Sommelier shoot-out at Tokara

3 top sommeliers are put to the test with food set to challenge their well-trained palates.

by: Tessa Purdon | 23 Oct 2012
wine cork

Recipe: combine a Friday night with a stylish award-winning restaurant. Stir in 3 top sommeliers, mixing well after each addition. Pour in a few bottles of quality wine.  Next, throw in an unconventional, waggish chef and scatter with a generous dollop of eager guests.

Tokara’s first Sommelier shoot-out is the brain-child of its talented chef, Richard Carstens. After becoming tired of sommeliers asking him to make a dish to go with a certain wine, he decided that it was time he gave them a taste of their own medicine.

So he called upon his resident sommelier, Jaap-Henk Koelewijn, together with Josephine Gotentoft of Makaron and Higgo Jacobs, to find wines to go with with his food. Not just one dish, mind you, but a full 4-course menu. (Richard doesn’t play games). Have a look at the dishes in this gallery.

Each sommelier presented their chosen wine with each course, afterwhich guests were able to sniff, swirl, and sip to their hearts content before scoring which wine was deemed the best pairing for the dish.

Josephine – Stellenrust Barrel-fermented Chenin Blanc 2012
Higgo – Delaire Rosé 2011
Jaap-Henk – *Graham Beck Game Reserve Viognier 2010

Josephine – Haut Espoir Semillon 2006
Higgo – *Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2011
Jaap-Henk – Tokara Director's Reserve White

Josephine – *Pegasus Cinsaut 2011
Higgo – Chrystallum Pinot Noir 2007
Jaap-Henk – Steenberg Nebbiolo

Josephine – Laibach Natural Sweet 2012
Higgo – *Graham Beck Demi-Sec N.V
Jaap-Henk - Paul Cluver Gewurztraminer 2012

Why you should book for the next 'shoot-out'

Wine pairings like these become so subjective with lots of ‘agreeing to disagree’. But that’s part of the fun. It would be boring if everyone tasted the same thing.

It enables you to expand your knowledge of wine producers in a short space of time. Plus you are exposed to 3 experts who are more than happy to share information and chat about wine-related issues, like the problem with Pinotage or corkage in restaurants.

The winner of the inaugural 'shoot-out' was Higgo Jacobs and he graciously accepted a very polished and scholarly-looking trophy.

Whatever your reason for wanting to attend the next Sommelier Shoot-out, one thing’s certain – you can be sure of enjoying only the best wines, served by the most knowledgable people, while delighting in Richard Carstens' playful and delicious food.

What’s not to like?

Oh, and I haven’t even gotten around to mentioning the quality of jaw-dropping eye-candy provided by Tokara's waiters. Swoons!

(* indicates wines that - in my opinion, paired the best)

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