By Jeff Stolowitz
I attended the Monthly Wine Dinner at Azure. An Italian experience consisting of 5 courses paired with Villa Banfi Wines. I was invited by the Executive Chef Michael Bartscher and upon arriving a happy surprise, he was actually promoted to Food and Beverage Director.
Villa Banfi meets Chef Patrick Ransom. Patrick has been the second in command as the Chef De Cuisine and was responsible for creating what was to be a unforgettable dining experience. This in a setting to die for, overlooking the churning Atlantic Ocean
With the promotion of Executive Chef Michael Bartscher to the Food and Beverage Manager of the Daytona Shores Resort and Spa he has implemented a monthly Wine Dinner which is heartily attended.
As I look around at least one notable Restaurateur, Ross Wylie from the Corkscrew Bar and Grill in New Smyrna Beach. To make things even better another Nick Antalek a knowledgeable manager that has been part of the foodie scene appears. I met Nick while briefly working at the now closed SW Grill. He has a firm grasp on the hospitality industry and wine in general.
The wine is poured by our hosts and the first course arrives, it is a wonderful pairing and start.
A San Angelo Pinot Grigio along side a Antipasto of Compressed Cantelope and Honeydew, Duck Prosciutto on a Mozzarella crisp drizzled with White Balsamic Vinegar. A crispness in the wine simple and bright notes of minerality was the perfect match
The atmosphere is relaxed and easy going as the representative from Banfi gave us a history. Did you remember “Riunite on Ice”? she asked. With Mr. Bartscher putting on a personal touch sitting with guests. The dinner is off to a great start and I think Wine has come a long way since those days of Riunite and Mateus
Our next course arrives it is Wood Roasted Pheasant and it is paired with an exquisite Amarone. This wine was the highlight for me. It was Supple, Tannic, Spicey but not to bold and finished with Cherry notes and of course Chef Ransom highlights this by using dark soaked cherry along side and white Carrot puree for the Pheasant. I asked the server Denise if she could pour a little more a she graciously did. This wine gets a 93 rating by me. If I actually rated wines like Robert Parker.
Pausing for a minute, I remind myself how lucky I am to be sitting here and can only imagine how hard it will be for Napa and Sonoma to recover from the recent Fire Storms.
Damaged or destroyed we're many wineries including Stags Leap. We send our condolences to those who lost their lives.
A small quiet toast at our table is made.
The third course Lobster Ravioli with Grilled Shrimp. Wait just wait. You know that feeling you get when you bite into the most perfectly cooked bite of food yes that's what happened.
This dish highlighted Chef Ransom's skill and technical ability. Everything completely from scratch because the chef cares about what he's doing no I mean really completely from scratch even the guy who caught the lobster was at the dinner so we know where the lobster came from.
Our Main Course arrives it is a Roasted Pork Loin stuffed with Prosciutto and Crusted with Herbs de Provence. They served the 2012 Banfi Brunello di Montalcino. A red wine that will continue to age extremely well but is incredibly deep and intense already.
Then a surprising finish to the meal a Butterscotch Budino it reminds one of a deconstructed Creme Anglais Creme Brulee. Infused with dark berries.
The whole experience was well worth it 4 Incredible Wines and 5 spectacular courses.
The next event is in November.
We can't wait.
Located in: The Shores Resort & Spa
Address: 2637 S Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118
Phone: (386) 767-7356