5 Courses of Clendenen: The Cypress Room’s Menu for Lua Rossa 3 Release Dinner

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They have arrived! Jim’s wines coursed from left to right.

Michael’s first ever dinner with Jim Clendenen in Miami is two weeks from today on Tuesday, September 22 at 7PM, and The Cypress Room has the honor of hosting it.  The wines have landed, including our first bottles of Lua Rossa 3, and Roel Alcudia’s menu is ready to share as follows [CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS]:

Passed assorted Hors d’oeuvres
Clendenen Family 2014 Mondeuse Rosé

Garam Masala-Cured Fish, coriander emulsion, puffed rice
2013 Clendenen Family Gewürztraminer Au Bon Climat

Slow Baked Fish, herb crust, baby vegetables, shellfish broth, shrimp tortellini
2012 Clendenen Family Viognier “Second Coming” Au Bon Climat 

Duck Breast, leek pudding, foie gras, cranberry gastrique
2009 Clendenen Family Nebbiolo “Bricco Buon Natale”

Braised Beef Cheek, celery root, wild mushroom, black truffles
Lua Rossa 3 Syrah/Cabernet Franc/Merlot/Mondeuse Stanta Maria Valley

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart, compressed pears, creme fraiche
1995 Il Podere Dell’Olivos “Sittin’ Pretty” California Aleatico

To get here, Jim dropped some crumbs from his spice rack, through Eric, for Roel.  With the dry Gewürztraminer, he would want something cold and raw, fish perhaps, an aromatic dish perfumed with coriander.  “Like an Indian spices sort of thing,” Jim says.  For the “Second Coming,” a curve ball came through the grapevine.  “He said something like a Rhone-style fish,” Eric explains.  “I’m not sure exactly that means.  When I was in Lyon all I ate was meat, and oysters.”  And of Lua Rossa 3?  “It’s red!” Eric laughs. “For now I’m letting it settle in the bottle.  Why ruin the fun when we’ll all discover it together at the dinner?”

In a 5-courses with wine pairings, we get a first taste of Lua Rossa 3 and enjoy exploring the lesser-known varietals that Jim’s coffers have to offer.

$175 plus tax & gratuity includes:
– welcome rosé and canapés
– 5 course dinner paired with Santa Barbara’s unexpected varietals, from its most curious producer
– a special bottle from the first shipment of Lua Rossa no. 3, signed by both Chef and Winemaker

Cheers you there!  For more images and recollections from our third blending trip, see here.


In a Worlds… | The Raleigh’s Tale of Two Vineyards Wine Dinner



It’s time for Restaurant Michael Schwartz’s August wine dinner to unfold in the Raleigh’s Tiger Room featuring Tenuta Tignanello and Antica Napa Valley vineyards.  On Saturday the 15th, Eric Larkee and Bradley Herron have a tale of two worlds as much as a tale of two producers on their hands.  Let’s let the wine director explain:

“In a nutshell, when sommeliers speak of old and new world, they’re talking about wines from France and Italy, older wine-making cultures – older, period – versus the newer traditions of Australia, South and North America,” Larkee says. “I think the big take away here, especially from the courses paired with one of each wine, will be personal preference.  An exercise in understanding your own palate.”

After a few tray passed canapes and welcome aperitif, guests will experience four courses paired with six wines for $95, plus tax and gratuity.  CLICK HERE for tickets. Seating is limited!

So where does Larkeeland fall in this dichotomy?  “Somewhere around the Canary Islands…”

Aperitif and Passed Canapes
Col de Salici Spumante Brut Rosé de salici’ NV

Local Yellow Jack Crudo
fish sauce vinaigrette, basil, crispy onion
Antica Napa Valley Chardonnay 2013

Homemade Ricotta and Porcini Mushroom Tortellini
shaved mushrooms, herbs, porcini-parmigiano nage
Marchesi Antinori, Chianti Classico Riserva ‘Marchese Antinori – Tenuta Tignanello’ 2011
Antica Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Pan-Roasted Grass-fed Beef Filet
crisp polenta, creamed kale, brandy and green peppercorn reduction
Marchesi Antinori ‘Tignanello’ 2012
Antica Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Townsend vineyard’ 2012


Salted Caramel Pot de Crème
hazelnut wafers
Marchesi Antinori, Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2003
Grappa di Tiganello

Cri of the Tiger: Let’s Pop Bottles of Vintage Cristal Brut for Bastille Day!

