Night of wine and Rossellini

 

$1,000 a plate gala for new exhibit

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By Victoria Pesce Elliott

Art Basel Miami Beach may be one of the world's great visual feasts, but for the 100 or so guests at Wednesday night's $1,000-a-plate gala at The Wolfsonian FIU, it was a literal one as well. The talents of French super-chef Jean Georges Vongerichten and the grande dame of American wine, Margrit Mondavi, paired beautifully with the quirky genius of actress- filmmaker Isabella Rossellini.

After climbing over an awkward tangle of chairs to reach the dais (‘‘like getting out of a Ferrari," she quipped), the elegant Mondavi toasted her late husband, saying "Robert's spirit is in every glass'' of the 200-case, 2007 edition of fumé blanc from the sacred Block 1 of their Napa vineyard. It was an inspired match for Vongerichten's rice- cracker-coated tuna medallions dabbed with siracha-citrus emulsion.

A main course of plump, double-barreled, caramelized lamb chops with a smoked chile glaze and a buttery potato puree went gorgeously with a smoky 2007 cabernet reserve that had a nose so big it could have sneezed.

Props and costumes (salmon, giraffes, lizards, bugs) from Rossellini's Green Porno videos decorated the lobby. The Seduce Me video installation featuring Rossellini acting out animal mating strategies will be on view through Sunday at The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; www.wolfsonian.org.

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