It’s hard to believe that I’ve been host to five amazing food and wine events at Fort Lauderdale’s Himmarshee Bar and Grille. The old addage “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun” certainly applies in this case. We’ve managed to bring together some of the most fun people South Florida has to offer in one amazing place, and introduced them to gastronomic delights and wine pairings to tantalize their palates. What started out as another “Tweetup”, where Twitter users socialize face to face rather than online, has turned into an open event where anyone can experience new tastes in food and wine. Recently the subject of a Conde Nast review as a fantastic destination to eat at in South Florida, 50 people gathered at Himmarshee’s Sidebar to taste three wines that were paired with culinary creations from Chris, Himmarshee’s Executive Chef.
Starting the event off was Darby and Joan’s Chardonnay. Sourced from three different areas in Southern Australia, the grapes come from Riverland, Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. This lightly oaked white wine showed crisp flavors of pear up front, with a good balance of spice from the 15% oak aging. Crisp and clean, everyone seemed to love the refreshing flavors of this easy drinking white wine. The granny smith apple finish, a little tart but still pleasant, was quite a hit with several of the guests. Chef Chris created a Smoked Talmon Tartar, Crostini, Hard Boiled Egg with Truffle-Yuzu Citronette bite that paired very nicely with the Chardonnay. The Darby and Joan 2008 Chardonnay was 87 point rated by Wine Spectator, and 8,000 cases were produced. It’s one of several lines of wines from R Wines, which produces wine from vineyards all over Australia. The second wine of the night was also an R Wines selection, from the Marquis Philips line.
The Marquis Philips 2007 Grenache was sourced from McLaren Vale, Australia, and the vines range from 30-60 years old. These older vines have a more concentrated fruit, which leads to it’s jammy, very fruit forward nose and palate. Clocking in at 16% Alcohol By Volume, this is a big wine, which many people noticed when they sampled the bouquet, and felt on their tongues with the tingle left after swallowing. The food pairing was a Chili Braised Pork Tostada, with a corn relish and crisp shallot. The bite was a flavorful combination of juicy pork with great spices, and they played nicely with the fruit forward nature of the wine. A number of people commented on the easy drinking nature of the wine, the roundness of the fruit, and despite the high alcohol punch that it packed, felt it was a fun wine to sip on.
The wine tasting event finished with a wine from Napa’s Swanson Vineyards, their 2003 La Ti Da. Swanson is indeed the family that makes frozen dinners, and they started their winery in 1985. They have two lines of fantastic wines, which consistently are rated in the 90 point range by Wine Spectator. The la Ti Da wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a touch of Syrah, and offers a soft blackberry palate with a hint of brambles, with soft tannins and a nice, long finish. When asked what I meant by brambles, I describe it as plucking the blackberry off the bush, and a little bit of the wood comes with it. Of course, the wood taste is from the 20 months aging in American and French Oak, but it was well integrated with the black fruit flavors and gentle spice. The food pairing was spectacular as well.
The final food pairing of the night, Chef Chris’ grilled Churrasco Rolls with tomato, asparagus and camembert, was incredible. The flavorful steak meshed incredibly with the tomato, asparagus and Camembert cheese, and you couldn’t have wished for a better pairing with the wine. The cheese and steak coated your palate, and really helped the already soft tannins nearly disappear, leaving nothing but fantastic fruit and gentle cedar flavors in your mouth. Most of our 50 guests agreed it was their favorite wine of the night, as well as favorite food pairing.
Don’t worry if you missed this incredible wine event, as we’re starting our new and exciting “Taste Around The World” series in February. Each month, we’ll bring you the tastes of a different country, from Italy to Chile to Spain and even the USA. Be sure to bring your passport, because you’ll want to go on as many of these trips as possible! If you’re in the South Florida area, you’re more than welcome to join us!