cheese alone "would've been too harsh and strong," he incorporated it into a salad with bitter endive and ripe pear "to bring the sweetness" in harmony with the fruit character of the wine. Reflecting Magyar's assertion that Furmint is "a bril - liant pairing partner with all types of cuisines," many guests kept returning to the wine throughout the meal. "I enjoyed it even with the steak course," said Master Som - melier Lindsey Geddes, Wine Director at Charlie Palmer Steak Las Vegas. As did Renée-Nicole Kubin, General Manager/Wine Director of Relais & Châteaux property Château du Sureau in Oakhurst, California, who noted that she features the wine on her own tasting menus. "It doesn't matter if it's with seafood, cheese, or whatever—it fits in somewhere all the time," she explained. While the second wine in the lineup technically hailed from Oregon, perhaps it's more accurate to say it came from France by way of the Willamette Valley. As Kobrand Corporation's Nevada State Manager Erin Draper ex - plained to the group, not only is the Résonance Vineyard Chef Vincent Pouessel of Mon Ami Gabi in Las Vegas. The Résonance Vineyard Pinot Noir is the first Maison Louis Jadot release produced outside of Burgundy. Mon Ami Gabi Chef Vincent Pouessel paired it with a duo of confit duck leg and seared diver scallop accompanied by mixed mushrooms in a garlic cream sauce.

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