Tasting Menu: By The Glass

If a class is only as good as its teacher, you’re in perfect hands when it comes to wine pairings to accompany the tasting menu at Twist. Wine Director Will Costello definitely has an agenda when it comes to the pairings. “Wine is about passion. There are winemakers out there who handcraft small lots, pouring their heart and soul into a product. However, it’s easy to overlook amazing wines when you are in your comfort zone. But I can get you to try them through the tasting menus.”

RIESLING KABINETT AND THE FOIE GRAS
“Most Americans think of Rieslings as sweet, but they can run the gamut from bone dry and austere to a dessert wine. Kabinett has the lowest level possible of ripeness to it; it’s just ripe enough but has more passion fruit tartness to it, lemongrass, a little herbal, lots of lime zest, and kaffir lime and sweet key lime at the same time. It’s not too plush; the bit of sweetness with the nice tart flavors make you go, Wow! The torchon and terrine of foie gras has a passion fruit gelee and charred onion that has a ‘sweaty’ character as it caramelizes. It works well with the Kabinett because the wine homes in on the freshness. It shows off the sweetness of the onion.”

VERMENTINO AND THE DORADE
“The dorade is charred on the grill and presented with a tomato purée: a sundried tomato paste with black olives in it and a bit of light herbs. This dish is Mediterranean all the way. It says: ‘I’m from Italy or Corsica or Provence. The olives’ bitterness plays nicely with the sweet tomatoes, but you have to be careful as black olives are very earthy and rich and can take over a dish. The vermentino works well here as it is a power wine with a lot of aromatics. It has lots of jasmine and honeysuckle flowers, and just a little richness in the midpalate with a touch of bitterness. Its midweight stands up to the texture of the fish. It doesn’t cleanse like the Riesling does; it harmonizes with its flaky, oily texture.”

BORDEAUX BLANC AND THE HADDOCK
“The haddock is smoked with a light cauliflower gratin and then glazed over the top with a rich sauce that is a little sweet. It’s a fish dish with sweet, lightly herbal characteristics of bell pepper. With this, I pair a Bordeaux blanc whose dominant grape is sauvignon blanc and a good portion of semillon. When you put sauvignon blanc in oak, it tends to get more savory and you end up with textures like vanilla cream, cream soda, celery seed, and butterscotch toffee. The oak acts as
a foil to the acidity. It’s still bright and fresh but it makes the wine broader. It sits midpalate from the weight and the softness, and so it’s about bringing in the tart characteristics to match the bell pepper in the dish.”

GRAN RESERVA RIOJA AND THE CHANTERELLE SOUP
“One of the wow dishes on the menu is the chanterelle soup with the morels and coffee ravioli. It’s a velouté, which means velvety; it’s very rich and intense. People tend to know Rioja but not why they like them so much. It’s a perfect wine to introduce you to the old world. A lot of producers use American oak in their Rioja, which has a lot of vanilla, butterscotch, coconut, and dill. When you take an austere, dry wine with good acidity and you add American oak, people who don’t usually drink old-world wines like it. After aging, it’s a lot more earth-driven with that kind of sweetness that comes from a hot region. And so it pairs well with a dish about mushrooms that grow in moist soil. It has really ripe fruit but is dry at the same time.”

SHIRAZ FROM AUSTRALIA AND SYRAHS FROM NEW ZEALAND AND THE WAGYU BEEF
“The Wagyu beef with a bit of black pepper tends to be fatty. This is where you need something with high acid to cut through, as opposed to a textural match like the other wines. Here I recommend two Shiraz from Australia: Grange from Penfolds, which is one of the greatest red wines in the whole world, and a cool-climate Shiraz from Yarra Yering: ‘Dry Red Wine No. 2.’ Likewise, Craggy Range is a cool- climate Syrah from the North Island of New Zealand. In that same area, Hobbs Bay, is another winery called Elephant Hill, where if you walk 25 paces from their front door, your feet will literally be in the ocean—it’s that coastal! Lots of clouds, lots of fog, lots of afternoon breezes to cool down the wine and contribute to that acid structure that you need for this dish.”

ALBORINO AND THE TARTINE
“One of our vegetarian options is a tartine: a toasted French baguette, lightly oiled, topped with heirloom tomatoes and a bit of basil. It’s very much along the same lines as a burrata cheese salad; just a bit of sweetness from the tomatoes and those herbal qualities. That’s where a light wine like alboriño comes into play. It’s a cool-climate, high-acid- structure wine, with a bit of weight. It’s similar to a pinot grigio, whereas it coats your mouth. It’s very neutral, sort of a Goldilocks and the Three Bears kind of wine—it’s not too sharp, it’s not too alcoholic, it fits perfectly in the middle.”

MACULAN AND THE ASPARAGUS RISOTTO
“Using carnaroli rice stirred with vegetable stock and tossed with a bit of oil and asparagus, this is a super straightforward dish with no cream, and so you do build up a lot of starch from the rice itself. To counter this, you need a wine with high acidity to cut through, or else your mouth
is going to tell your brain you can eat only about three bites. Maculan is a winery in Veneto in Northern Italy well known for their sweet wines, but they also make a cabernet merlot blend that is quite unlike the cabernets from Bordeaux, California, or Chile. It’s totally different. Again, it’s that idea of introducing varietals that people are comfortable with but from another angle.”

RIVESALTES AND DESSERT
“Rivesaltes in Roussillon, France, is a sweet wine and some of the oldest-aging wine in France. It’s not like a Sauternes that most people know about. It’s a good example of pouring a grape guests have not heard of, and hopefully they fall in love with them.”

TASTING MENU

PAN-SEARED DORADE AND “LEMONY” SQUID

Asparagus Custard with Asparagus Tips,

Black Olives, Capers,
and Dried Tomatoes
Rocca delle Macie, “Occhio a Vento,” Vermentino, Tuscany, Italy 2011

SCALLOP AND SMOKED HADDOCK MOUSSELINE

White Cabbage, Bell Peppers, and Snow Peas
Broccoli Purée
Château de France, Bordeaux Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, France 2010

INTERMEZZO

Cucumber Gelée
Pear and Gorgonzola Ice Cream Rhubarb Mousse with Red Currant

CHANTERELLE SOUP

Coffee-Morel Ravioli

Peppered Shrimp and English Peas

Bodegas Ontañon, “Gran Reserva,” Rioja, Spain 2001

GRILLED BEEF IN HERB BUTTER

Sliced Eggplant, Chorizo,
and Tomme de Savoie

Summer Ramps and Potato Crisps

Craggy Range, “Gimblett Gravels Vineyard,” Syrah, Hawkes Bay,

New Zealand 2010

GRAND DESSERT

PIERRE GAGNAIRE
Nine Conduit Street; Arugula

Financier, Cucumber, Pistachio

Chantilly, Green Apple Tuile,

and Sorbet
Crumbly Shortbread;
Black Currant Syrup, Apple, and

Passion Fruit Marmalade

Multicolored Meringue; Polignac

Almond, Ganache with Old Rum

Lemon Jelly with Limoncello;

Chocolate Ice Cream

Mango Velouté and Wedges;

Raspberry Sorbet;

Coconut Milk with Lime

Domaine Cazes, “Ambre,” Rivesaltes, France 2001

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