Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pairing Up

Some things are just meant to go together: Socks and shoes, Tom and Jerry, food and wine.

Amp 150 played off the latter with a special dinner for 30 guests — pairing wines from Argentina with chef Jeff Jarrett's inventive cuisine.

"We're here to have a good time and eat some good food," said Jarrett.

Each of the five courses were teamed up with wines selected by Wine Trends' Andy Moore, who was on hand to educate all of us on his selections. "A lot of winemakers from Italy are learning that Argentina is very similar to Napa Valley," said Moore.

The first course of fois gras on a crispy brioche, topped with lychee and an apricot chutney might have been on the smaller side, but packed a lot of flavor. Sips of the citrusy Zuccardi Serie A Torrontes balanced the rich, decadent dish. "This is a great fruit wine," said Moore. "It's an ABC wine — anything but chardonnay."

A take on surf and turf, the second course of shredded short ribs and scallops came with a tangy beet puree and a crispy potatoes (above). I constructed the perfect bite on my fork, making sure I had all the different textures and a healthy dose of the vibrantly colored puree. Moore paired it with Santa Julia Organica Chardonnay, a wine with notes of pineapple and pair and hints of vanilla.

Next up was a whole grilled quail served with a pomegranate reduction and a sunny side up quail egg. Moore again selected a wine from Santa Julia Organica — this time a malbec. This savory wine gave off hints of cedar, lavender and black cherry

For me the best course of the night belonged to the fourth course (above). Every single component on the plate worked so well together — the tender bison, tangy red currant puree, slices of pickled plum, asparagus and crispy potatoes (or potato glass as Jarrett called it) — that I quickly devoured the dish before anyone else at my table. 

Moore picked another wine by Santa Julia Organic. The cabernet, which was probably my favorite out of the three (and I am not a huge red wine fan) has a nice, deep ruby color and lighter, soft finish with hints of oak and berry flavors.

To wrap up the meal, Jarrett prepared a peach trio: a grilled peach with mascarpone, a peach granita that was refreshing and deep and the unanimous favorite at the table — a peach cobbler. It reminded me of walking into my grandma's kitchen just as she pulled one of her pies of out the oven to cool.

Moore ended the night with a glass of Norton Cosecha Tardia. Harvest late in the season, the wine has aromas of flowers and peaches and was definitely my favorite of the evening. I will be searching for a bottle of this the next time I hit up the grocery store.

To find out more about Amp 150's next pairing dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 2, visit Jarrett was still finalizing details, but did tell us he will partner with a brewery this time around.

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