Last night, Meat Market hosted a winemaker dinner with Sunbox Eleven, a local winery. While Sunbox Eleven is based in Miami, the boutique company creates small-batch artisan wines in California. It is a collaboration between Miami chef David Gordon and the winery's owner, Sunny Fraser.
For this dinner, Meat Market's chef/owner Sean Brasel paired the wine with four courses. Some were more successful than others.
For the first course, for example, the creamy and clean "Maverick" white Rhone blend was served with a smoked, pan-seared jumbo scallop with coconut "caviar," griddled corn cake and hazelnut pesto. While the sweetness of the coconut "caviar" and corn cake worked perfectly well with the white wine, the overly garlicky hazelnut pesto, which accompanied the scallop, completely killed the mood.
The second course was all about cherries, which are in season now. Brasel's pan-seared duck breast was paired with Sunbox Eleven's "Salesman" pinot noir from Santa Rita Hills. Both the pinot noir and the dish were redolent with the flavor of cherries. On the side was a delectable duck confit strudel with fresh cherries and boursin cheese.
Everyone raved about Brasel's dry-aged New York strip with plum-parsnip hash. It was paired with the "Muse" petite sirah, which was the first wine Sunbox Eleven ever produced. More interesting was the wine served with dessert. Their "Naughty" zinfandel arrived in a test tube-like bottle called the "vini," which seemed to be a nightlife-inspired manner to selling wine. We were all too busy going into a cheese-induced coma with a sampling of rosemary cheesecake and baked brie with figs and plums. Light it was not.
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When established restaurants like Meat Market do wine tastings like this, it can go either way. I was particularly worried because Meat Market does not have a private dining room or separate area to stage such an event. However, our group of about 30 people seamlessly took over the back portion of the restaurant, and David Gordon did a great job of running from table to table to explain each wine. One of the more notable guests, rapper-actor Ludacris, seemed enthused by the oenophile-inspired dinner, too.
915 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach