When it comes to wine pairings, first and foremost, the most important thing is to pair the quality of wine with the quality of the experience and Nobu recently paired with Davis Bynum and Rodney Strong for a wine dinner at Atlantis that turned out to be a sublime experience.
Patrons were hosted by Carmen Castaldi, president of the iconic, family-owned Rodney Strong Wine Estates, who spoke to the delicious wines to be featured during the course of the evening, including a special treat for diners – the Alexander Crown Cabernet, a wine that he said they only produced 2,000 cases of for consumption; and the history of the vineyards.
In selecting the menu to complement the wines showcased, Cal Habal, Nobu general manager, said the wines were sublime and wonderful in complexity, and they sought to mimic that complexity in the food, with the layers of flavor, and to ensure they complemented the umami, the basis of all the Nobu cuisine, as well as the textures.
“Wine and food have textures, so matching the textures at the same time to create the balance was important in the process,” said Habal. “The wines offered were wonderful in complexity and mimicked the complexity in the food.”
Showcased canapes included a delicious king crab taco with yuzu kosho aioli, avocado with crispy rice, smoked Hamachi pastrami with honey mustard and salmon nori chips with cilantro cream – served with Rodney Strong Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc Northern Sonoma 2018 which is bright and crisp in its tasting notes and a wine that is a balance of richness and aromatic complexity, and that pairs beautifully with toasted brie, seared scallops, oysters with mignonette and fresh pasta with sweet peas and a lemon cream sauce; as well as the Davis Bynum Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2017 with a tasting profile of red cherry and plum aromas with spicy floral and subtle oak that lead to a rich mouthful of fruit flavors and velvety tannins with vibrant acidity and berry fruit on the finish and pairs well with grilled salmon, portobello mushrooms, lamb shanks, spinach salad and medium to sharp cheeses.
A five-course dinner followed featuring fried softshell crab with tamarind sauce, frisee salad and cucumber aioli, a savory bite, served with Davis Bynum River West Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 which opens on the palate with toasty brioche, hazelnut and baking spices, with a lush finish that is balanced with acidity and a rich creaminess.
The Wagyu beef gyoza with sweet potato puree and broccolini was a perfect complement of flavors served with Symmetry Meritage Red Blend Alexander Valley 2015 which has the luxurious aromas of red fruit, plum, vanilla, dusty oak and dried fruit which unfold on the palate with silky layers of dark fruits, baking spices and a supple, rich mouthfeel.
The pan-seared duck breast with wasabi salsa and roasted mushroom served with Alexander Crown Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2014 which opens with notions of freshly crushed red and black currants with touches of black cherries and mulberries; medium to full-bodied, it has a good, firm frame of ripe, grainy tannins and lots of juicy black fruits with a long and refreshing finish.
Grilled lamb chops with rosemary miso, potato croquettes and Brussel sprouts were served with Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2015 which has concentrated flavors of dark plum and red currant with notes of tobacco and leather; the earth minerality of this wine is balanced out by notes of baking spices with a rich, complex structure and a long, lingering finish. It’s one of those wines that can be enjoyed now or cellared for enjoyment in eight to 10 years.
A dark chocolate mille-feuille – Caraibe 66%, chocolate cremeux, jivara ganache, nougat and salted caramel ice cream was served with Rodney Strong “A True Gentleman’s Port” Sonoma County 2013 that had aromas and flavors of ripe blackberries, blueberry, cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate.
“The wines were honestly sublime. We started off with the Pinot Noir with the canapes. We honestly didn’t do it justice with the canapes. It deserved a dish dedicated to it, but we needed something to offer as an arrival drink along with the beautiful Sauvignon Blanc,” said Habal.
Besides that, he said the dinner and wine pairings were sublime. The Davis Bynum and Rodney Strong wine dinner was his first hosting since taking over as general manager at Nobu seven months ago. Habal came to The Bahamas from Nobu Cape Town where he was general manager for two years.