• 73°
franklin county times

Winemaker's Dinner: An evening of exceptional food and wine

By By Stan Torgerson / wine columnist
May 1, 2002
Every once in a while I have the opportunity to see how the other half lives. The other half doesn't worry about price. They want the best because they can afford the best. When they dine, they want it to be an experience. When they drink wine, bottle cost is not a factor.
Last week, the Silver Star entertained several visiting winemakers or winery representatives with a Winemaker's Dinner and a selection of wines that plainly showed how high the quality level has risen at their casino. My wife and I were fortunate enough to be invited.
Fresh oysters with three different sauces. Morsels of lobster with avocado and pan-seared foie gras. A wild game platter that included peppercorn black buck antelope, crepinette of boar tenderloin and blue crabmeat, pan-smoked breast of duckling with sun-dried cherry syrup, all were among the specialties of this six course meal.
But the wines selected added to both the food and the evening. They were wonderful, taken from the list represented by distributor Norm Rush. Many of you will remember him as the man who brought the Australian, the Spanish and the blending wine tastings to Meridian. The man knows his business.
Featured were a 1986 Krug Champagne ($250 per bottle, minimum), a German Bernkastler Doctor Riesling Spatlese, the King Reserve Pinot Gris, Australia's Clarendon Hills Shiraz, a Thomas Fogerty from Napa Valley and others.
Later, when the fabulous evening had ended, we talked with the Silver Star's sommelier, Grady Griffin, and their new chef for Phillip M's outstanding restaurant, Stafford DeCambra. We looked for a secret to the success of an evening such as this.
Do they select the wine first and then the food or the food first and then the wine? Griffin said it could go either way. In this case they selected the food first and then the wine.
Does he tastes wines with a mind to match the proper wine with the proper food?
Griffin, the sommelier, said it is not unusual for him to taste a new wine, go to the kitchen and say, "Stafford, you're going to want to cook something with this." Griffin says It is one of the joys of what they do, always searching for the magical food and wine pairing."
DeCambra is a member of the American Culinary Association and says he is always looking for new ways to prepare food. He travels extensively to attend meetings or seminars. Based on that dinner, he has learned well.
Griffin, too, says he is always learning, traveling, attending wine events in an effort to extend his knowledge.
Many restaurant owners, as well as some major package stores, complain about the limited selection on the state's wine list. All wines sold in Mississippi must be purchased by the merchant from the state warehouse.
The selection is substantially less than that to be found in New Orleans, for example, where distributors can buy and sell without state interference.
He says they keep something for everyone on the Silver Star wine list, from the inexpensive South American cabernet to a 1961 $4,000 bottle of Bordeaux.
Griffin says the wine market at his restaurant is growing by leaps and bounds.

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Thomas Randall Miller

Franklin County

Community Spirit Bank announces promotion

Franklin County

Police search underway for man wanted in three states

Franklin County

Local students earn collegiate honors

East Franklin

PHOTOS: East Franklin Junior High awards honors

News

Traveling band makes stop at Phil Campbell High School

News

Russellville Parks and Rec holds adult sandlot softball game

Galleries

PHOTOS: Community celebrates Fourth of July with annual Jam on Sloss Lake

News

Second Canadian Phil greeted by town

Franklin County

Franklin County Schools lead nurse school nurse named administrator of the year

News

Former Russellville resident performs in ‘Miracle Worker’

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville, Red Bay public libraries enjoy summer reading program events

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight: Robbie Richardson

News

University of Mississippi announces spring Chancellor’s Honor Roll

News

PHOTOS: Community turns out for Phil Campbell Festival

Franklin County

University of Alabama announces spring graduates

Franklin County

Dean’s, president’s lists students named for UA spring term

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Hugh Plott

Galleries

PHOTOS: Inaugural downtown Russellville Art Crawl winners

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville Public Library holds princess, pirates bounce party

Franklin County

Northwest Shoals Community College signs 24 students in FAME class

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Tony Chard

News

Car show benefit helps raise needed funds

News

Russellville High School varsity cheerleaders attend UCA cheer camp

x