Sullivan’s Vintner’s Dinner


Wednesday night, October 15th, Paul and I hosted a vintner’s dinner at Sullivan’s in Houston.  This is an annual event that we really enjoy.  The room is intimate, the ambiance comfortably elegant, and the people who come year after year are like family.  It seems almost a family reunion.  VIP’s Ross and Dawn Asher and Hal Edwin joined the fun.  Hugs, kisses, jokes, and much laughter always accompany great food well paired with wonderful Messina Hof wines.  My philosophy is that the food should make the wine “sing”.  Wine is the constant of the meal and food is the variable so the chef must tailor each dish to maximize the palate pleasure of the wine and food.  Unfortunately, many chef’s are all about the food and the result is often a missed moment of wine “singing”.  Sullivan’s gets it right consistently.  This menu was no exception so I thought I would share it with you.

First Course
Salmon Mouse in Cucumber Cup
Smoked Pork Loin with Rosemary Aioli on Rice Cracker
Spicy Tuna Tartar on Toast Points
Served with Messia Hof “Father and Son” Riesling 2007

These were paired with the Messina Hof Riesling which is slightly sweet. The Riesling had just enough acidity to complement the smokey salmon and just enough sweetness to balance the spice in the tuna.

Second Course
Shellfish Risotto
Messina Hof Unoaked Chardonnay 2006

The Unoaked Chardonnay surprised so many people. They were accustomed to oaky Chardonnays and, in fact, many of them did not drink Chardonnays because of the oak. This wine is clean and crisp and very fruit forward. It perfectly complemented the scallops, shrimp and mussels in the dish.

Third Course
Pomegranate Vinaigrette Salad with Walnuts, Gorgonzola Cheese and Dried Cranberries
Messina Hof Private Reserve Shiraz 2004

Many people are surprised that we serve red wines with salads. If the dressing is right and the ingredients in the salad have enough flavor weight for the wine, these are some of my favorite combinations. The cheese, walnuts, and cranberries in this salad were perfect with the wine.

Fourth Course
Chateau Briand over Shoestring Sweet Potatoes Finished with a Red Wine Reduction
Paulo Bordeaux Blend

What a fabulous combination this was. The meat was perfectly prepared with the mushroom in wine reduction and beautifully highlighted the Paulo which is blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.

Fifth Course
Double Chocolate Mousse Torte

Papa Paulo Port

Anything chocolate gets my vote. This was delicious. It had a chocolate cookie crust, dark chocolate mousse bottom layer and a white chocolate mousse top layer. The Papa Paulo Port, which tastes like liquid chocolate cherries, was like velvet and the chocolates totally enhance one another. (Heaven)