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Friday, February 24, 2012

Networking with Long Island Wedding Professionals and Pairing Wines with Marneycakes

This week, Chef Marney White of Marneycakes, Inc. and I worked together again on another networking gathering for wedding professionals and vendors.  Aside from how productive these gatherings are, they’re fun as well.  For more information on the vendors in attendance, check out Marney’s blog post http://marneycakes.blogspot.com/?v=0
Aside from presenting a few wines at the events while vendors discuss goals and network, I have the pleasure of pairing a few dessert wines to some of Marney’s delicious cakes.
This time with our cheeses (brie and emmentaler), I chose the 2009 Pierre Sparr Alsace Riesling, 2010 E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rose, and 2009 Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir.  My goal for the evening was to show good quality, dependable wines perfect for transitioning into spring, for under $20, and all of these wines were well received.

The lineup - Pierre Sparr Riesling, E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rose, Louis Jadot Pinot Noir, Duck Walk Aphrodite Gewurztraminer, and Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui

At the last networking event, the Riesling I chose was sweet - the Dr. Hans Von Muller Auslese from Mosel, as I had paired it with cakes.  This time, I wanted to show a dryer Riesling, Alsace style - light in color with characteristics of lime, gentle spice, and blossom, dryer, bright acidity, and higher alcohol content, and this is the wine I chose to open with.  Pierre Sparr has long been one of my favorite Alsatian producers and as usual, the wine did not disappoint.  Easy to find in wine shops and relatively inexpensive, my wine racks at home aren’t complete without Riesling and Gewurztraminer from Pierre Sparr.
Next was the dry Rose.  It’s one of my regular goals to show a difference between dry Rose and white Zinfandel (I cringe just writing it) - perhaps some wine drinkers have gotten their start by drinking white Zinfandel, but it pains me, how often I have to tell people that Zinfandel is actually red, and that if they want a pink wine, by all means, go for a dry Rose.  I tried so many dry Rose last year and the easiest one to locate in wine shops is from the always dependable E. Guigal, from Cotes du Rhone - a fairly inexpensive and very food friendly blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 5% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre, bright pink with characteristics of red fruit, strawberry, and a bit of earth.  Now, how could anyone choose white Zinfandel over such a fun dry Rose?
The last wine before the cake and wine pairing was the Louis Jadot Pinot Noir.  I’m well aware that lots of people have been enjoying Pinot Noir these past several years - in fact, when we were discussing wine’s increasing popularity in the United States, Marney pointed out that we owe that, at least in part, to Sideways - and it’s no secret that Pinot Noir saw an increase in popularity after Sideways.  But it was important to me to explain some of the differences between American/New World style Pinot Noir, and French Burgundian Pinot Noir - how the wine I’d be pouring at our gathering would show characteristics of cherry, herb, earthiness, and have bright acidity, and would feel different from American Pinot Noir, and in all likelihood have lower alcohol content.  This Pinot Noir was a perfect match with the brie and emmentaler.  Louis Jadot is currently my go-to Pinot Noir when pouring for gatherings.
Then it was time for Marney to serve samples of her cakes - and the two cakes she chose were her yellow buttermilk cake with peach-Prosecco filling and almond icing, and the Mexican Hot Chocolate cake.  For the yellow cake, I had chosen the 2010 Duck Walk Aphrodite Late Harvest Gewurztraminer (ice wine style), as I usually like to choose at least one wine from our local Long Island wineries.  The pairing was perfect, as the wine is sweet and golden, and shows characteristics of lychee (indicative of Gewurztraminer), and ripe orchard fruit including peach and apricot, mirroring the peach flavor in the filling of the cake.  With the Mexican Hot Chocolate cake, I had selected the Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui from Piemonte, a sparkling sweet red perfect for pairing with chocolate desserts.  Again, I was very pleased with this pairing.  It’s such a fun wine and perfect for ending an evening, especially with chocolate.  I love showing the versatility of Italian wine, as so many people associate Italian wine with Chianti and Pinot Grigio only.

Preparing to pair wine with Marneycakes

I look forward to more of our networking events and doing business with such talented, dependable vendors, and of course I look forward to pairing more wines with Marney’s amazing cakes!

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