Top 5 Ways to Make Your Big Day Special With Wine

When we think of wine, we often think of special occasions, celebrations, love, community and family. So, it's no question why wine plays an integral role at weddings. However, with all the stress that comes with planning the most important day of your life, some details can get overlooked. Every part of a wedding should have a special meaning or significance, so we hate seeing wine as an afterthought! Wine can be so much more than just a means for Aunt Milly to let loose on the dance floor; each wine has a unique story and flavor that can complement not just the food, but each element of the entire event. 

Below are a few ways a thoughtfully curated selection of wine can bring more delight and meaning to a wedding, or really any special event. 

wine regions
 

1. Spotlight Travel

Select wines from regions or countries you have traveled to or plan to visit. This is a great way to share some fun travel stories through wine and highlight an area that is special to you. 

vintage wine
 

2. Reveal Vintages

A great way to celebrate a union is to serve wines from years that represent milestones in a relationship. Consider the year you met, your birth years, or to make it a family affair, the years of your parents' wedding day as well. 

unique wine parings for events
 

3. Showcase Unique Pairings

Serving wines that pair well with a wide array of foods is key at a wedding.  Off the beaten path varieties or regions are usually great bets for versatility and value. Consider adding signage to your food and bar displays to encourage your guests to try suggested pairings. After all, wine and food are meant to be together!

boutique wine selection
 

4. Go Boutique

We all know how quickly expenses for events (especially weddings) can add up. Thankfully there are plenty of artisan-crafted wines that won't break the bank so you don't have to choose between quality and price. Don't settle for mass produced juice that everyone can get at their local big box store. A well curated selection of boutique wines is an easy way to elevate your big day. Ultimately, you don't want your guests to say that the wine was bad!

wine for events
 

5. Avoid Bad Hangovers

We have all had that moment looking back on weddings and thought, "oh man, I had a bit too much to drink that night..." If you're going to imbibe a little, an easy way to help avoid a bad hangover is to make sure your wine is high quality and not doused with additives. Usually the mass produced kind will contribute greatly to your day-after-woes, so go boutique as they usually follow sustainable, natural practices. The more natural, the better all around.


WINE FOR EVENTS

We curate artisan-crafted wines made in a sustainable fashion from all over the world for events, gifts, and cellars. Interested in learning more about how we can take the load off and elevate your big day? Contact us at wine@domainesomm.com

 

A (Couple) Day(s) in NYC: April Edition

Last month I had the pleasure of Gina's company as she travelled to NYC for two separate trips. Check out the highlights of our adventures below:

The   Rainbow Room   being set up for an event.  

The Rainbow Room being set up for an event.  

We started and ended our day overlooking New York City.  First, we had a tour of the historic, and recently renovated (2014) Rainbow Room.  We loved every square inch of it with all its beautiful grandeur.  (The window treatments are strings of Swarovski crystal!)  We couldn't help but make our way back to the restaurant next door, SixtyFive (open to the public), for a nice cold glass of wine to end our day.

The stunning view from   SixtyFive  .

The stunning view from SixtyFive.

In between trips to Rockefeller Center, we were able to fit in a few appointments, starting with a special tasting offered by the talented Cloud Catering & Events in Long Island City.  We were impressed by the table presentation (centerpieces custom created just for us!) and the food was fantastic.  Of note, a liquid nitrogen demonstration which resulted in frozen s'mores.  Need I say more?  

Liquid nitrogen station by   Cloud Catering & Events .

Liquid nitrogen station by Cloud Catering & Events.

Our final appointment (before wine) was a site visit at the stunning Morgan Library & Museum. This museum and event space has several venues to choose from for hosting events, which range in size from a small meeting room housed within the historic town home to the massive subterranean theater.  We highly recommend a visit (and if you're around this month, you can enjoy their Warhol by the Book exhibit, which features Andy Warhol's career as a book artist)!

Gina's second trip to NYC included two wine cocktail demonstrations; the first at One World Trade Center and the second at NYC & Co.'s offices. We had the best time encouraging unique wine cocktail combinations using bitters, shrubs, and Schramsberg.  And the participants discovered that chocolate bitters with quince shrubs isn't so crazy after all! 

