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A Blind Sommelier Deathmatch!

I wanted to share the details of our latest Dinner Party all week, but somehow, I’m even busier when I’m NOT working. How is that even possible?

It’s spring break in these parts, and I’ve been taking advantage as per my monthly goals. I’ve gotten lots of stuff accomplished around the house. I’ve taken The 11-Year-Old to the Aquarium and the Science Center. And I’ve been working on a few other things I can’t share quite yet. I’ll just leave you with this link.

Anyways, on to the dinner party!

This past Saturday was our third Sommelier Deathmatch. Click here to see the first and here for the second.

Our friends hosted this one. They came up with the menu and did all the cooking. We were tasked with bringing paired wines for the appetizer, salad, and main courses, as were they. However, this time, we had their son serve the wine to us blind so we could vote on taste/pairing alone. Knowing nothing about the wine or who picked it made the experience even more exciting!

The Menu

  • Cocktail: Blueberry French 75 with Charcuterie
  • Appetizer: Coquilles Saint Jacques
  • Salad: French Bistro Salad
  • Main: Lamb Cassoulet with Gougères
  • Dessert: Crepes Suzette

I absolutely loved this menu because I would have never come up with it in a million years. I’m just not familiar with French cooking, and it’s not my favorite cuisine to prepare.

Cocktail: Blueberry French 75 with Charcuterie

The recipe they used for the cocktail was from Carolines Cooking, and it’s an absolute winner! Such a fun, bright and refreshing drink. It was the perfect starter and with the charcuterie. I mean, look how happy these two are.

Appetizer: Coquilles Saint Jacques

Here’s where I show my ignorance. I had NO idea what Coquilles Saint Jacques even was! Apparently, it just means scallops in French. Who knew?!

I am a huge fan of scallops, so I was super excited, and these did not disappoint!

They were indulgent with a touch of spice from cayenne and a luxurious creamy mushroom base.

Appetizer Wine Pairings

Both wine pairings went perfectly with them as well!

Sommelier #1 selection: 2018 Pascal Bouchard Chablis Cru

Sommelier #2 selection: Jérôme Choblet 2019 Domaine des Herbauges Unoaked Chardonnay

Both Sommeliers picked a Chardonnay, and both were excellent pairings! We were forced to pick one, and the votes were straight down the middle, as you can see by the glasses be each bottle.

Verdict: 2-2 tie!

Salad: French Bistro Salad

This salad was also amazing! I’m getting into fun salad combinations, and I’m fascinated by how good you can make lettuce taste with the addition of a few simple ingredients.

The recipe came from RecipeTinEats.com, and it’s also a keeper, if only for those pickled shallots!

Salad Wine Pairings

This round was especially fun since we have two different style wines, a rosé and a viognier.

Sommelier #1 selection:  Sobon Estate Viognier

Sommelier #2 selection:  Cuvée Sélectionnée Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé 2020

The round was another tie! We were all torn, but it wasn’t split by the couples this time. It was a male/female split. The wives went with the viognier, and the guys chose the rosé.

Verdict: 2-2 tie! Again.

Main: Lamb Cassoulet with Gougères

Okay, first, I had no idea what cassoulet or gougères were, and omg, before I get into the detail, there were both amazing!

A cassoulet is a meat and bean casserole that’s slow-cooked, and this one was rich and delicious. I don’t have a link to their recipe, but I have the ingredient list.

  • 1 lb beans
  • 2 lb lamb, cubed
  • 10 tbsp duck fat or olive oil
  • 4 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 12 lb bacon
  • 12 lb pork, cubed
  • 1/4 lb pancetta, cubed
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup white wine (for deglazing)
  • 1/4 lb duck confit
  • 4 cup water 
  • 3 potatoes,
  • bread crumbs

How could you go wrong with lamb, bacon, pork, AND pancetta?

Gougères are just as indulgent as this casserole. Actually, even more so! Think cheddar bay biscuits on steroids. These things were dangerously delicious and were an excellent addition to the cassoulet.

Main Course Wine Pairing

We headed into the final wine matchup with a tie, and we all loved that it was exciting until the end.

Sommelier #1 selection:  2016 Pierre Amadieu Le Pas de l’Aigle Gigondas

Sommelier #2 selection:  Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017

As you can see in the photo, Sommelier #2 eeked out a win with one extra vote in the in final course!

Verdict: 3-1 Sommelier #2

Dessert: Crepes Suzette

After the last two matches, we decided to take the dessert course of the deathmatch. We realized both couples have entirely different tastes in dessert wines, and I wanted the option to make a dessert cocktail as well.

That said, I can’t NOT tell you about the dessert!

This is the second time our friends have made us Crepes Suzette, and it does not disappoint in taste or show!

They decided to pair it with Rosa Regale, which also never disappoints.

It was a fantastic night. Great food. Great company. Great wine!

We already have a date in May scheduled, and I’ll be doing the menu this time. I’m already in the early planning stages. I’m thinking of an Asian-inspired theme, but I haven’t decided just quit yet.

If you have any ideas, I’m all ears!

Click here to see other Sommelier Deathmatches.

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