There’s no denying the wining and dining that happens throughout the wine industry. Perhaps it’s a long lunch between winemaker and sales rep or a vertical tasting with small bites for media. Sometimes, the marketing team of a wine region foots the bill for a multi-course meal to help promote their wines.
Whether it’s an exotic location, Michelin-rated food, or the company of family or friends, these experiences become engrained in our memories. Often, it’s like getting bit by a bug. Many wine enthusiasts will seek next-level food and wine experiences during personal vacations or special occasions with family.
We went to the members of the SOMM TV cast to ask about those memorable occasions where the wine poured freely, and every bite was an indulgence.
In other words, if you could relive any food and wine experience, what would it be?
There are so many, but because it’s fresh in my mind, I’m going to say it would be a recent dinner I had in Tulum, Mexico. A couple of my friends and I went to ARCA, and it was a divine experience! They source their ingredients from local purveyors and the jungle around them and use open-fire cooking for many of the ingredients. Every dish that hit our table blew our minds – especially the sauce work! It all paired beautifully with the wine, but especially with their hand-crafted cocktails (of which I had several). I wish I could be back there now, eating incredible food with people I love under the stars of Tulum. Not too shabby! —Claire Coppi
At the end of 2019, my friend Christopher and I had dinner in Manila at a restaurant in a part of town called The Fort. It had an incredible wine list, and the chef team was brilliant. People don’t often mention Manila as a food destination, but it was one of the best meals I have ever had. We ordered two bottles to take advantage of the list – Tattinger’s 2007 Comtes Blanc de Blanc and Mayer 2017 Syrah from Yarra Valley. Even though we were in the Philippines, it was a Cantonese restaurant with just exquisite food. The cultural intersection expressed through food in the Philippines is really unique and special. With all the changes happening in that country right now, it has been on my mind a lot, and I am grateful for the time I had there, even if it was too brief. —Elaine Chukan Brown
Dinner at Becky Wasserman‘s place, Russel cooking, Becky still at the table. It doesn’t get much better. RIP. —Dustin Wilson
I won a post-graduation scholarship from the Kopf Family (of Kobrand) in 2011. It included six weeks of travel to California, France, and Italy. I got to visit regions I’d only read about prior. And the food was incredible. It was an experience of a lifetime and solidified my career in food and beverage. —Maryam Ahmed
Lunch into dinner with Jean-Michel and Corrine Comme at their home in Bordeaux at Chateau Pontet-Canet. I have a picture of my wife conversing with Jean-Michel, and you can see the moment when she and I adopted a new definition of ambition. The bottles on the table included his 100-point 2009 and 2010 bottlings. Sara asked, ”what is your goal with the wines now, having two in a row that are perfection?” “No, Sara,” he responded, “my ambition is not 100 points but to make a wine that will move you to emotion. I haven’t done that yet.” The man had reached the highest highs of the modern winemaker, and he knew the hollowness of that praise. If he can make a wine that will make you cry, he’ll have something. That’s our goal, too. We have a long way to go. But the journey is the reward. —Jonah Beer
One that I’ve re-lived more than a few times. Specifically, a meal at Felice a Testaccio in Rome. Simple, elegant, perfect. The staff. The small space. And red label Giacosa of course. —DLynn Proctor
It would be my wedding. My wife and I were married in 2007, and we had an amazing dinner and selection of wines. But since it was my wedding, I had so little time to eat and drink I missed most of it – so I would like to try again! To be surrounded by all our family and friends and share a menu of wine and food we put together is why I love food and wine – it is about sharing with those you love. —Jeffrey Porter
One of the greatest meals I’ve had in my life was at Francis Mallmann’s restaurant at Bodega Garzón in Maldonado, Uruguay. The man just GETS it. Everything we ate was perfect. Plus the view, my god, the view. —Matthew Kaner