Contact Us

How can we help?

3143 Ponce De Leon St
New Orleans, LA, 70119
United States


swirl & savor

Filtering by Tag: chef thomas woods

Selecting the Wines: Dinner at Maximo's

Beth Ribblett

Selecting wines for our dinners with local restaurants is one of my favorite things to do.  And believe it or not, there's a lot more to it than just opening up a bunch of bottles we like and designing a menu around them.  It is a process that involves the input and collaboration of quite a few individuals who all have a vested interest in you having a great wine and food experience.

I've been to dinners where it was obvious that there was not much communication between the wine people and the food people.  The latest experience, believe it or not, was in Tuscany. And as bad as the event was, it was actually very good for me to see what happens when proper planning is obviously not involved. Food comes out without wine or wrong wines in your glass when the food comes out and little or no thought going in to the actual food and wine pairings which means neither the wine nor the food really gets to shine.

Anne Zakin
Now onto our upcoming dinner at Maximo's...We are working on an event in late September when Anne Zakin, President of Marc De Grazia Imports USA, will be in town to host the dinner and present the wines. I met with sommelier Michelle Gueydan, who has been working with the staff at Maximo's, Chef Thomas Woods, General Manager Eric Solis, and Nick Selby from Uncorked, at his office to put our heads together to make the selections.   And I am really excited by the line up!

Chef Thomas Woods
We wanted a wide range to show case the depths of the portfolio and Chef Thomas' diversity in cooking styles.  We needed interesting wines but with good acidity and structure to pair with foods and even turned down a wine that we all fell head over heels for because we felt another would better fit our purpose (more on that wine later...). And although we tend to want to taste higher end wines at these dinners, it is important to present selections at various price points to show that not all wine needs to be expensive to be good.

So we decided to take you on a tour of Italy, presenting wine and food from the Veneto, Campagnia, Sicily, Tuscany and Alto Adige with a mix of obscure and well known grape varieties. The list is now in Chef Thomas' hands and it is up to him to create some culinary magic in the kitchen to pair with the wines.  The dinner is Wednesday September 21 and menu and pricing will be coming soon, but here's a little information on a few of the wines we selected:

2009 Kofererhof Kerner - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 93 pts:  The 2009 Kerner bursts from the glass with an exciting array of mint, flowers, passion fruit and crushed rocks. This is a beautiful, vivid white that takes shape in the glass, continuing to show off its remarkable class. A textured, creamy finish rounds things out in style. The estate’s Kerner is one of the great, great wines of Alto Adige, and the 2009 is nothing short of breathtaking. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2015.

2007 Az Agr Dei Vino Nobile di Montepulciano - Robert Parker's Wine Advocat, 90 pts:  Dei’s 2007 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is wonderfully soft and expressive in this vintage. Bright red cherries lead to subtle notes of earthiness and pipe tobacco as this sexy, radiant Vino Nobile opens up in the glass. Fine, silky tannins frame the long, beautifully articulated finish. This understated, delicate Vino Nobile is a gem from Dei. 

2008 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso Feudo di Mezzo, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, 92 pts., (RP 93 pts) - Good deep red. Delicately smoky, penetrating aromas of redcurrant and crushed rock, with a liqueur-like nuance; seems a bit less intense than the Guardiola. Supple, creamy and sweet, which is typical for this vineyard bottling, but with very good acidity and a recurring rocky quality nicely complementing the berry and smoke flavors. Finishes with sweet but mounting tannins and notes of aromatic herbs. This has the structure to age but also offers considerable up-front appeal, though the tannins are such that I'd suggest laying this away for another couple of years.

