You’re Invited! My Small Plates Food and Wine Pairing “Function”

Irene's wine and food pairing event

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for stopping by!  If you want to, you can skip all of the explanations and go straight to the details, menu, and map below.

As you may know, I’m in the process of earning several wine credentials.  All of them were planned for this year, but due to schedules and sequencing, some may have to trickle over into early 2015. However, I am concentrating on those that I know that I will be able to complete this year.

All of the certifications I’m seeking are: California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS – testing February 16), Level 1 Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), Certified Wine Educator (CWE), (both through the Society of Wine Educators) and Certified Sommelier, once again, through “The Court.”  And one more just added – WSET-Level 2.  I mean, after all…while I’m at it…

So 2014 is Wine School Immersion time for me.  That being said, I used to think I knew a lot… lol

There’s a historical component to this as no African-American woman has all of these credentials and definitely not anyone of my age.  This will be a first.  Besides the fact that I love all things wine, I’m doing it because I am looking at retirement in a few years and don’t want to be a greeter at WalMart.

One of the important parts of these certifications is that I must know wine/food pairing.  It is a key part of the Sommelier exams as well as the CSW and CWE.  This is my first attempt at deliberately pairing wines and food together in order to reach a goal. One of those goals is to pair the wines with Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten-free foods as well as “regular” foods that you’d expect to have at a wine tasting.  In addition, I will have a couple of wines that are a little out of the ordinary.  Please note that I will have another wine/food pairing at my home using the wines that I will most likely be tested on later on in the year.

As you can see in the list below, I have a wine menu and tasting sorta hashed out.  I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and experimenting during the last two or so months and have found some real gems.  I hope they turn out as well as they did during testing! It has been challenging finding suitable Vegetarian/Vegan foods that pair well with some of the wines that I’ll be pouring.  Finding Gluten-free has been even more challenging!  Big, rich red wines were largely developed in cultures where they were a part of a meat dinner or where they were a part of a dinner that included pasta, bread, and rich meaty sauces or soups. Today’s esthetic says that vegetables and some allergies have to be considered for those who still love the red wines and want to have meat-free food that pairs well with them.

I will be updating the list as we get closer to the date.  Be sure to bookmark this page and stop by frequently to see what changes I’ll be making, as some ingredients available today may not be available then. And everything has to be fresh!


Date and Time:  Saturday, February 8

Time:  6:30 pm

Place:  3912 Sweet Pine Street, Unit 102. My doorway is on the far right side of the building.
Las Vegas, NV 89108

Phone: 279-6068 (cell) or 222-0707 (home)

RSVP:  My “everyday” e-mail - vegasrenie(at)clear(dot)net (gotta keep the spammer bots away)

Oh what the hell. You are here, you were probably invited:  09620

If you look at Google Maps for directions, ignore the picture that they show on the map.  It shows the street behind the community. Go figure.


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


Can I Bring Anything?


You can bring any wine to enjoy after the small plates are done. Or – especially after I have posted the names of the wines – you can bring a dish to share to see if it will pair as well. This is a learning event, not a test. That said, I’m pretty sure we’ll devolve into a party afterwards. :-)

Are You Sure You’re the “Only One”?

I’m as sure as Google, the membership of the Society of Wine Educators, and what I can find from what the Sommelier associations will allow me.  There’s very limited access to non-members, of course.

How’s this for a goal – there are no African-American female Advanced or Master Sommeliers. And there are less than 325 Certified Wine Educators, none of whom are black females. Once again, this is based on knowledge that I have at this time. This could change as I continue to research.

Do you plan to become a Master Sommelier?

Uh… That’s a hard thing to say.  *Maybe* I’ll try for Advanced, but getting a Master Somm certification is the equivalent of getting a doctorate.  You gotta know a lot of minutiae and have a palate of the gods.  That’s something I’ll think about after I’ve finished everything else. Believe it or not, getting the Certified Educator of Wine is the most important credential for me now. And from what I’ve been able to see, not a whole lot less difficult than acquiring an Advanced Somm level.  Note:  We will all genuflect to Fritz when he shows up since he has everything except the Master. :-)

Are there any guidelines that I need to know?

Just a few. NO PERFUME OR COLOGNE! I know I don’t need to tell that to you guys, but I know that sometimes I may put on cologne just out of habit if I’m going to visit somebody.  Since this is a guided tasting, this is especially important since the smell of someone’s perfume can clash with the food/wine experience.  The other is to come prepared to learn, eat, and have fun. Or else. ;-)



NV Segura CavaStuffed Kale Quinoa Tabbouleh wraps with Lime Yogurt Dip. gluten free.
NV Louis Bouillot Perle d'Aurore Rose Crèmant de BourgogneCaper Deviled Eggs
2011 Bouguer "V" Vouvray Grand Reserve (A less sweet style of Vouvray - Chenin Blanc - which is one of the styles that sommelier candidates may be tested on).Mango Salsa with Rice or Corn Chips
2005 Hunt Cellars Moonlight Sonata Reserve Chardonnay (yes, that's a current release!) (Santa Barbara fruit)
Possible alternative may be a white Burgundy.
Butternut Squash Soup (will have dairy)
2011 Villa San-Juliette Albariño (Edna Valley fruit). Possible alternative may be a Muscadet Sevre et Maines Sur Lie. Seared Whitefish or Scallops with Herb Butter Sauce. Haricot vert.
2011 Villa San-Juliette Albariño (Edna Valley fruit)Vegetarian Option - Seared Vietnamese tofu marinated in herb butter sauce. Haricot vert.
2011 M. Chapoutier Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour Domaine de Bila-Haut Occultum LapidemRatatouille (just like the original peasant stew, not like the movie)
Pinot Noir (Still TBD)Burgundy Braised Turkey Thighs w/Polenta (Vegetarian option is without the Turkey, but with mushrooms)
2004 Moccagatta BarbarescoBraised beef cheeks on papparadelle - because of richness of dish, at this time there's no veggie equivalent option. That may change.
2003 Château Rieussec Sauternes (1er Grand Cru Classé 1855) and Osborne Fino Sherry.Dessert (TBD) and Nuts, Cheeses. Maybe Creme Brulee. Maybe chocolate chip bacon cookies. Maybe red wine cream cheese chocolate chunk brownies. Who knows.



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