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The Raleigh’s Tiger Room will become a playground for bubbles on Bastille Day.

Down the north stairwell, deep in The Raleigh Miami Beach’s lower levels lay buried treasures, golden, shimmering and ready to be unsheathed on Bastille Day.  Break out your finest sabers (for Eric Larkee, it’s his iPhone! There is a video to prove this, somewhere…) because Tuesday, July 14 at 7pm, vintage Cristal Brut and more bubbles from Champagne house Louis Roederer are coming out to play in The Tiger Room with Restaurant Michael Schwartz.

Join Charles Fournier of Louis Roederer to celebrate with a wine dinner to rally the best of wine dinners!  $150 includes vintage Cristal Brut welcome toast, 5 passed hors d’oeurves and 5 plated courses all paired with Roederer wines, as well as tax and gratuity.  $375 includes all of the above and adds a bottle of vintage Cristal Brut to take home.  Trust us, it’s a Ba-steal.  Tickets are now live HERE with the following menu:

Wine Dinner Flyerpassed hors’d oeurves
caramelized onion and gruyere flatbread
chicken liver crostini with cherries
oysters with classic mignonette
bacon cheddar biscuits
crab and zucchini salad with endive
Louis Roederer  Cristal Brut 05 & 06

raw tuna carrot juice, ginger, puffed wild rice, pea shoots
Louis Roederer  Brut Nature

watermelon and beet salad strechella , duchilly hazelnuts, saba
Louis Roederer  Brut Premier NV

charcoal grilled pheasant green farro, calabaza, cherries
Louis Roederer  Rose Vintage 2009

braised lamb neck pickled apricot, white turnips, charred leeks, hemp seeds
Chateau Haut-Beausejour 2011

olive oil cake meyer lemon whipped goat cheese pistachio
Louis Roederer  Carte blanche NV

Born in the heart of the well-known wine region of Bordeaux, Mr. Fournier studied business and obtained a specialization in Wine Making and Viticulture.  In 2007, he joined Champagne Louis Roederer in charge of American, West European, Middle East, Asian exports. Since then, he has assumed full responsibility for the sales of the company’s brands: Champagne Louis Roederer, Domaines Ott wines, Château de Pez and Château Haut Beauséjour.
The Raleigh Miami Beach will host a monthly Wine & Dine dinner featuring a special menu from Restaurant Michael Schwartz.  Curated wines will vary each month and be presented and described by a professional Sommelier throughout the dinner.  Seating is limited, so book your ticket today!  July we celebrate French from France with a little bubbly.  Please join us for bubbly and then some!

Instant Gratification on the Rock, Just in Time for Genuine Pairings

GEM A Frame Adv4_mediumMichael and special ops chef Thomas Tennant are heading back to Grand Cayman next week, on the heels of Hedy’s visit, to check in with the team and have a little fun.  We’re mixing things up a bit with our farm-to-table dinners’ family-style format with Genuine Pairings, a five course wine dinner on Saturday, September 14 with Chef and the pairings of wine director Eric Larkee.  The great news is that we will be able to follow along here at HQ more closely than ever before, because our island restaurant — a shining beacon in a sea of BlackBerry devices — finally has Instagram!  We are eagerly awaiting @MGFD_GCM’s first post.  It’s the little things that make a difference…  Here is the menu, with a little description on what’s being poured to whet your appetite. We know ours is.   Book by calling the restaurant at 345/ 640.6433 or email reservationsgcm@michaelsgenuine.com.  Cheers!