Annual Tre Bicchieri Italian Wine Dinner at Maximo's Italian Grill

Beth Ribblett

Celebrate the best of Italy with an Italian wine dinner featuring the highest award winning wines of the Gambero Rosso Vini d'Italia, internationally regarded as the foremost the authority on Italian wine.  Published annually, Gambero Rosso reviewed more than 20,000 wines for the 2011 edition with only 402 receiving the highly coveted "Tre Bicchieri" or 3 glass award. It is the most prestigious honor that can be bestowed upon an Italian wine, a symbol that has come to represent superior quality and current trends which influences fine Italian wine consumption across the globe.
Each year Swirl Wines holds a dinner at an Italian restaurant, one that demonstrates the same commitment to excellence, and chooses five Tre Bicchieri award winners to match with their cuisine. We are excited to hold this year's dinner at Maximo's Italian Grill with chef Thomas Wood's specially designed pairing menu that will feature six tasting courses with five wines representing five different regions of Italy. Antonio Molesini, Italian Wine Specialist from Republic National Beverage, and a native of Tuscany, will join us in hosting the event.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

6:30pm Cocktails (cash bar), 7:00pm Dinner

$110 per person, tax and tip included (prepayment is required with reservation)

Maximo's Italian Grill, 1117 Decatur Street


Tonight's Menu

2008 Castello della Sala Cervaro, Chardonnay and Greccheto, Umbria
~Chili Glazed Scallops~
Diver scallops drizzled, sweet and spicy chili glaze served over a 
sauté of green pear and baby spinach

2001 Travagini Gattinara Riserva, Nebbiolo, Piemonte
~Wild Mushroom Bruschetta~
 Baby portabella, shitake, and oyster mushroom served on top of a crisp crostini

2005 Poliziano Asinone Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Toscano
~Pan Roasted Maple Leaf Duck Breast~
Carrot confit, grilled polenta and fresh buffalo mozzarella, finished with a Spring cherry demi-glace

2005 Tormaresca Maime, Negroamaro, Puglia 
~Grilled Domestic Lamb Loin Chop~
Baby red potato gratin and fresh local radish sprouts, finished with a blackberry truffle sauce

2006 Planeta Santa Cecilia, Nero d'Avola, Sicilia~Wild Boar and House Smoked Provolone Ravioli~
Fresh Pomodoro basil butter sauce

~Dessert of fresh, local ingredients, chef's choice~

Chef Thomas Wood's Chili Glazed Scallops

Beth Ribblett

Last week I had the pleasure of sitting at the grill bar at Maximo's tasting wines with Antonio, Michelle Gueydan (she's been consulting with them to update their wine list and work with the staff), manager Eric Solis and chef Thomas Woods.  Our fourth annual "Tre Bicchieri" Italian Wine dinner will be at Maximo's next month so we were tasting through a number of potential wines and chef Thomas prepared a few dishes and sauces to accompany them.

As we began with the whites, he impressed us immediately with one of his signature dishes, Chili Glazed Scallops.  The fresh, gigantic sea scallops were cooked to perfection and served atop a bed of sauteed spinach and pears.  Equally as gorgeous is the wine we choose to pair it with, the 2008 Castello della Sala Cervaro della Sala, a very Burgundian styled Chardonnay from Umbria.  So if this first course is any indication of what will follow for the next four, we are all in for an incredible evening!

We'll be finishing up the menu and pairings this week and I'll post the information as soon as it is confirmed.  But as a special treat, Chef Thomas has shared the recipe with us so you can give it a try yourself before hand or just wait 'til May 18th at 7pm!

Chili Glazed Scallops
Chef Thomas Woods, Maximo's Italian Grill

Chili Glaze:
1 Tablespoon Garlic, Minced
1 Tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoon Pomace oil (though any neutral cooking oil will work)
1/2 cup Honey
1/4 cup Stock (Preferably fish, though chicken, shrimp, etc., will work)
1/4 cup White wine (Dry though whatever you’re drinking will work
just fine)
Pinch Salt to taste
Pinch Black Pepper to taste
4-2 ounces Diver Scallops
(seasoned and grilled)

Place oil, garlic and red pepper in a medium sauté pan on medium heat, making sure all ingredients are incorporated in the pan while in heating. Toast the garlic until golden brown. Deglaze pan with white wine, stock, honey and lemon juice. Incorporate ingredients in pan. Add butter, parsley, salt and pepper. Reduce contents in pan; sauce will visibly change (all bubbles will appear the same size). Drizzle glaze over the top of scallops.

Chef Woods serves this dish at Maximo’s accompanied with a pear and baby spinach sauté. Serves 2.