In this, the second part of our interview, Andrew Lampasone, owner of the boutique-style store Wine Watch, continues to share his knowledge of wines and gives us a preview of what we can expect to see at the Pairings event on September 16. For the event, Lampasone has the fun task of choosing the perfect drinks to pair with gourmet food from South Florida's best restaurants.
New Times: How many different wines can we expect to see at Pairings?
Lampasone: We will feature about 50 different wines between the VIP and the general admission areas.
Any organic wines?
A lot of the better wines are organic and have always been. The growers
use the same natural approach they have done for years to get the best-quality product. We also have some biodynamic wines we'll be
featuring. A number of high-end wineries and growers follow a
biodynamic process that is a more holistic approach to growing, whereby
they harvest following the cycles of the moon and have a completely
Have any chefs given you any special wine pairing requests?
not yet. I have just started getting in a lot of the dishes for the
event. This year, I am bringing my suppliers in and having them help
select wines as well; it's more of a team effort.
Some foods, like barbecue, are traditionally served with beer. What can we expect to see paired with these dishes?
Barbecue can be hard to pair with, but I'll usually go with a robust wine like a Shiraz or a Zinfandel that can stand up to the dish.
Are there any dishes that are particularly challenging to pair with?
Salads can be very difficult, especially if they are laden with a heavy vinaigrette. Spicy dishes can also sometimes be hard because if it's too spicy, it can just kill the taste buds.
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What can we expect in terms of price point of the wines being sampled?
We scaled it down a bit this year. I think everyone is watching their wallet, so we wanted to offer guests the opportunity to try wines that, if they like them, they can afford to enjoy again. So I am looking to probably keep most wines under or around the $19-a-bottle mark, but you won't see any Yellowtail. I do plan on taking it a couple of steps up in the VIP section and featuring some nicer wines.
If guests find a wine they love, will there be an opportunity to purchase the wine?
Absolutely. We are going to have tasting and price cards at each station, and all wines will be at a special price for the evening, so I definitely encourage everyone to pick up a bottle or two.
Check back tomorrow, because Lampasone will share one of his favorite pairings -- recipe and all!
For more information about pairings and to get tickets, please visit the event website.