Tostones with marinated rock shrimp
Kimchi Quesadilla
Chilled Onion Soup with marinated cucumbers

Cloudy Bay, Pelorus, New Zealand NV
A crisp, elegant sparkling wine from Marlborough, New Zealand. Pelorus is named after the famous dolphin of Cook Strait, the waters between the two main islands of New Zealand. Pelorus Jack guided ships through these treacherous waters from 1888 to 1912 and became the first dolphin to receive world protection. Pelorus is produced by the same method as Champagne and has the fresh acid and minerality of great Chardonnay dominated wines, perfect as an aperitif with our selection of snacks.

Local Snapper Crudo
guava, coconut milk, seasoning pepper, lime, puffed rice

Roter Veltliner, Leth, Scheiben, Wagram, Austria 2011
The small family winery of Leth has long been committed to maintaining heirloom grape stock and genetic diversity. They first started Austria’s first living grape variety museum in the 1970s and have now amassed 150 selections. While not on their endangered grape list, Roter Veltiner is the most ancient variety in the Veltliner family but has seen its plantings decline in favor of the more fashionable Grüner. When planted in a proper site and loved and cared for Roter produces an elegant wine with rich extract, supple texture and enormous aging potential. This single vineyard Roter is on the ripeness and quality level of a Wachau Smaragd even though it hails from the more humble Wagram. We love this wine with fish dishes that contain an element of sweetness. The intense tropical fruit notes pair in kind with the guava while the deceptive acidity brightness the dish.

Duck Confit
whipped calabaza, greens, pumpkin seed pesto

Frappato, COS, Sicily 2010
This clean expression of Frappato grape has a splash of Nero d’Avola for structure, producing a wine with delicate aromatics that is long and light on the palate, but versatile with food, we think of this wine as a Pinot Noir replacement. It should bring out the rustic, warm flavors of this dish’s components while cutting the richness in the confit. Azienda Agrícola COS is a winery founded in 1980 by three friends, among the youngest winemakers at the time in Italy, who simply wanted to produce quality wines using natural methods with no chemical usage in the vineyards and no sulfur in the winery— Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti and Strano Cirino. The acronym of their names is the name given to the winery. Described as a wine that you can drink by the bucketful!

Crispy Pork Belly
roasted apples, pickled cabbage, caraway, toasted almond

Skin fermented Pinot Grigio, La Castellada, Collio, Italy 2007
This is a Pinot Grigio like no other. Most Grigio is produced to be as plain and neutral as possible totally ignoring that the grape is actually light red when fully ripe. This wine gains its orange color from extended skin maceration which also results in substantial tannin as well. This tannin makes the wine an incredible pairing with fatty meat dishes, especially in the Cayman heat when you may not always want to drink a red. Collio Goriziano is situated in the south-east province of Gorizia, in Italy’s most north-eastern region, Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Its wines show Slavic and Germanic traits, having once been part of the Venetian Republic and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The area was only annexed to Italy in 1918, just after WWI. The name Collio means ‘hillsides’, which reflects the area’s terrain extending from the Judrio river in the west, up to the Slovenian border in the east. To the south is the Isonzo del Friuli DOC. Thanks to the zone’s excellent terroir, which includes calcerous marl and flysch sandstone soils that nurture an incredible array of grape varieties, its reputation for high-quality white wines is justified. In fact it is arguably Friuli-Venezia Giulia’s top-ranking DOC.

Grass Fed Tenderloin of Beef
piperade, kale panade, roasted garlic, hot sauce, porcini worchestershire

Nebbiolo, Giacomo Borgogno, Riserva, Barolo, Piedmont 1997
Borgogno is one of the great traditional houses of Piedmont. The wines are often overlooked for flashier more modern producers who use new French oak barrels and modern equipment like roto fermentors, these wines are almost historical pieces which harken back to the time when Barolo needed decades to reach drinkability. Before they are shipped to market all Riserva bottles are opened, checked for quality, decanted to remove sediment, topped off with the same vintage and then recorked. This time consuming process ensures the highest quality, properly aged Barolo reaches your glass. There is nothing better than a great piece of grass fed Beef to pair with Barolo with the earthy qualities in both marrying together.

