When former bottle shop owner Matthew Emborski joined the Varia team in May, hosting wine dinners was at the top of his list. The level 2 sommelier selects vinos from the world’s most prominent wine regions and collaborates with Varia’s Executive Chef Fabio Capparelli to create exquisite five-course experiences in the Vault, the eatery’s lavish private event space.
While Emborski typically guides diners through flavor profiles and pairing notes, November’s dinner was led by Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth of Lost & Found Wine. Kruth is a Virginia Beach native and California transplant who harnesses a deep passion and unique gift for winemaking. Present in his award-winning bottles are grapes harvested from his Northern California site, as well fruits from a number of “lost and found” vineyards throughout the state. “I make wine the way I like to drink it,” says Kruth.
Throughout the five-course spread, Kruth spoke to the inspiration and intensive winemaking process behind each of his blends. Paired first with the chef’s creamy sea urchin pie was a half pour of Kruth’s Chardonnay sourced from The Nines Vineyard of Sonoma Mountain. Aged for six months on the lees, Kruth’s white sips slightly oaky and sweet, making it a quaffable accompaniment to the seafood starter.
Next appeared a thick-cut wagyu beef carpaccio and roasted artichoke plate complemented by a glass of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. The 2014 vintage matured for one year in barrel and two years in bottle, making it the longest aged blend in Kruth’s portfolio. The third course boasted a tender charred octopus cassoulet to be washed down with a 2016 Rhone-style Blend. The red is Kruth’s only multi-varietal blend showcasing the unique savors of three distinct grapes—Carignan, Cinsaut and Mourvédre.
At the crux of the dinner was a savory grilled lamb chop paired with a nutty kombucha squash and pepper-driven Syrah. Spicy on the tongue, the wine balanced well with the herbaceous meat. For the final course, Capparelli prepared a decadent chocolate cake PB&J topped with whipped peanut butter and a Luxardo cherry crema. The paired wine was a dessert in and of itself and one that Kruth describes as “as pinot as you can get.” With six pinot varietals, the Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir is equally spicy, earthy and fruit-forward with distinct berry flavors.
As Emborski bid adieu to Kruth, he announced a slew of upcoming events at Varia. See below for details:
Art of Wine
Sip, savor and explore the world of wine at Varia’s Wolf lounge every Thursday night from 5–7 p.m. Free to attend, or enjoy tastings and small bites for $15.
Dec. 5 – Got my Bojo Workin’
Dec. 12 – Return of the Blind Tasting
Dec. 19 – Badda Bing, Badda Boom
Dec. 26 – All I Want For the Day After Christmas…
Monthly Wine Classes
Join Emborski on a tour through the world’s greatest bottles every first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Prices may vary.
Jan. 7 – Washington State
Feb. 4 – Alsace, France
March 3 – South America