The artwork at the entrance of One World Trade Center.

The artwork at the entrance of One World Trade Center.

We ended with a light, refreshing meal at Rebelle.  We shared everything and particularly loved the appetizers of white asparagus, buerre blanc, summer truffle and the kohlrabi, daikon, brebis, buckwheat (pictured below).  Until next time!

3-Course Wine Dinner at Home

We've teamed up with the talented Tracy Memoli of the food & travel blog, Suite & Savory, to bring you a 3-course wine dinner at home! This lovely Italian focused dinner with wine pairings for each course starts with a caprese salad, followed by Linguine con le Vongole and ends with sweet and savory poached figs & ricotta for dessert that will definitely WOW your guests! Each recipe is seven steps or less, serves 4, and much can be prepped in advance, so you have more time to spend with your guests.

Easy Caprese Salad

This is great as a salad, appetizer or a main course.  I like using large heirloom tomatoes for this salad. Not only do the the heirloom tomatoes provide a beautiful color contrast on the plate, but the taste is also richer than regular tomatoes. Another tip to make the flavors of this salad stand out - make sure you choose a great olive oil. Here, I’m using Château d’Estoublon, it’s an extra virgin olive oil from the Provence region of France. The flavors from this olive oil are intense and really bring out the flavors of the heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil.

WINE PAIRING:

INGREDIENTS:

For the appetizer we suggest a bubbly like Franciacorta, which is made in the traditional champagne method, but is Italian! Or a textural white wine made with Italian grape variety, Ribolla Gialla, such as the blend from Matthiasson, which will offer just the right amount of weight to match the mozzarella. 

  • 3 large heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 lb. mozzarella
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (or more depending on taste)
  • A dash of salt and pepper

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. Slice tomatoes and mozzarella and arrange on a large plate, alternating slices of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
2. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
3. Place in the refrigerator and chill for approximately 10-15 minutes before serving.

Linguine con le Vongole

Linguine con le Vongole is one of my absolute favorite dishes to make for friends and family! It’s a recipe that has been in my family for many years. I love putting my own modern twist on traditional family recipes. In this dish, I like using a mixture of red and green tomatoes, which adds a nice unique flavor to the sauce. And for the WOW factor, I love to serve linguine and clams in a bread bowl!

WINE PAIRING:

INGREDIENTS:

For the main course it's important not to go too heavy, but equally important to have flavor that can stand up to the complexity of this dish. Try the Heitz Cellars Grignolino which is a lighter Italian red variety made in Napa Valley. Or, for a white wine option, try a slightly briny one such as Vermentino from the Liguria region of Italy. 

  • 1 ½ lbs. little neck clams (scrubbed)
  • 1 ½ lbs. manila clams (scrubbed)
  • 1 oval-shaped sourdough loaf
  • ½ package chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1 chopped green tomato
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped garlic
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 box of linguine
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
     

DIRECTIONS:

1. Start with a large oval-shaped sourdough loaf, coring out the center, leaving the base. Depending on the size of your dinner party, you could opt for smaller loaves to give each guest their own personal bread bowl.

Optional: save the extra bread to dice up and serve along with the dish, which is great for dipping into the broth at the bottom! For this recipe, I’m using Amy’s Bread, one of my favorite bakeries in NYC. You can usually find an oval-shaped loaf of bread at your local supermarket. Coat the oval-shaped loaf with butter and set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in the linguine and cook according to the directions on the box.

3. While the pasta is cooking, coat a large skillet with olive oil and on medium heat sauté garlic just until golden brown.

4. Add tomatoes and wine and cook for approximately 5-10 minutes over medium heat.

5. Once the tomatoes are cooked, add the clams, thyme and parsley, cover and cook until the clams open up, approximately 10 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open.

6. While the clams are cooking, right before you’re ready to serve the dish, just pop the oval-shaped loaf into the broiler on low heat for just a few minutes – toasting the bread until golden brown. Remove from the oven.

7. Combine all ingredients into the bread bowl and serve.

 

Poached Turkish Figs, Ricotta & Pistachios

What I love about this dish, is that it’s so versatile - what dish can you serve as an appetizer and dessert? A few come to mind, but none are as simple, sweet and little savory as this dessert. Poached figs and ricotta is the ultimate light dessert, perfect after lots of pasta and wine! And you can make this dessert ahead of time, just keep it chilled in the fridge and plate it all together after dinner.

