The pandemic has dealt a blow not just to restaurants but also to the purveyors who supply them. Give them a boost this holiday season by ordering their most luxurious ingredients—such as A5 Wagyu and caviar—delivered directly to you. Two of America’s most respected somms—master sommelier June Rodil of Goodnight Hospitality in Houston and Micah Clark, the wine director at the Michelin three-star Restaurant at Meadowood (which will be rebuilt after being devastated by the recent wildfires in California)—suggest wines to pair with each treat.
Browne Trading Company Ora King Salmon
Raised in the crystal waters of Marlborough Sound in New Zealand, this farmed salmon has become the fish so many great chefs covet. Some refer to it as “Wagyu of the sea” because of its high fat percentage (it has the highest Omega-3 content of all salmon species) but also because of its balance between sweet and umami flavors and buttery texture, which makes it a natural fit for serving as sushi or crudo. Because it’s farmed, Ora King is available year-round through Browne Trading in four-pound fillets or whole fish (scaled and gutted). Every Ora King is tagged and traced, so quality and provenance are assured.
Franz Hirtzberger 2014 Hochrain Riesling Smaragd, Wachau, Austria
“It would be so easy to go French, but I’d do a dry Austrian Riesling here. It’s got this citronella-oil character that’s one of the best pairings with salmon. In dry Riesling with great nuance, you get orange oil and Meyer lemon rind, and it’s powerful enough to match this fatty fish.”—June Rodil
Staglin 2018 Chardonnay, Rutherford, Napa Valley
“Staglin has probably produced the best Chardonnay from California in the last two years. They use 60 percent new oak, but in big barrels, so the impact is subdued. It’s a prototypical California Chard with a rich and creamy mouthfeel, but it’s more akin to what you’d expect from Meursault, with hazelnut, cream and ginger notes.”—Micah Clark
Regiis Ova Hybrid Caviar
When it comes to the quality of ingredients, Thomas Keller never compromises. So when it comes to caviar, the only American chef with two Michelin three-star restaurants is probably an excellent go-to. He founded Regiis Ova with caviar pro Shaoching Bishop. They’ve worked together to find a product worthy of his kitchens and make it available to the public. Regiis Ova’s Hybrid is a crossbreed of Kaluga and Amur sturgeon, creating large, firm eggs that finish light on the palate.
Dom Ruinart 2007 Blanc de Blancs Champagne
“If it’s the beginning of the night, I love a Blanc de Blancs Champagne, because I want something tart and fresh to get the mouth salivating. Dom Ruinart is tightly wound, lemony and crisp. The 2007 vintage is especially silky and the fruit intense, so it’s got some power.”—June Rodil
Eisele Vineyard 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
“The salty, fatty quality of caviar and whatever you’re eating with it––from an omelet to blinis to ruffled Lays––needs the high acidity of a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc. Especially in recent years, the Eisele has more new oak and more lees contact, so it’s a textural, creamy white. This is not a green, stainless-steel ode to New Zealand but a classic expression of Napa with richness and power.”—Micah Clark
Urbani White Truffles
The beauty of white truffles is that they require almost no work. They’re not meant for cooking but rather to finish dishes with a fragrant punch of earthy, musky goodness. Simply shave them over your cacio e pepe, a white-sauce pizza, an omelet or buttery potatoes to take a dish from delicious to transcendent. The Urbani family has been in the truffle business since 1852, and from September to December is when this most exclusive of Italy’s coveted mushrooms—the white truffle—is at its peak.
G. B. Burlotto 2018 Verduno Pelaverga, Piedmont
“There’s a little grape called Pelaverga, and one of its best producers in Piedmont is Burlotto. This isn’t as acidic, tannic or intensely aromatic as Nebbiolo—Pelaverga has all of that but in a softened tone. There are violets and currants, but the wine isn’t as densely colored and has an airiness to it. The brightness of the fruit brings out the earthiness of the wine and the truffles.”—June Rodil
Site Wines 2016 Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah, Santa Maria Valley
“Classically, everyone reaches for Barolo with truffles because they grow together, so they go together. But Site Wines in California’s Santa Barbara County is doing some of the coolest red Rhône varieties you’ll see in the States right now. The wine has that kind of funky, earthy, mushroom and smoke component that good Syrah should, which goes well with truffles.”—Micah Clark
Century-old New York seafood purveyor Citarella sources its exceptional uni from the rocky, chilly waters of coastal Maine. This wild-caught sea urchin is more assertive in flavor and creamier in texture than its counterparts from Santa Barbara, Calif., and Hokkaido, Japan, the other prime uni grounds. The buttery, sweet, briny “tongues” can be served simply over rice like a sushi master would, atop buttery toast as an appetizer or pureed with butter to use as a base for a decadent pasta sauce.
Albert Grivault 2007 Clos des Perrieres 1er Cru, Meursault, Burgundy
“I want old, white Burgundy. Albert Grivault is rich and tastes like the sea, but when Burgundy ages, it starts taking on a savory umami note. Meursault also has riper fruit-like apples and green pears, as well as earthy elements of hay, button mushrooms and chamomile tea. You want something that has a lush feel on your palate but still maintains a freshness and acidity.”—June Rodil
Hermann J. Wiemer 2018 Semi-Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, N.Y.
“Uni is fatty, salty and has an intense mineral, iron flavor profile to it. The best US sweet wine I’ve had is off-dry Riesling from Hermann Wiemer in the Finger Lakes. They’ve got old vines which give that unctuous, tropical pear quality that you expect from beautiful Riesling. It provides enough sugar to work with the uni and enough acidity to still be refreshing.”—Micah Clark
Holy Grail Steak Co. A5 Kobe Beef
A lot of purveyors may say they sell Wagyu, but not all Wagyu is created equal. None can compete with A5 Kobe beef. The intense marbling and deep umami flavor result from more than mere diet. These Japanese cattle, unlike Angus, have a genetic predisposition to develop more fat inside their muscle tissue. Japan exports beef from just 1,000 head of Kobe cows each year, and Holy Grail Steak, one of America’s top A5 importers, is the only one certified to sell it online Stateside. This melt-in-your-mouth rib eye is not something you want to take down yourself. It’s better seared, sliced and shared among friends.
Domaine Dujac 2017 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Morey-Saint-Denis, Burgundy
“Young and fresh, this red has great acidity. With A5 you’ll do a light sear because you want to still feel the fat. A5 is like butter, and the texture of high-end Burgundy is strong enough, yet silky enough, to go with it. You’ll taste black cherries, a little bit of floral hibiscus and black-tea notes, but most importantly, the weight of the wine matches the weight of the Wagyu.”—June Rodil
Corison 2016 Sunbasket Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena, Napa Valley
“With A5 I want something that has a bit more tannin because there’s so much fat. Also, you’re going to get intense, fresh beef flavors, but there’s a lot of char and smoke that sticks to that fat. It calls for a Cabernet with detail and intricacy, not too much bluster or oak. Corison’s Cab has a lot more going on with it. There’s fruit, earth and enough tannin, but it’s well controlled.”—Micah Clark