July 18 Iron Sommelier Recap

The Iron Sommelier Dinner is a premiere wine tasting event, put on by Avenues Bistro, in which local sommeliers pair wines with pre-determined courses. The wines are a mystery to the audience and the audience votes which wine they think worked best with each course.

The July 18 Jim Coley vs. Tim O’Neal Iron Sommelier was a riveting event, and the wine pairings weren’t the only surprise!  After four rounds of voting for four delicious courses, a 2-2 course tie forced a full count to determine the winner by popular vote. It was incredibly close, for winning came down to a margin of less than ten votes in a sea of almost 400 votes submitted over the four courses. And the winner was…TIM O’NEAL.This Iron Sommelier was an especially exciting showdown because it was the tie-breaker for O’Neal and Coley.  The Sumo Sommeliers had gone to head to head twice before, O’Neal winning one and Coley the other.

Chef Mario Galan, Ernesto Maldonado and their tireless team in the Avenues Bistro kitchen handled the dinner like pros, dishing out and prepping five fantastic courses for nearly 100 people. O’Neal tipped his hat to the chefs and the out of the box dishes they produced for the evening: “Although the competition revolves around wine, the applause is always loudest for the chefs and their unique cuisine. It’s fun for competing Sommeliers to pair wines with some dishes simply too complex and difficult to ever grace our daily menu.”

Jim Mayfield, an attendee of the dinner, said that his favorite course was the Dr. Pepper braised short ribs, “It was killer, with tender flavoring. Put it on the menu, and I’ll order it every time!”

To add to the plot of the evening, both chefs warranted shocks and awes from the audience when they revealed certain wines. “Although winning is my goal, there’s an equal mischievous desire to put out wines that can cause shock and awe,” O’Neal said. “Revealing the fourth course wine to be from New York saw a reaction equaled to a ‘kid putting his finger in a light socket.’  Further disclosure that it was a Riesling dropped those jaws right to the floor!”

At the July 18 event, Avenues Bistro announced a new dinner series that they will be pursuing called the Chef Challenge. Two chefs will  face off, preparing three courses each for the audience to judge. This event will premiere on August 15 in the first Chef Challenge: Joe Birch vs. World. The owner of Avenues Bistro, Joe Birch, will battle his own premiere team of culinary artists. On July 18, this  50-person dinner was announced and within a half hour sold out. Evidently, this event is held in great anticipation. Stay tuned for details on the next dinner and how to get a table (before it sells out!)


July 18 Iron Sommlier #15 Champion Tim O’Neal had a few closing words: “Although it feels great to have beaten Mr. Jim Coley this time, most don’t realize this event mimics Grand Slam Championship tennis; meaning best out of five.  Being up 2-1, I can relax.  We shall see when Jim is ready for the fourth set.  Bet it’s sooner than later!”

The July 18 Iron Sommelier Dinner was an evening of incredible twists, turns and. See the complete course and wine listing below:

 Timothy O’Neal vs. Jim Coley: July 18th 2011

ROUND ONE: Cherry Tomato Meatball: cored out cherry tomato stuffed with asiago cheese, wrapped in italian house-made sausage, deep fried and then covered with a vodka tomato cream sauce. Served over a bed of arugala

  • 1A       2010 CLOS de la Briderie Rose                                                                         $15      Coley

  • 1B       2005 PIO CESARE L’Altro Chardonnay – Piemonte, Italy                        $20      O’Neal

ROUND TWO: Egg Carpaccio served with thick hollandaise sauce beneath shrimp cooked scampi-style with a basil butter and white wine sauce, with flash fried potato and basil garnish

  • 2A       N.V. FREIXENET Cordon Negro Cava, Spain                                               $12      O’Neal

  • 2B       2008 FEVRE Champs Royaux, Chardonnay – Chablis, France                  $18      Coley

ROUND THREE: Dr. Pepper braised short ribs with chili kick, served over queso fresco corn polenta and topped with tabasco onions

  • 3A       2007 TENUTA MONTETI Caburnio Toscany, Italy                                                         $20      O’Neal

  • 3B       2009 COPAIN Tous Ensemble –Pinot Noir- Anderson Valley, California                   $21      Coley

ROUND FOUR: Pacific Seabass: with asian marinade and soy garlic glaze, served with white bean puree

  • 4A       2009 BRETON La Dilettante –Chenin Blanc – Vouvray, France                         $18      Coley

  • 4B       2009 HERMANN J. WIEMER Dry Riesling – Finger Lakes, New York               $20      O’Neal

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