WINE PAIRING:

INGREDIENTS:

For a lighter style dessert such as this one, you don't want the sweetness in your wine to overpower the dessert. We recommend going with a wine that has a slight sweetness such as Asti Spumante or an off-dry white. 

  • 10 oz. figs (approx. 10 figs)
  • ¾ lb. fresh ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 orange peels
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • ½  cup of pistachios (chopped)
  • A dash of cinnamon

 

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan combine 3 cups water, sugar, cinnamon and sticks, orange peels, orange juice, honey and bring almost to a boil then add in the (whole) figs.

2. Reduce heat to medium and cover partially for about 8- 10 minutes.

3. Remove figs and transfer to a bowl to cool.

4. Also remove the saucepan from the heat and cool, you’ll want to use this fig simple syrup when plating the dessert. You’ll have enough of the simple syrup leftover that you’ll probably want to refrigerate it and make fig martinis!

5. While the figs are cooling, chop about 1/2 cup of pistachios.

6. Once the figs are cooled, remove the stems and slice in half.

7. Using a small dessert plate or bowl, arrange 2-3 dates, a dollop of ricotta cheese, a spoonful of the fig simple syrup and garnish with pistachios.
 

WINE FOR EVENTS

Impress your guests at your next event with delicious wines to pair with your menu. Our team of sommeliers curate custom selections based on your menu or theme and deliver them to your location. Start enjoying by contacting wine@domainesomm.com

CIA Sommelier Summit Recap

As Sommeliers and Event Planners at Domaine Somm, we are always looking for ways to build upon our knowledge and learn more about new trends in our industry. The Sommelier Summit at the CIA in Napa Valley was a 3-day program we attended last week, filled with classes and workshops led by some of the most prestigious wine & food professionals. It was a star-studded event with Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine and renowned chefs and winemakers. The programming was filled with everything from blind tastings and sake master classes to wine pairings on the fly and even yoga at a vineyard! We soaked it all up. Here are our highlights from this jam-packed and educational summit:

yoga at a vineyard

The Sommelier Summit kicked off with small groups of off-site, "pre-summit sessions". There were several activity options, but we chose yoga at a vineyard, (I mean get a load of that view!) The class was lead by Christie Dufault, an associate professor at the CIA (and yoga instructor). The landscape was gorgeous and it was the perfect way to center us for the next few days, which were filled with lots of wine and learning! 

Riesling Class Sommelier Summit

One of our favorite classes was "Riesling: Old World, New World, Out of This World". In this class we learned about the weather, winemaking, stylistic and regional trends in all the different regions across the world that are producing Riesling. Including Michigan! (GO BLUE!) The panel included winemakers such as Ernst Loosen of the famed Dr. Loosen Winery, located in the Mosel, Germany, as well as importers that specialize in Riesling. 

One class that was particularly inspiring was "Nouvelle Vague". This class was lead by chef Rolland Passot of La Folie, and Master Sommeliers Andrea Robinson and Gilles de Chambure. We discussed classic French wine and food pairings as well as the direction of modern French cuisine and the challenges that it brings to sommeliers. The class was split up into teams and we were tasked with finding the perfect French wines to accompany each dish in a 5-course meal of modern French cuisine. Each dish had a distinct wine pairing challenge. We are happy to say our team did very well! While coming up with our pairings, we made sure to keep in mind not only flavors, texture and composition, but also a few classic pairing "philosophies" such as: "What grows together goes together." or, "Does it compliment the dish, or contrast the dish?".

 

This pairing class was followed by the high energy, game show type class "BYOB: Pairing on the Fly" We were all handed a "voting machine" remote control and were given 4 wines blind to pair with 3 separate dishes. We were allowed 3 minutes to taste each dish with each wine and make our decision as to which wine paired best. 

wine pairing class

Food & Wine is an ever-evolving industry; it is important to keep an open mind, and continue to learn to stay on the pulse! The CIA did a great job of keeping the classes professional, educational, and fun. We look forward to attending the Sommelier Summit in 2017!