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Monday, August 2, 2010

Macy's Culinary Council Presents: Andrea Robinson and the Tenderloin hood w/ bottle of Zin wrapped in a Bag

I know that this title is a mouthful, but it came out of a mini conversation on Twitter with horror writing phenom Rain Graves regarding the picture of the Zinfandel in my glass and the tenderloin on my plate. Truly nothing was in a paper bag and there were no tenderloins scurrying about in hood. Just thought it would make for a quirky little title.

That said, speaking of mouthfuls I had the great pleasure of sitting in on a Wine and Food pairing Seminar hosted by the Culinary Council, this past Saturday with none other than Andrea Robinson, former dean of Wine Studies at the French Culinary Institute, where she graduated with honors from its professional culinary program, a master sommelier, and a chef. She is also one of only 16 women in the world to hold the title of Master Sommelier and the first woman to be awarded the Best Sommelier in America distinction, impressive resume for sure. That is why I was thrilled to be invited down for the food and wine pairing demonstration. The talk and live cooking demonstration was just fantastic, her presentation skills, rapport with her audience and command of her wine and food pairing was undeniably spot on. It was conducted in a completely disarming fashion and what I would characterize as a first-class event all the way, filled with fun, learning and wrapped up with nice afternoon snack, paired with tasty wines and I could sense nothing but good vibes from the crowd.

I've been asked to give a talk on food and wine pairing myself and the tips and techniques I learned this day were just fantastic, inspiring and incredibly helpful and I plan on incorporating some of these concepts into my own talk. I'm not sure why she's not the Next Food Network star, be that as it may, you can still catch her older programs on You Tube and she will soon be launching here own series of videos.

During her talking on Wine and Food paring, she also introduced her new stemware collection - “The One” – which is a line created to take the guesswork out of choosing the proper wine glass. It comes in a set of four, either four stems for Red wines four stems for White wines and can be found for sale at Macy's Home Store or Andrea Wine Stemware Shop. They are selling for $49.95 and are said to be dishwasher [I recommend hand was only] safe and break resistant.

Review of the One: In reviewing the stemware here at Chez Eyer using my own informal comparison and having full knowledge of which glass was which I still came to one [pun not intended] conclusion; that it's very hard to avoid the conclusion that something real is involved with this technology, but exactly what that is indeterminable.


Clarity: First, let me preface my remarks about my results; noting that I did not overtly prefer the wine out of the "One" rather, I was able to identify which glass of wine was  in the "One" stems, because the wine seemed more expressive to me. But that difference was not as appreciable as I expected it would be. While I didn’t always like what was being expressed by the "One" glass better, I did however find more aromas and diversity of flavor in the overall expression on the palate and the bouquet. I know that seems like squishy-land talk, but truly I was unable to have that "aha" moment.

Compared to What: This is a phrase I ask many folks, especially after someone has extolled their praise or condemnation for a particular product or service. Because if there's really nothing to make a comparison against, then what's the point, you're just performing an exercise in futility. That said, I put some Reidel Stemware up against the "One" and put both sets of stemware through their paces.

Conclusion: More importantly what you have with the "One" is stemware which can be used for a large variety of red or white wines without having to purchase expensive separate pieces and this point should not be missed. If you purchase this type of glass you don't have the need for many types of stems any longer. Think of it this way if you purchase a number of them [the One] and when you have guests over everyone can drink from a similar glass. Because if you are like me and already have many different types of stems and let's say I have more than a few guests over my home, I'm often forced into giving them a variety of stems and it does seem little awkward, but with this concept in stemware your life can be so much easier.

If you're just starting out on your own wine loving life-style, you have the opportunity to acquire stems that are all of the same profile [meaning same size and shape], making it much easier to stow them in your cupboards and without the difficulty of trying to remember which glass goes with what. With  the "One"  there's only thing you need to remember is this, the big glass for red wines or the small glass for white wines, as a result your guests will most likely think of you as a little more prepared.

Recommendation: I would definitely recommend these glasses to you to provide you with some stemware sanity and to enhance your own vino experiences. They also make a great gift for the wine lover who perhaps seems to have everything. I liken my conclusions to what Morpheus told Neo in the Matrix: "You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe and  if you take the red pill -- you stay in Wonderland." the choice is yours of course.

Full Disclosure: Hello FTC and anyone else interested, yes I received a set of the "ONE" stemware as a SAMPLE and in part because of my involvement in the WBC or Bust wine blog contest as the prelude to the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla, Walla Washington.

