The gauntlet was thrown down, the challenge accepted, and the Dueling ‘Sommeliers’ Dinner was held June 12, 2013 for the Cincinnati Mondiale. Our contenders at this Affair of Honor, two local wine experts Mary Horn and Rob Owens, made their perfect wine pairing choices for each of four fabulous courses prepared by Funky’s Catering. Forty eight fortunate members and guests relished the food and wine while listening to the explanations for the wine selection for each course. This spectacular evening was held at the Ohio Valley Wine and Beer facility, “sister” company to Heidelberg Distributing Company. Ohio Valley Wine and Beer services retailers are in 8 counties within Ohio and Kentucky. The company started out as a “one man, one truck operation” when founder Albert Vontz decided to drive 60 miles every day from Covington, Kentucky to Dayton, Ohio to sell beer to local retailers. Al Vontz, III, one of the third generation leaders of this prominent 75 year old company, served as our host for the evening’s tournament.
As guests arrived, Roederer Estate Brut L’Ermitage 2003 was served with a variety of passed hor d’ouvres including aritchoke bottoms with potato-goat cheese puree and pomegranate glazed Faroe Island salmon canapes. The first course of carrot bisque with goat cheese foam and red butter crunch lettuce with roasted vegetable terrine was paired with Etude Pinot Gris 2011 and Domaine Pallieres Gigondas Rosé 2012. A clear wine champion for this course was difficult to gauge, as guests seemed evenly thrilled by both of the two wines.
The evening continued with a second course of poached ocean trout paired with Tenula Carretta Barbara d’Alba 2010 and Pont Neuf Chardonnay 2011. We then were wowed by a 2009 Louis Latour Volnay Burgundy as well as a 2011 Sandhi Pinot Noir paired with a chestnut & date duck roulade. As a grand finale, Merlot marinated bistro filet with black truffle compound butter was paired with Chateau Le Fleur Cardinale 2008 and Macauley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from the Beckstoffer ToKalon Vineyard 2005.
Just as the denouement appeared inescapable and a discernible victor in the competition seemed unlikely, a third contestant entered the playing field. During the final course, Mike Monnin, Vice Echanson shared a spectacular “surprise wine”. The Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia 2008 was served to an appreciative crowd. The 96 point (Robert Parker) wine was a perfect ending to an amazing event. While everyone was loathe to leave, it was agreed the event could not have been more memorable. We were all amazed and grateful for the efforts of all of our wine and food experts which made this an “over the top” evening for all of us.
Graig Smith, Vice Chargé de Presse