Uvaggio’s Heath Porter Reigns Supreme in Miami’s First Ever Somm Slam

What do you get when you pit two of Miami’s best sommeliers together and challenge them to pair wines with a delicious three-course meal? Well besides getting six glasses of wine — maybe more if you play your cards right — and one hell of a show, at Miami’s first ever “Somm Slam.”

This event had Uvaggio’s Head “Wine-O” Heath Porter against The Genuine Hospitality Group’s Wine Director Eric Larkee with the goal of pairing wines most successfully with three dishes. At the end of each round, guests would hold up their paddle with either Porter’s image or Larkee’s image to indicate who’s pairing they favored.

After some mingling and a prosecco filled cocktail hour, guests got to the task of eating and drinking. The whole evening was interactive with Porter and Larkee making friendly-jabs at one another and talking to the roughly 35 attendees about the wine and asking them what they liked and didn’t like about the pairings.

This first course was prepared by the culinary team at Uvaggio and featured a Scallop Ceviche topped with mango, grapefruit, cucumber, watermelon radish, coriander, yuzu and jasmine foam. Porter chose to pair this course with a “bone dry” 2013 Scheurebe, similar to a Riesling, while Larkee paired the dish with a 2009 Muscadet. Porter’s pick was the crowd favorite with him getting the win for the first round.

The second course was a family-style Porcelet filled with porcini mushrooms and served with a side of salsa romanesco and spring onions created by The Cypress Room’s Roel Alcudia. Larkee paired the dish with a Spanish rose and Porter with a wine from the Canary Islands that he likened to having the “nose of dead monkey brains.” This is where the event got even more interactive with Larkee bringing out his porrón, a traditional Spanish wine pitcher, with guests serving themselves directly from the porrón. At the end of this course, Porter’s pairing remained supreme again.

The final savory course was prepared by the Uvaggio team and was a hearty Duck Confit with sweet carrot puree, smoked black lentils and a blackberry “gastriquie.” The guys paired this dish with very similar wines but of different ages with Larkee’s being a 2004 Mourvèdre that had a “animalistic” quality to it while Porter paired it with a 2011 Mourvèdre that was a bit lighter to match up with the dish’s sweetness. All in all, the crowd went with Larkee’s choice for the final pairing of the night.

The evening ended on a sweet note with spiced Carrot Cake Truffle Balls while the somms made their closing remarks. While Porter came out victorious in the first ever somm slam, Larkee quickly challenged him to a rematch at his home turf — The Cypress Room, which we’re told will happen later this summer.

Miss out on the fun? Then make sure to check out the next event at Uvaggio on June 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. where we are teaming up with them to host the seminar the “Art of the Lost Aperitif.” For $30 you can learn all about this classic drink and new ways to use it from the Head Wine-O himself. Purchase your tickets here http://uvaggiowine.com/product/the-lost-art-of-the-aperitif/

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