The Pairings:

Edamame Pesto was paired with St Supery Sauvignon Blanc which exhibited grapefruit zest, floral, green lime and tropical fruits which are typical of California style of Sauvignon Blanc. The pairing of these two items complimented each other flavor profiles nicely. The Edamame Pesto, I thought could have used a little more something [but hey what do I know], as it was a bit monolithic, maybe a little more cilantro, not sure but I did enjoy both those flavor profiles together. The St Supery Sauv. Blanc was very good and I scored it 88 points and can be purchased most places for $16.99 to $18.99 and be found at your local Bev-Mo or favorite grocery outlet and really good with a little chill on the bottle.

Prosciutto-Sage Crusted Pork Tenderloin was paired with Ravenswood Old Vine Zin  a densely packed nose which exhibited rich black raspberry notes, accompanied by the scents of freshly made summer fruit jam, creating a nice mouth feel. This wine can be purchased again from your local Bev-Mo from $9.99 to $14.99 and most likely can be found at many local grocery outlets as well I scored this wine 87 points.
This pairing was pulled off wonderfully, the half cup of sherry and sage called for in the recipe really tied to these two elements together. I heartily recommend this pairing and it of course doesn't have to be with this Zinfandel, but I believe any "old-vine" zin would work with this combination. Old vines are typically vineyards which are typically 30 years or older and you will find more concentrated juice being derived from these vines.

Chocolate and Chorizo Toast this recipes is easy and was suggested as the dessert but could easily be
converted to the role of appetizer in the blink of an eye. This item was also paired with the Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel and I thought it was a good pairing and enjoy the interactions of the sweet characteristics of the Zin, the chocolate and zesty notes from the Chorizo. You do need to have one of those long thin baguettes and is really just regarded as the blank slate for the yummy goodness that can be piled on top. Regarding the pairing, I believe if you had a few ounces of after-dinner Tawny Port, that it could be equally winetastic or possibly a even be a better pairing, either way I did totally enjoy it.

Remember wine and food pairing is an adventure, but if you would like a basic outline or guide here's a link
to the Basic Principles of Successful Food-Wine Pairing, click here.




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6 comments:

Ikal 1150 Wines of Argentina said...

sounds like a great event... went to school with Andrea and it's great to see her doing so much!

Alana said...

I love the stems and while I work alongside Andrea in her business, I don't get paid to sell stems.

I do want to tell your readers that the dishwasher does a better job then I do. I'm so tired of hand washing and drying stems and the spots just kill me, so I took Andrea at her word (and I've seen them in her own dishwasher) so I took the plunge. The glasses come out clean and shiny--no spots! None have broken whereas hand washing has resulting in two broken whites. Cheers & nice post!

Bill Eyer said...

Hey Alana,

Thanks for stopping by, regarding the washing of the glasses in the dishwasher. I will give the "ONE" a swirl in my dishwasher, but with the money I paid for some of my other stems, it makes me nervous.

But I hear ya about hand washing and drying my stems and the spots drive me crazy too. =]

Cheers!

Ashley V. Routson said...

I agree with all the testimonials and with Bill, Andrea's "The One" glass is pretty extraordinary and it does make a significant difference on the wine. But, what I truly appreciate most, as a young consumer with a limited budget, is that it simplifies the purchasing experience. Instead of trying to stock up on every style and size of wine glass, I only need two. And compared to all the other options on the market, this is by far the best "bang" for the buck.

As for the food and wine pairing, it sounded tremendous. And it made me extremely hungry and thirsty. I cannot wait to attend one of Andrea's famous pairing dinners soon!

Cheers,

Ashley

Bill Eyer said...

Hey Ashley,

You should definitely try to make one her events, well worth the effort.

Second, you hit the nail on the head, by far the best "bang for the buck" when it comes to stemware.

Cheers,

Bill

Genna Harris said...

Bill -

I just wanted to follow up with you and thank you on behalf of the Everywhere team for such an incredible write up of Andrea's event. This post is one of the most thorough reviews I've ever read when it comes to the Culinary Council! You really give people a true insider's look at the demonstration, and we are so thankful for your kind words. Without folks like you, the Culinary Council would not be the successful organization that it is, so thank you so much for your time and love of food!

We look forward to connecting with you again about future Culinary Council events in the San Diego area. Thank you again!

Genna Harris
Digital Coordinator - EVERYWHERE

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