Top Pair: Middle East, Down South

top pairing
by Jeff Harding with photos by Antoinette Bruno
Vol. 19
February 2012   
Sommelier Seth Roskind

An Atlanta native who worked his way up through most positions in the service industry, 4th & Swift’s Sommelier Seth Roskind is a true Southern gentleman who knows his clientele. Charming as all get out, and at the top of the wine game, Roskind balances a vast knowledge of wine geekitude with an understanding of what to do when people just want a good wine, without a lecture on fermentation technique.

Roskind works to craft a wine list that is in harmony with the cuisine and style of 4th & Swift, yet also appeals to guest preferences (and occasionally challenges them). Suggesting a wine that might not be known to the general public can be a difficult sell, but it’s also often the most rewarding part of wine pairing.  From white wine with duck to a big red that works with seafood, we love Roskind’s unusual combinations.

Chateau Musar, "Jeune," 2009
Wood-grilled Spanish Octopus, Sunchoke Purée, Frisée, Charred Red Onions, and Chorizo Vinaigrette
Pairing Note

What do you pair with grilled octopus? A crisp white wine, right? Not at 4th & Swift, where Chef Jeb Aldrich wood-grills the cephalopod and serves it with charred red onions and a chorizo vinaigrette on a bed of sunchoke purée. A more complex and unusual wine is necessary when such a balanced dish emerges from the kitchen. But Roskind’s wine wizardry is up to the challenge: he opened a bottle of Chateau Musar “Jeune,” and we found a perfect pair.

Putting the focus on the preparation and seasoning of a dish is a trick many sommeliers know well. And Roskind does it in spades. To focus your attention on the chorizo, the char in the onions, and the succulent nature of the sunchoke, Roskind wanted a semi-maderized wine with muted fruit. Having spent time with the wine maker of the famed wines of Chateau Musar in Lebanon, Roskind has a soft spot for their newest creation, “Jeune,” (a fresh, young blend of Cinsault, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon, labeled as Musar Cuvée in Lebanon) and the Mediterranean style of the dish called to mind the climate of the winery.

The wine’s silky texture reinforces the creaminess of the sunchoke, and its baked-fruit flavors emphasize the sweetness and the caramelization of the onions. The complex aroma from the Cinsault grape brings out the herbiness in the sunchoke, while the peppery Syrah accents the chorizo. The grilled meat of the octopus marries well with the lush, fruity Cabernet Sauvignon in this un-oaked version of the classic Chateau Musar.

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