The folks who attended the August 20 farm fresh dinner and wine tasting at Via45 had an opportunity to experience the battle. Led by New York Vintners Consulting president and wine expert, Perry Porricelli, 25 people sampled nine wines that were paired with exquisite dishes prepared by Lauren Phillips and Claudette Herring of Via45. The wines were from the Bordeaux province of France and the American wines were from California.

Via45 is owned by Herring and Phillips, a couple who opened the restaurant in 2009 and still work in the kitchen. As a child, Ms. Herring lived in Italy, where her mother would take her to the market in the morning to decide what would be on the dinner table that evening. That ethos, Herring stated, rules our kitchen as well … each sauce, each dish, is made to order, with no pre-searing, to ensure that the meal is of the moment. The relaxed Italian-country ambience at Via45 is the perfect setting for a gourmet meal matched with elegant wines.

The evening started with an overview of the wines being tasted. The evening was a comparison between California and Bordeaux Reds with the exception being the white wine that was serve as guests entered. As participants arrived they were given a glass of Fleuron 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, a California wine. As they were seated they enjoyed Caccio Cavallo cheese with artichoke hearts, dandelion leaves and fresh figs with a light refreshing white wine dressing.
Once everyone was seated, Porricelli gave a brief overview of the evening and the wines being tasted and what to look for in the flavors and aromas and how they complement the foods being served. Each course was paired with two wines.

For the appetizer, Orin Swift Machete 2013 (CA) and Closerie de Fourtet 2006 (France) were paired with paired with a chicken and apple sausage served with Moroccan spiced baby bok choy and garbanzo beans The whole focus of the evening, according to Porricelli, was to have fun, enjoy the food and wine, and to enjoy the people.

The pasta dish was spicy spirelli served Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino. This was paired with Larkmead Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (CA) and Chateau Sociando-Mallet 2009 (France). Once each dish was served Chef Herring would come out and describe it and how it was designed to complement the wines elected by Porricelli. This was my first time at this event, said Carol Silver of Freehold. It was so much fine to learn about the foods and to have an opportunity to compare similar wines.

The main course was a sliced tenderloin of beef served with grain mustard aioli and roasted corn with Aleppo pepper. The wines that were paired with this were Crosby Roamann Cabernet Reserve 2010 (CA) and Grand Puy Lacoste 2009 (France). One of Porricellis comments about these wines was The old rules of red with red meat and white with fish and chicken are gone. The key to what to serve with wine is What do you like? That makes it easier and more fun.

And then, dessert. Chef lauren presented the dessert, explaining the seasonal appearance of the wonderful small Italian plums. Flanagan Cabernet Serenity Way 2011 (CA) and Chateau Leoville Barton 2009 (France) were served with The dolce Italian plum torte served with
Crème Anglaise. (Before serving the tart, Herring gave each person a fresh plum to try before eating the dessert.) Contrary to general practice, wines with dessert are the perfect ending to a perfect meal, stated Porricelli.

So, who won the battle between the USA and France? Everyone who attended the event.

New York Vintners Consulting believes that a wines quality is determined in the glass. Quality wine comes from all over the world and is brought to us by winemakers who consistently make judicious decisions, from the vineyard to the bottle. The wine tastings are held on a regularly scheduled basis and consist of nine wines from around the world, plus unique (and elegant) food pairings from Via45.

The next wine tasting dinners at Via45 will be Thursday, September 24 and Thursday, October 8 at 7 p.m. To get information on future wine tastings, call Perry Porricelli at (646) 745-6590, or e-mail him at or