Today I participated in one of the many events around town tied to the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction. It was a fundraiser for the Oxford American and featured a menu that paired the wines of Palmaz Vineyards in Napa County with the Southern-inflected cooking of Duane Nutter and Todd Richards — the duo responsible for the menu at One Flew South in Hartsfield Jackson Airport. (I profiled Richards and Nutter in the Oxford American’s recently released food issue.)
The dish that really struck me were these turnip greens tossed with pork shoulder in a sweet-acidic potlikker. “Wow, this is going to kill the wine,” I thought to myself as soon as the creamy Palmaz chardonnay (which had gone though 100% malolactic fermentation) hit the table. Surprise. Not at all. The wine had a clean focus and good length, and that potlikker did a kind of double-helix dance with it. The flavors twirled around each other in the mouth. It was an astonishing pairing, and it got me thinking how little we have explored wine pairings with traditional Southern dishes.
By the way, those little yellow petals on top are spoonbread madeleines. Jerry Slater, One Flew South’s mixologist, called them “the children of Edna Lewis and Proust.”
This dish of seared smoked trout with English peas and green herbs was also excellent, and the first thing I’ve eaten this year that promises spring.
Spring is coming, right?