How often does one get a chance dine with a wine icon? As a rising wine geek and established gourmand, imagine my delight on discovering that Emeril’s Orlando was hosting an incredible opportunity of a five-course wine dinner with none other than one of the world’s foremost authorities in Port & Madeira, Mr. Bartholomew Broadbent.
I couldn’t contain myself…Oh My God, my dinner companion is going to be “the” Mr. Broadbent? But wait a minute he is ONLY a wine expert, so you ask, what is the big deal?
This is why—
- Named in Decanter Magazine as one of the “fifty most influential people in the wine world – the faces to watch in the new millennium.”
- Nominated “Importer of the Year for 2005” by Wine Enthusiast.
- Formal apprenticeship under his father, Michael Broadbent MW (Director of Christie’s and prolific wine author).
- Widely considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on Port and Madeira.
- Worked for elite wine establishments such as Christie’s, Harrod’s, Harvey’s Fine Wine Merchants in Enlgnad, the Rothbury Estate and Yalumba Winery in Australia, Hennessy and L’Academie du Vin in France, and Schenley in Canada.
- Exclusive US national importer for some of the worlds most sought after family wineries including Chateau Musar, Warwick Estate, Spy Valley, Ferreira, Quinta do Crasto, Louis Guntrum, Montsarra Cava, Vilafonte, AABadenhorst, and Dr.Hermann.
If you get to know me, you will quickly find out that I mostly never am, at a loss of words, or confidence. And here I found myself qualmish like a young teenager on her very first date. My heart pondered how could I engage in a conversation with a man who has probably heard and just about tasted everything about wine.
Not to mention penning down this epic evening for my readers. After all, I am no literary genius, just a mere dabbler. So here’s my humble attempt at recapturing our mesmerizing evening with Mr. Broadbent and like minded foodies.
No one was going to put a dapper on this widely anticipated wine dinner at Emeril’s Orlando, especially not the rain gods. Armed with my over-sized umbrella, stilettos in my hands, I walked barefoot in the pouring rain from Universal’s parking lot to the entrance of Emeril’s Orlando. Whew! I made it on time 6:30 pm with a few seconds to spare.
I was greeted with smiling faces, swiftly whisked away to a private dining section on the second floor and promptly handed a glass of sparkling. Kudos Mr. Allport, for orchestrating the event! Few quick sips of the bubbly, and I was back in my realm (confidence kicked in or should I say wine on an empty belly). Regardless I promptly introduced myself to Mr. Broadbent and I for one couldn’t be more pleased. Once it was established we spoke a common language – wine, everything fell into place.
Shall we sit down for dinner?
First Course: Diver Scallop Crudo paired with 2012 Badenhorst Family White Blend, South Africa. A blend of primarily Chenin Blanc and white Rhone varietals, the 2012 Family White Blend showcases highly aromatic stone fruit and citrus blossoms, mouth-filling richness on palate balanced with vibrant acidity. Thin slices of sweet scallops, dressed with honey-truffle vinaigrette, fennel, citrus, Chef Doug’s creation hits every flavor note at once, beautifully complimenting the Badenhorst.
The vineyards of Badenhorst are made up of very old bush-vine, un-irrigated and farmed biologically as possible.
Second Course: Charred Baby Octopus – Benton’s Ham paired with 2011 Weingut Marc Huber Riesling, Austria. In my personal opinion, Riesling is perhaps one of the most versatile food wines especially next to spicy or bold flavors. Chef Doug’s knockout octopus dish with cerignolo olive puttanesca, grilled garlic bread worked swimmingly with the precision of fruit, distinct minerality, and balanced acidity of the 2011 Riesling.
The Huber family has wine growing roots dating back more than 220 years. Today the winery in Reichersdorf is in its 10th generation and is run by Markus Huber.
Third Course: Smoked Moulard Duck Breast paired with 2007 Chateau Musar Rouge, Lebanon. This course was undoubtedly the highlight of my evening in regards to both cuisine and wine. Brilliantly executed, Chef Doug’s boasted textural interplay and flavors with smoked duck, foie gras dirty rice and kettle popped sorghum. A personal favorite of Mr. Broadbent, the Chateau Musar’s flagship estate red, roughly equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault, aged for 12 months in French oak unfold layers of complexity with each sip – spicy, exotic, masculine yet elegant.
For the few of us who have had the luxury of meeting Mr. Serge, would unanimously agree. that he was a philosopher, poet, advocate of life, mentor, first and then an extraordinary wine maker who will be missed by many.
Fourth Course: Grilled Waygu Beef paired with 2011 Casa Ferreirinha Quinta de Leda, Portugal. Chef Doug treated us like royalty with perfectly cooked, generous portion of waygu beef, parmesan-garlic steak fries, arugula pesto, marrow butter. A rich dish like this begged for a big, bold boy. The 2011 Quinta de Leda, a blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, and Touriga Roriz (tempranillo) – deeply concentrated, brimming with black fruit, plenty of oak spice on palate, polished tannins paired delightfully with the steak.
Fifth Course: Butter Pecan Waffle with 1996 Broadbent Colheita Madeira. A “true dessert” wine, Madeira is a sweet wine with a dry finish, so it doesn’t clash with the sweetness of dessert the way late harvest wines would. Also, Madeira with it’s extremely high searing acidity, doesn’t get overwhelmed by citrus desserts or balsamic vinegar. It’s a really versatile wine that can stand up with almost any food.”
Made with Tinta Negra – the 1996 Bb is nutty, spicy, and fruity with bracing acidity that is deeply satisfying and refreshing finale to our sweet course of butter waffles, chocolate-mint cherry gremolata, and dulche de leche ice cream.
Fun Fact: In honor of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, founding fathers celebratory toast was with Madeira. Madeira wine was a big favorite of George Washington & Thomas Jefferson.
One similarity I gauged among others were our fascination for acidity. We both embraced high acid. Acidity at least for me plays a significant role in determining the structure of a wine. Mouth watering acidity in wine leaves me desiring more, hell even craving more, refreshing my palate with each sip and perhaps the singular indication of the agebility of wine.
Sporting genuine humility, Mr. Broadbent was refreshingly affable, witty, suave, accomplished, just as I had hoped for and more. His anecdotes left me inspired and hungry for more of his wine expertise.
And of course ammunition to express our delicious dinner rendezvous, made possible by Chef Douglas Braselman, Mr. Vaughn, GM, Mr. Allport, Mgr & Sommelier, and the entire staff at Emeril’s Orlando.
Quick Sip on Broadbent Selection Wines:
- Exclusive US national importer for some of the worlds most sought after family wineries…
- Quality, Character, Value equals delicious wine.
- Representing and nurturing family wineries with long term vision, ethics and compatibility.
- Re-introduction of Madeira to America and it’s growth.
I remain staunchly focused on my quest for wine as the more wines I taste and research, I discover just how little I know. Until next time, have a delicious day!
PS: Emeril’s Orlando validates valet parking at universal for their wine dinners.