Corkbuzz co-founder Frank Vafier wants three things to come to mind when someone mentions his establishment: great food, a nice space to hold a special event, and a wine-knowledgeable staff. The Charlotte Food Bloggers can vouch for all three.
We are in the know because the fine folks at Corkbuzz recently treated us to a five course dinner and drink pairing that featured both traditional and non-traditional, or discovery, pairings.
The trio of appetizers that came out first made nothing short of a grand entrance. A dish of scallop noodles were dressed with apple, mint, preserved lemon and garnished with jalapeno slices. A fried oyster was served over cucumber and topped with caviar and crème fraiche, and pickled shrimp sat atop sea beans and smoked ricotta.
As a whole, the first course was served with a traditional Sauvignon Blanc pairing, and our discovery pairing included a trio of beer. We enjoyed the Man O’ War Sauvignon Blanc out of Waiheke Island, New Zealand. The scallop noodles were also paired with Anderson Valley’s Briney Melon gose. Local favorite Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Hornet’s Nest hefeweizen was paired with the fried oyster, and the pickled shrimp were paired with Benford Brewing’s World’s Problem Solver IPA.
Fried oyster with caviar and crème fraiche | Photo Credit: Christin @Spicy Southern Kitchen
Veal tartare served with fermented cabbage, turnip, quail egg, and cheddar chips came out next. A white wine, the Grangeneuve les Dames Blances du Sud out of Grignan-les-Adhemar, France, was our traditional pairing. Our discovery pairing was a rosé, the Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina Rubentis from Getaria, Spain.
Veal tartare with cheddar chips | Photo Credit: Allie @eatdrinkclt
Our next course - corvina sea bass with braised radishes and fiddlehead ferns – was served with a traditional white Cordero di Montezemolo Arneis from Langhe, Italy. Our discovery pairing was the Pinot Meunier Tracken, a dry, full-bodied riesling, from Kurt Darting in Pfalz, Germany.
One bit of trivia we picked up was the Pfalz region sits at 49 degrees latitude, which is roughly the same latitude as the Champagne region of France. For a reference closer to home, the 49th parallel is where Washington state meets Canada.
Corvina sea bass | Photo credit: Ashley @theolivethesea
Confit pork belly | Photo Credit: Rachelle @beergirlcooks
By the time the confit pork belly with pork tenderloin, nduja (a pork sausage), roasted broccoli, gnocchi, and parmesan consommé came out, we were essentially beside ourselves. Two Italian wines were paired with this course. Our traditional red was the Vecchia Torre Primitivio Barocco Reale out of Puglia, while our discovery wine was a chardonnay from Isole e Olena in Tuscany.
Confit pork belly and wine | Photo credit: Sarah @bucketlisttummy
Last but not least, we were treated to Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar with blueberries, strawberry jam, rosemary toast and a wisp of cotton candy that was, quite frankly, amazing. The Vecchia Torre Primitivo Barocco Reale continued on as our traditional pairing. Ending the meal as it began, our discovery pairing was not wine but beer, Belgium’s La Perle Mondiale strong ale.
We all had different favorites in the food and drink department, but we all agreed the food and drinks were excellent. A handful of us even lingered over our wines for so long that we closed the place down, and for that, well, we apologize. We also extend our sincere thanks to Frank, general manager Shawn Paul, Chef de Cuisine Allen Evans, and everyone at Corkbuzz who treated us to such a lovely evening. We could not have asked for a nicer experience.
More About Corkbuzz
Although many of the dishes we wrote about here are not available on the regular menu, a fine lunch or dinner is well within your reach anytime you wish to visit Corkbuzz. [Read what CLT Food Bloggers' Mary at Fervent Foodie and Chrissie at Off The Eaten Path had to say about their visits to Corkbuzz this past year.]
Wine can be intimidating, but it does not need to be. Remember how we mentioned Frank was a Corkbuzz co-founder? His partner is Master Sommelier Laura Maniec. Fewer than 250 people have earned this level of wine expertise (Laura is one of 33 females to hold the certification).
Like wine, that also sounds intimidating, but having an incredible level of wine knowledge available to our community is a wonderful thing. No matter your level of wine expertise, you can walk into Corkbuzz and be treated to a wonderful wine experience. The restaurant and wine bar also offers a number of classes and events each month. Cheers!
Check out what a few of our members had to say about their Corkbuzz experience:
Corkbuzz Charlotte Restaurant Pairings Dinner from Tanya at My Forking Life
Wine Pairing Dinner at Corkbuzz from Rachelle at Beer Girl Cooks
Wine & Food Pairing: Corkbuzz from Allie at EatDrinkCLT
Photo credit: Ashley @theolivethesea
4905 Ashley Park Lane, Suite J
Charlotte, NC 28210
Lunch served Friday & Saturday: 11:30am-3pm
Dinner served Monday-Thursday and Sunday : 5pm-10pm; Friday & Saturday: 5pm- 11pm
Brunch served Sunday: 11am-3pm
Bar open Thursday-Saturday until 12 midnight.