Our Take – Of course we've had the Vermentino from Raffaldini Vineyards before – and really enjoy its clean nose with a finish of citrus and pear. This wine contains no oak and has a nice lingering taste in the mouth. The slight peppered finish of this wine paired well with a healthy mouthful of apples and peppercorns. Then add to it the mild buttery taste of the shrimp. Magnifico!
Second Course – Smoked trout with Cheerwine-poached sour cherries, toasted nutmeg pecan butter, herb Krispy Kreme croutons and charred onions.
Our Take – We're having red wine with trout? That seems odd. Yeah, that was some of the thoughts of people at our table. But after we tried the trout and the two red wines, we all knew this was a great pairing. Our favorite part of the plate was getting a Krispy Kreme crouton and some of the cherries together for an instant taste of our childhood – the pairing tasted like one of those old Hostess cherry fruit pies. As for the wines, they were both good, but the Cabernet beat out the Merlot – only by a bit.
Wine Pairing – Jones von Drehl 2012 Reserve Petit Verdot
Our Take – This was our favorite pairing of the evening. The pork cheeks paired perfectly with the wine – and pretty much all our tablemates agreed. We've had many Petit Verdot's from very earthy to incredibly smooth – this wine resides somewhere in the middle, which made it the best balanced wine for a dish like this. Not only did it go well with the main component, but also with the sweet potatoes and the collards.
Our Take – We love our pork belly, and thought lamb belly would be just as good. It wasn't bad, but was also hard to eat. We tried eating like baby-back ribs. That didn't work. We tried cutting between the ribs – that was a lot of work. In the end, we did eat most of it, but have to admit, it was a little to 'fatty' to pair with the robust red blend. Usually fatty meats pair well with a ripe Tannet – but not this time. We were hoping for a little something better to pair with what was the Best in Show wine in this year's competition.
Dessert – Fall for You: pumpkin cake, bourbon pecans, tart cranberry sauce, pumpkin whip, cookie butter ice cream
Wine Pairing – Surry Cellars 2013 Iced Petit Manseng
Our Take – This dessert was the embodiment of Fall. It was simply to die for and paired so nicely with the Ice Petit Manseng from Surry Cellars. Pastry Chef Brittany Grantham outdid herself. We could have this for dessert every day!