The private dining room at Abbott’s Grill was packed Saturday, July 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 France with delicious dished prepared by exquisite chefs Kevin Reading and Paul Gallo. Attendees began with a Sweet Corn Vichyssoise with Truffle & Tomato paired with Chateau La Graviere. La Graviere is a traditional blend of Sauvignon Blanc with some added Semillon to provide body and a little honeysuckle character. Aromas of lemon and grass lead through to an almost silky finish.
Celebrating Bastille Day, Knollinger shared his favorite French wines and educated participants on what each can be paired with. “French wines are very sophisticated. I was scared when I first started but I became more comfortable as I experienced them more,” said Knollinger. “I want people to feel more comfortable with these wines, they are great with food.”
Course two of the tasting featured Coquille St. Jacque with Scallop, Mushroom & Cream paired with Simmonet Saint Bris. The wine subtly captures the vibrant, fresh and elegant style of the classic Loire valley Sauvignon Blancs. In the glass, the wine presents lively aromas of lemon zest, a touch of grassiness and hints of tropical fruit. On the palate it reveals tart lime, green apple, a stony minerality and brisk acidity on the mouth-watering finish.
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 third course featured a Foie Terrine with Cherry Jam, Brioche & Pistachio paired with Louis Latour Montagny. The La Grande Roche 2013 has a beautiful pale yellow color with green highlights. On the nose fruity notes of fresh apples and pears emerge. The mouth is ample and round with nice floral notes.
The forth course featured Crispy Duck Breast with Ratatouille paired with Louis Latour Valmouissine Pinot Noir. The Domaine de Valmoissine has a lovely ruby red color with garnet tints. It has an intense nose with aromas of Morello cherries. It is harmonious in the mouth with slightly young tannins which will soon become fine and silk-smooth. It is a wonderfully balanced wine.
The afternoon was rounded out with Chocolate Truffles with Raspberry Bavarois and Grand Marnier Syrup featuring Kermit Lynch Cotes du Rhone. A pure ruby color in the bowl, Lynch’s 2012 Cotes du Rhone bursts with plump cherry and red currant fruit backed by floral suggestions of garrigue and violets. Soft, spicy and totally delicious, the wine saturates the palate with cherry and Seville orange fruit, fine tannins and lively acidity. Long and lush, the wine leaves the palate with floral and herbal sensations of violets, lavender, red rose petals and cherry blossoms.
Abbott’s Grill will be hosting its next Wine event on Saturday, August 8 from 12 to 2pm. The event will include wines from Australia & New Zealand. Tastings are $35 per person and will be paired with tapas style dishes. To make a reservation individuals can call Abbott’s Grill in Milford, located at 249 NE Front Street in downtown, at 302-491-6736.