The private dining room at Abbott’s Grill was packed Saturday, January 11 as over sixty individuals gathered to enjoy wine pairings prepared by Abbott’s own Bernie Knollinger. Knollinger has been a wine connoisseur for over twenty years and perfected his understanding of wines as he became a member of the Wine Century Club, a privilege given to individuals who have tried more than 100 different wine grape varieties. With over 1,200 members in the United States, Bernie is proud to say that over 50 of those members are from the state of Delaware.
This year’s wine tasting event at Abbott’s Grill, paired wines from South America with delicious dished prepared by exquisite chefs Kevin Reading and Ryan Cunningham. Attendees began with a Terrazas Torrontes, a wine that includes notes of passion fruit, lychee, banana and ginger, paired with linguica ravioli.
“This year we have had a warm winter so I thought it would be nice to feature some wines from South America,” commented Knollinger. “There are some really unusual grapes you can find only in those Southern parts.” Bernie points to the Carménère grape variety that was originally planted in Bordeux, France. These grapes were imported to Chile over 150 years ago and are almost impossible to find in France today. After the Phylloxera plague nearly destroyed vineyards across Europe in 1867, farmers simply did not replant the Carménère grape.
Course two of the tasting featured a Cuevas del Sur Sauvignon Blanc, a wine known for its grapefruit and tree fruit notes, alongside a Charcuterie Plate.The following course antelope sliders were paired with a dante robino bonarda, a full-bodied wine that can be found in the Andes Mountains. Bernie believes that wine should be enjoyed by all levels of wine enthusiasts and that while there are so many wines to choose from it is all about having fun.
“Wine should be fun, do not worry about being snobbish, do what you like,” commented Bernie. “The only thing I recommend to people is that when you are having food from a specific region, pick the wine that comes from that same region, it was made to fit together.”
The afternoon was rounded out with a venison stew paired with a El Supremo Malbec and Root One Cabernet Sauvignon accompanied by a bacon brownie with Guinness ice cream. Abbott’s Grill will be hosting its next Wine event, The Valentine’s Wine Dinner, on Saturday, February 8. At $60 per person, the evening will include four courses. To make a reservation individuals need to call Abbott’s Grill in Milford, located at 249 NE Front Street in downtown, at 302-491-6736.