Chef Mavro launches his winter menu tomorrow, and I got to take a peek behind the scenes to see the thought process in selecting the wine pairings. Every season, when the restaurant changes its menu, the staff (and a few others) gather to taste the dishes and wine pairing nominations from the sommelier team.
The selection process is done by committee, and everyone is given a ballot in which to name their favorite pairings for each dish. Chef Mavro prefers to have regular people, like us, decide on the pairings, rather than have his sommeliers dictate the menu. Since regular people will be the main audience for the meals, it’s important to appeal to their senses.
As the food is served, Chef Mavro explains the history behind each dish, how it’s made, and the ingredients selected. As consumers, we usually just eat it and enjoy; hearing the extensive thought process (and many times, physical effort) behind each item gives you a whole new appreciation for this haute cuisine. Such restaurants aren’t charging you premium prices just because the dishes taste good and are plated artfully — there’s a science to the art and a considerable amount of research and development that goes into every single element of each dish.
There is no explanation of the wines until each pairing is selected, so we’re left only to our senses to decide what works best. Interestingly enough, the white wines all had very pronounced characteristics, so it was easier to choose, whereas the reds were much more similar to each other.
Anyway. Here’s a glimpse at how the selections went, but more importantly, I want you to see what’s on the menu this winter.
Prepping for Chef Mavro's winter menu (18 of 18)
Meet the wines that were selected for the winter menu! From left, Fitz-Ritter gewürztraminer spaltlese, Ohyama junmai ginjyo, Vermentino bolgheri, Littorai pinot noir, Saint-Joseph red wine (I didn't catch the exact kind), and Banyuls clos chatart.
1969 S King St.