Raise a Glass

When it happens, it’s magical. You take a bite of a dish, follow it with a sip of wine, and the entire universe falls into harmony. The aromas and nuance in the wine amplify the flavors in the food, resulting in a sensory experience greater than the sum of its parts. For most of us, that moment likely occurs in a restaurant, usually after taking a sommelier’s wine-pairing suggestion. But how do we duplicate that euphoria at home? To find out, we asked wine professionals from five of Palm Beach County’s top restaurants to share their personal recommendations for real-life situations. The results are revealing—and intoxicating.

Note: This article has been shortened for the web. For the full article pick up the April 2017 issue of Palm Beach Illustrated.

Brian Phillip
Brian Phillip

Brian Phillips, The Capital Grille, Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens

Background: Phillips’ career in hospitality fostered a focus on wine. He holds the Advanced Sommelier certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers and will be sitting for the Master Sommelier exam this year. He’s also a Certified Wine Educator from the Society of Wine Educators. He brings a lifetime of passion to his job overseeing the wine program at The Capital Grille.
Spring/summer sips: “Rosé is a no-brainer for hot weather. I like the classic, mineral-driven style of Château Minuty from Côtes de Provence. For something a little more unusual, try a light red from Weingut Prieler in Austria. They have lovely fruit [notes] and drink well when slightly chilled.”
To enjoy while grilling: “Believe it or not, I love an off-dry Riesling with grilled meat, especially brisket. Go for a solid producer such as J.J Prüm or Selbach-Oster. Lambrusco is going through a revival right now; it’s refreshing, easy to drink, and affordable. Try the Reggiano Concerto from Medici Ermete.”
For formal dinners: “Greeting your guests with a spectacular bottle of Champagne is a great way to signal that the evening will be special. A barrel-fermented version such as Krug or a grower Champagne such as Gaston Chiquet has enough body to carry into a seafood course. For a meat entree, I’d recommend a bottle that over delivers, such as the Rioja Gran Reserva from Muga.”


Virginia Phillip
Virginia Phillip | Photo by: Lila Photo

Virginia Philip, The Breakers Palm Beach

Background: As Master Sommelier for The Breakers, Philip oversees a central list of 2,200 selections distributed among eight restaurant outlets. She was recognized as the Best Sommelier in the United States by the American Sommelier Association and has been nominated for a James Beard award. In 2011, she opened the Virginia Philip Wine Shop & Academy in downtown West Palm Beach.
Spring and summer sips: “I like Sol Y Sol, a Vermentino from Italy’s Bolgheri region produced by the Allegrini family. It’s bright and crisp with juicy lemon flavors, and the absence of oak makes it more refreshing. For something a little off the beaten track, try the Picpoul de Pinet from Hugues Beaulieu in France’s Languedoc region. It’s clean, mineral-infused, and complex.”
To enjoy while grilling: “I’m a fan of Bonny Doon Grenache from California, or the Grenache from Betts & Scholl in Australia. These wines are fruit-forward but they have enough herbal notes and tannins to match up to grilled meat.”
For formal dinners: “I’d start with a grower Champagne such as Paul-Etienne Saint Germain. It’s yeasty, biscuity, and mouthwatering. After that, open a good Bordeaux or Burgundy for a meat entree.”
What I drink at home: “In my fridge, you’re likely to find a dry Rosé such as Whispering Angel from Provence, along with white Rioja, Riesling, and white Burgundy. For reds, everything under the sun.”


Jeremy Broto-Mur | Photo courtesy of Cafe Boulud

Jeremy Broto-mur, Café Boulud, Palm Beach

Background: Originally from the French Alps, Broto-mur attended hotel school and worked in some of Europe’s greatest restaurants, including Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin, La Chèvre d’Or in the Côte d’Azur, and Philippe Rochat’s three-star Michelin outpost in Switzerland. He arrived in Palm Beach in December 2015 to head the wine program at Café Boulud.
Poolside wines: “I’m a big fan of Muscadet from the Loire Valley, especially producers such as Domaine de l’Ecu. These wines are dry and refreshing, with a strong mineral character. I also like Albariño from the north of Spain for something pleasant and easy to drink.”
To enjoy while grilling: “For something truly special, try a red Zinfandel from the Monte Rosso Vineyard in Sonoma, made from 100-year-old vines. Syrah from the Northern Rhône is also a good choice, particularly Crozes-Hermitage from Alain Graillo, which is well-balanced, intense, and complex.”
For formal dinners: “Begin with Champagne from a grower-winemaker such as Egly-Ouriet or De Souza. If money isn’t a concern, continue with a white Burgundy from Ramonet or Neillon. For the main course, select a firm, structured Barbaresco in the traditional style such as Marquis de Grésy.”



Wally Arenas
Wally Arenas

Wally Arenas, Truluck’s, Boca Raton

Background: Arenas joined Truluck’s several years ago after a 14-year stint at Morton’s Steakhouse. He’s currently studying to take the Court of Master Sommeliers Level 1 exam next year.

Spring/summer sips: “A high-quality Pinot Grigio, such as Jermann, is crisp enough for casual drinking but also has enough structure to pair with food. I’m a fan of the Clos Pegase Rosé from Napa. It’s dry, easy to drink, and has very good acidity.”
To enjoy while grilling: “Malbec is a great wine for a hot day, much easier to drink than Cabernet. There are many from Argentina, but the Bodega Septima Gran Reserva is a standout. The Hess Collection, grown on California’s Mount Veeder, is also making a rich and smooth Malbec in the Salta region.”
For formal dinners: “I think any meal should start with bubbles; it’s a great way to open the palate. I like the Bollinger Special Cuvée, an entry-level Brut, [because] if it was good enough for James Bond then it works for me. For oysters or a fish course, try a full-bodied white from the Loire Valley such as Le Rocher des Violettes by Xavier Weisskopf.”


Brian Albe
Brian Albe

Brian Albe, Cut 432, Delray Beach

Background: Albe learned about wine on the job. He met his current partners while tending bar at Pranzo in Boca Raton, and they now operate three restaurants in Delray. “I had a customer who was always talking to me about wine and bringing bottles in,” he says. “One day, when I was tasting a Syrah from the North Coast, everything finally clicked. It was my aha moment, and I was hooked.” At Cut 432, he manages 350 selections. Given the steak house format, the wine options are heavy on full-bodied reds, but the list is also remarkably balanced, with Old World regions such as Burgundy and Italy well represented.
Spring/summer sips: “I love Cava from Spain; it’s made in the Champagne method, but [tastes] very different. Naveran, from Penedès, is one of my favorite producers. The wines have a creamy, yeasty texture and are great values.”
To enjoy while grilling: “For a light pork dish, I’d go with a Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast. I visited Peay Vineyards last year and liked their style, which is well-balanced and elegant, with lots of red fruit and moderate alcohol. With a steak, I’d reach for Bedrock Zinfandel. They make a Heritage Red Blend from 120-year-old vines that’s truly amazing.”
For formal dinners: “With a seafood starter, I’d drink a Sancerre from Lucien Crochet. It has nice grass and mineral notes and is much more appealing than a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. To pair with a meat entree, go for a small-production Napa Cabernet such as Jax Vineyards in Calistoga. It has lots of black fruit and isn’t overly oaked or tannic.”


Note: This article has been shortened for the web. For the full article pick up the April 2017 issue of Palm Beach Illustrated.

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