Warm Chocolate Cake
coconut cream, salted caramel, banana gelato

Hétszőlő, 5 Puttonyos, Tokaj, Hungary 2001
If this rings any Genuine bells, it should — I first came across it in The Beverage Book at The Cypress Room’s After Dinner section. Tokaj-Hétszolo dessert wines are made from 100% Furmint grapes at the Tokaj-Hétszolo Estate, which lies on the south side of Mount Tokaj in the north of Hungary, 200 km east of Budapest. This part of the world is known for its exceptional growing climate; and in fact, has been protected since 1772 by the first appellation of origin awarded in the entire world, and annually was visited by a legion of Cossacks to bring Catherine the Great her annual allocation for “medicinal purposes”. The Tokaj-Hétszolo grapes are left to “rot” or “Botrytise” on the vine and picked by hand as late as possible in the growing season with each Puttonyos indicating an increasing level of richness.

A Pork & Pinot Preface: Eric Larkee on Wines for Saturday’s Pairings Dinner in Grand Cayman

When Michael began talking about doing some more events in the Cayman restaurant his biggest caveat was “no boring wine dinners.”  Sommelier and Wine Director Eric Larkee says, “We wanted to do something that all of us would want to attend, with a bit of thought, and a raison d’etre if you pardon my French.”

One of the first ideas was from Director of Operations Charles Bell to do a dinner involving back vintage and/or oddball wines that people wouldn’t normally try. Another brainstorm yielded the Pork & Pinot theme which we ultimately landed on, and for which Larkee will fly down to the island with Chef on Saturday.  Why not combine one of our favorite animals, The Pig, with one our favorite grapes, Pinot Noir?  Both are versatile with a huge range in flavor profiles but still stay true to their roots. But in the Caribbean?  The two were up to the challenge with some help and local intel from chef Thomas on-island.

Pairing wines with Caribbean cuisine can seem daunting when the old adage, “What grows together goes together,” is thrown out the window in a local climate too hot for grape growing.  Larkee considers wine the last ingredient of a dish – the final element for a complete flavor profile and one of the few, important guiding principles around which he builds his lists.

“I always keep in mind that my choices need to be in step with as many different kinds of food preparations and ingredients that our chefs are working with in a seasonally-driven kitchen,” he explains. “In the tropics, whether you’re in Miami or Grand Cayman, it usually means you’re going to get a few curve balls. To work the way we want it, the list needs nimble, just like our daily-changing menu.”

Call 345.640.6433 or email reservationsgcm@michaelsgenuine.com to book a reservation for the dinner this Saturday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m.  The Pork and Pinot menu they arrived at can be found here.  Chef Thomas has been producing housemade meats as of late, as you could tell from my Instagram the last time I visited the island.  His Coppa will be passed with ham hock croquettes and pork rinds as Rosé is poured.

“We love using Rosé during receptions, something informal at a time when guests are socializing and nobody feels bad if the wine doesn’t get its full attention,” explains Larkee.  “That said, Domaine de Lambrays’ La Rose de Clos is a wine worth giving some thought to. About 90% of the fruit comes from the Grand Cru Clos de Lambrays with the balance from a neighboring Premier Cru. Beautiful red fruits dominate and the acidity will cut though the savoriness of the passed snacks.”

Francois Gaunoux, Pommard Premier Cru Les Epenots 2004 is  a fruitier style Pommard, still with a backbone of the iron-laced minerality.  Larkee continues, “I’ve had the opportunity to taste this wine numerous times over the last three and a half years, and I’m always shocked that this is from 2004. Wonderful fruit and ripeness (which was difficult that year!)”

Essentially with the 3 “regular” Pinots, you will see the wines increase in fruitiness and decrease in earthy qualities while moving from the coldest region, Burgundy to the hottest, California.

“The Adelsheim Vin de Glace is created like an ice wine. Oregon doesn’t get temperatures cold enough to create a natural ice wine so they bring the grapes into a commercial freezer before crushing them,” Larkee elaborates.  “I adore the fresh red fruits on this wine and the ice wine-style acidity. The freshness of this wine in unbelievable and a perfect sticky wine for people that don’t think they like dessert wine.”