Update: See Ellie’s documentation of the magical meal – including a live magic act performance – here!
The Genuine Hospitality Group Wine Director and Sommelier Eric Larkee is joining Michael and Hedy on the west coast of Florida this weekend for the Naples Winter Wine Festival. The most successful charity wine auction in the nation since 2004 according to the Wine Spectator, it brings together the world’s finest vintners, chefs, wine collectors and philanthropists for a three-day gala hosted by the Naples Children & Education Foundation with proceeds benefiting local charities that assist underprivileged and at risk children.
With Larkee on pour patrol for a larger-than-life crowd at tonight’s vintner dinner for 30 featuring the wines of Shea Wine Cellars and Vega Sicilia with the genuine foods of chef Schwartz and pastry chef Goldsmith, we took the liberty of culling the essentials that you need to know from his noggin as we head into a brave new year of wine. Below please find his four things to watch in wine in 2012, which you will find reflected in our restaurant group wine programs, and click here for tonight’s menu and here for background on the vintners.
1) 2009 Red Burgundy
“Usually considered a minefield, but ’09 red Burgundy is outstanding and drinking beautifully right now. In vintages that are great like this, the village level wines are even superb. At Michael’s, try Domaine Sarrazin ($39/BTB) and Remoissenet (48/BTB)
2) Grower champagne
“Sommeliers have been recommending these for as long as Terry Thiese and Becky Wasserman have been importing them. And those in the business have been drinking them. With an increased market presence and higher price to quality ratio compared to large negiociant houses, the tipping point has been reached. Grower champagne is not just for somms anymore.”
“With the current economic and political climate in turmoil, exploring Greece is more affordable than ever, and quality is increasing from small producers that are now being imported. Look for whites like Assyrtiko and Agiorgitiko. It’s actually easier to pronounce the names of the grapes after you’ve drunk the bottle of wine…”
4) Central European Reds
“Austria and Hungary especially are offering more tongue twisting varietals. What’s changed is these producers have stopped trying to make California wines and have re-embraced oak usage, working in a style more befitting to grapes like St. Laurent (a derivative of pinot noir) and Blaufrankish.”