As Coral Bay continues to change its reputation from that of a sleepy island out-post to a dining destination chock full of fabulous eateries, Shipwreck Landing is helping the cause.
The popular Coral Bay restaurant, in conjunction with the West Indies Corporation, hosted its first ever wine club for a sold out crowd of 20 people on Wednesday evening, June 6.
“Coral Bay is all grown up,” said Dennis Rizzo, who has owned Shipwreck with his wife Pat for the past 14 years. “We sold out of seatings for this wine club within a week and we’re definitely going to be hosting more in the future.”
While Shipwreck offers an extensive selection of wines nightly, the special tasting enabled patrons to sample an even wider range of varietals, explained West Indies sales representative Shannon Straughan.
Range of Regions Featured
“Dennis (Rizzo) has really elevated the wines that are poured out here and the popularity of his wines is amazing,” said Straughan. “We knew it would be a perfect audience for a wine club. We picked a wide range of wines to expose people to different regions and styles.”
Five different wines — from Argentina, Spain, France and two different regions of California — were paired with five small tasting courses prepared by Shipwreck Executive Chef James McManus.
The tasting started with a 2005 sparkling Cava by Marques de Monistrol from Spain. The light young blend was paired with almond and cream cheese stuffed dates and a roasted local mango salsa.
The second course featured a 100 percent chardonnay by J. Lohr of Monterey, California. The layered and balanced wine was the perfect accompaniment to McManus’ pan seared sea scallop and mushroom over parmesan polenta.
Rose and Sushi Grade Tuna
A Rose, which is still under- appreciated, but gaining in popularity, was featured with the third course of jerk seasoned sushi grade tuna with pineapple teriyaki sauce, mango chutney aioli, wakame salad and black bean jasmine rice cake.
The tuna — one of the most popular dishes of the night — was paired with a Parallele “45” Rose from Cote du Rhone, France.
“Rose is the prefect wine for this climate,” said Rizzo, who has enjoyed Rose since discovering the wine on a trip to St. Barths 20 years ago. “It’s light and refreshing and nice on its own, but is food-friendly too.”
Straughan and Rizzo went south for their next course, which featured a Terrazas Cabernet Sau-vignon from Argentina. The French oak aged wine was paired with a braised pork shoulder with down island onion sauce, featuring Valley Doll hot sauce, and sweet potato hash.
A layered Ghirardelli chocolate pecan and pumpkin pie with Race Horse Red Zinfandel and Cabernet blend from Napa, California cap-ped off the night.
“I researched the wines we were going to feature to get an idea of their features and then I made a general sketch of what I was thinking,” said McManus about the night’s menu. “I also wanted to do dishes that we serve in the restaurant so people could get an idea of what I do on a regular basis.”
The next gathering of Shipwreck Landing’s wine club is tentatively scheduled for August and while the seating capacity will be expanded, space is sure to sell out quickly.
Call the Coral Bay restaurant, open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, at 693-5640 for reservations and to inquire about the next wine club.