Events — 03 October 2011
The Meatball Shop: New York City Wine & Food Festival

The culinary powerhouse that is the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival rolls on. And on a beautiful Sunday morning, a lucky crowd of food lovers would have the opportunity to sample one of the cities hottest restaurants’ fare paired with a selection of fine wines. And yes, I am talking about the Meatball Shop, who else. Meatball Shop Chef/Co-owner Daniel Holzman and Food & Wine Executive Wine Editor Ray Isle would fearlessly take us on a carnivore and vino trip around the world. Needless to say, we trusted them.

Upon entering the event space at the Astor Center, each guest was presented with a personal plate featuring five selections by Daniel Holzman of The Meatball Shop. The meaty samples in their order of tasting included: Crab Meatballs with Old Bay Dipping Sauce, Chicken Meatball Silder with Parmesan Cream Sauce, Lamb Meatball with Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce, Beer and Mortadella Meatballs with Mustard Greens, and Spicy Meatballs with Spicy Meat Sauce.

Those hearty spheres of goodness were paired with ten fine wines in the following order; 2008 R Weil Riesling Kavinett Halbtroken, 2008 Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina, 2009 Trefethen Chardonnay, 2008 Louis Michel Chablis, 2001 Marques de Riscal Gran Reserva RiojaSauce, 2007 Clos La Chance Santa Cruz Pinot Noir, 2008 Santa Anastasia Passomaggio, 2007 D’Arenberg the Dead Arm Shiraz, 2007 Zaca Mesa Syrah, and finally Grotta Del Sole Gragnano. 

The flavor profiles between each pairing blew myself and the crowd away. The wine and meatball combinations were done with pin point precision, leaving nothing to question. But like everything in life, we all have our favorites. The pairing of the Lamb Meatball with Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce and it’s wine pairing of 2001 Marques de Riscal Gran Reserva RiojaSauce, and 2007 Clos La Chance Santa Cruz Pinot Noir were my winner. First, the Mediterranean flavors of savory lamb and sweet raisins played excellently off of each other. The black trumpet mushrooms were the bow tying the dish together and their slightly bitter flavor provided great contrast. The two red wines provided great body while not competing against the savory dish.

The hour long event was packed to the gills with insightful yet fun wine and food knowledge. Both Holzman and Isle kept it light throughout, engaging the sold out crowd to participate and cracking us up a long the way. After each pairing, Isle polled the audience to see what wine went best with each meatball pairing. This led to a number of great back and forths with our hosts.

Once we were well into our wine and full from the meatballs, the conversation began to loosen up. At one point Holzman started talking about some uncommon food pairings. In a humorous yet engaging manner he began to advocate for the pairing of milk with artichokes. He remarked about the bold flavors produced from the combination. The crowd immediately responded with inquisitive and funny questions.

The casual nature of the seminar, the informative and friendly hosts, and of course the tremendous meatball and wine pairings made this event a true winner and a fantastic way to wind down The New York City Wine & Food Festival.

- Jay Rubin

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