Meet the Somms: Guiding Guests through January’s Palate Passport Dinner
The famous Palate Passport: A Global Wine Pairing Dinner event is coveted among locals, and not just because of the elevated food and wine pairings. Long-time locals and sommeliers Megan Morgan and Kurtis Hammann put meticulous thought, planning, and tasting into this exclusive dinner. We asked them a few questions about how they chose the wines for the 2024 pairing dinner.
Read on to meet the somms for this incredible event, and make sure to check out the pairing menu, just announced!
About the Sommeliers: Megan and Kurtis have been sommeliers in Summit County, Colorado for many years! They studied with the Court of Master Sommeliers, The International Sommelier Guild, and The International Wine Guild, and learned that there’s more knowledge to be gained every day. They feel deeply that each wine has a soul and a story that is just waiting to pop out of a bottle and become part of your dining experience. Over the last thirty years, they have connected hundreds of people with the magic of wine, food, and friends, as well as a dive into the history each wine, grape, region, and winemaker have to offer.
What was the wine selection process for this event like?
Kurtis: “Wine selection is one of the most time consuming yet most important parts of the entire process of putting on a wine dinner. For this event, we started with the theme of “The Judgement of Keystone,” in which we were going to have blind tastings of well-known varietals, and have the guests vote on their favorite. After a long search through 2500 wines, we found about 200 with possibilities. After researching the 200, we narrowed it down to 15 wines.
Then, we invited 3 wine reps from RNDC to Megan’s’ house to taste through these wines and we cooked them a mushroom and wild rice soup for lunch. We found 4 of the 5 wines at this lunch but we still need to taste one more wine! Jen from RNDC was nice enough to meet me in a parking lot in Silverthorne and hand that wine off so Megan and I could taste it. Three of the wines selected for our dinner, we both agreed on instantly, and Megan and I debated with each other about 2 competing wines for 2 different remaining courses. I feel like she talked me into the wine to go with dessert and talked her into the wine that we will serve in the 4th course.
Long story short, we found five wines that are so amazing that we abandoned the original theme of blind tasting so we could put these unusual and outstanding wines in your glass.”
What is your favorite wine region and why?
Megan used to say to people who asked this question that picking a favorite wine, grape or region is like picking your favorite child. To our surprise many guests would say “Oh, I could name my favorite child,” but Megan would still dodge the question so eloquently that it would make a politician jealous.
Kurtis: “I would say my favorite wine region this month is South America.”
What wine are you most excited to share with guests this year?
Kurtis: “The Garage Wine Co. Carignan blend – It is from a winery whose production is so small that they melt down crayons for the top of bottle cork covering and must make their own labels!”
Fan Submitted Question: Can you give us a sneak peek at this year’s menu?
Editor’s note: Catering by Design has been working alongside Megan & Kurtis to curate an upscale and palatable menu for guests. Check out the menu, just announced, here!