Can you believe we've already had our fourth wine dinner of of the year? Where has the time gone? Apparently by the looks of this page we've been drinking it away! It's all good though, we can definitely say we've had a great time doing so... Spring was upon us for this lovely evening as were so many lovely new faces! Our tasting was all over the map, literally. We started out in New Mexico, flew off to South Africa, stopped by Italy and ended up in Sonoma County. New Mexico? Wine? You read that right, however it was sparkling wine. Gruet winery specializes in Methode Champenoise sparkling wines. It's roots originate from the Gilbert Gruet's champagne house in Bethon, France. New Mexico's bone-dry sandy soils and very high elevations with it's dramatic temperature swings make for great winemaking making Gruet Brut a bright bubbly that everyone truly enjoyed. Chef Scott paired it with his amusee of Arancini with goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and basil. A beautiful pairing to kick off the night. Our first course was a gorgeous fresh Lump Crab Tower that had crushed avocado, diced mango, lump crab and mango emulsion. A South African Chenin Blanc from the Lievland vinyards which translates to "love land" was true to it's name. Little hearts formed in the eyes of our guests sip after sip making it the night's best seller! Golden hue with elegant aromas of white peach, citrus and pineapple one would think this was a romantic scenario as a it swept us off our feet. But we weren't ready to commit just yet as we moved on to our second course. The servers poured each guest a glass of Petilia, a Falanghina from Campania, Italy. This ancient grape variety from southern Italy, although classical, wasn't much of a winner on it's own for our Americanized palette, but when paired with Chef Scott's Pan Roasted Snapper with a ragout of mussels, a curry mussel cream with saffron and lemon it really sang a different tune. It's floral, citrus and fresh fruit characteristics paired harmoniously and made a world of difference. Unfortunately, it didn't make the cut when it came down to retailing, but it gave us all a new experience. As we switched to the red varietals of the evening Paul and Tiesha, our presenters for the evening made their way around the room answering any questions our guests might have. As we waited for the third course to be served a Super Tuscan filled with aromas of blackberries, plums, cherries and a hint of white pepper made it's way into our fresh new glasses. Mediterra is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Chef Scott presented it with slices of his Pan Roasted Duck Breast that came with a king oyster and duck confit bread pudding topped with a fruits of the forrest compote and port wine grastique. A little slice of a fancy thanksgiving serving if we had to say so ourselves. What is thanksgiving without something sweet to round our the night? Well that's when we headed over to Sonoma County to find out... OVR, Old Vine Red, Lot 74 let us know immediately what we were in search for... The Zinfandel based red blend was lovely with it's bright plum fruit. Sophisticated with it's black tea notes and sweet spice it paired beautifully with our Dark Chocolate Pot de Creme that came with chocolate crumble and dark chocolate sorbet. By the end everyone was happily drunk and full. They walked away with education on unique varietals that are not so common, and a table of new friends. We love making these events about community, education and delicious food! See you at the next one!
The third of our wine events for the 2023 series was hosted by Hahn Family Wines and leading the presentation was Michele Haid. She introduced us to her portfolio of wines that she paired for the evening and took us on geographical journey through all the California vineyards from which we would be tasting. Right before we jumped into the vineyards though, each guest was given a palette cleansing concoction of a Hotel Starlino Spritz. Following the recipe of what may be better known as the Aperol Spritz, it was a refreshing opener and paired well with Chef Scott's amuse bouche which consisted of a single Diver Scallop, with Asparagus, Asparagus Puree and Lemon Zest.
Onto the first course, SLH (Saint Lucia Highlands) Chardonnay was the pour and accompanied by Maine Lobster and Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato Confit, English Peas, Pearl Onions and Lobster Cream. SLH was the only white varietal of the evening but it's full body and silkiness stood it's ground offering us notes of citrus, tropical fruits and butterscotch. You could probably imagine how wonderful the duo melded, it set the bar high for the rest of the night's experience, but more tricks were on their way in form of plate and glassware. The second pour was Hahn's Appellation Series Pinot Noir, medium in it's ruby red color, it's hints of toasted oak and warm spice complimented the Wild Mushrooms & Goat Cheese Filo Tartlet, accompanied by a simple Petite Salad elevated by a Champagne Vinaigrette. This course was highly requested to be added to our bistro menu, but unfortunately, the temperamental process of developing the flakey pastry sometimes isn't possible to achieve on a daily basis. Womp womp! The experience is reserved for special events such as this. Third course deserves a special introduction, the bold and beautiful cabernet was "King of the Night" was our biggest seller! Priciest for sure but that didn't stop guests from ordering cases to take home with them. Smith & Hook Reserve Cabernet, made off like a bandit stealing the hearts of many with it's luscious notes of blackberry, black cherry, baked berry pie and leather. it's partner in crime was a Roasted Rack of Lamb with a mix of Fregula, Fire Roasted Peppers, Charred Eggplant & Lamb Jus. These outlaws thought they'd won the night until our finale of courses, a Profiterole that was Candied Almond Studded with Hazelnut Mousseline showed up with Boneshaker Zinfandel. Wow this is really starting to sound like an old western! Robust and full throttle in feel and flavor it's partnership with Chef's dessert was the perfect ending note to a beautiful night of tasting, conversation and community! See you next month!
The complexities of sparkling wine were upon us on this evening of bubbles paired to Chef Scott's perfect light dinner pairings. First and foremost we made sure each table was stocked with assorted breads and carbs to help soak up some of the bubbles. As we all know, when drinking sparkling wines the collective froth can sometimes go straight to the head and almost make you feel light and floaty, so in order to keep everyone's tush in their seats, the bread move was a winning decision. Our guests enjoyed a house made opening concoction of strawberry puree, fresh lemon juice and a touch of vanilla extract with Wycliff Brut. It was like a strawberry starburst for adults!
Sparkling wine can be paired with just about anything but our main focus for this dinner was citrus and seafood.
Our first course was a mix of red and golden beets along with sliced citrus including blood orange and navels, dressed in emulsions made of both hues of beets and topped with creamy burrata. Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. Brut, better known as Bisol 1542, complimented the course with its rich and fine taste. Fruity notes of apples and pears made this elegant Italian sparkling wine one of the top sellers of the evening. Next we wondered off to Spain and explored the world of Cava, in this case no pun intended, Castellar was the name of choice. Chef Scott prepared a shellfish spread that consisted of local IROC Oysters w/Prosecco Mignonette, Cocktail Shrimp w/Bloody Mary Cocktail Sauce, and a Wreckfish Ceviche. The Castellar Cava had hints of lime and citrus and it finished off light and delicate, which mated seamlessly with the seafood provided. On to the third course, we headed over to Champagne, France and guess what we had? You guessed it, Champagne! It can't be called Champagne if it's not from Champagne, France! Duval LeRoy, the grand brut cuvee was fully flavored, fresh and played nicely with Chef's Olive Oil Poached Seabass with leeks, fennel, olives, tomatoes, in a saffron broth. This dish was probably the heaviest of all the courses, which is still light compared to other wine dinners we've hosted where red varietals are the featured liquids. Last but certainly not least, our Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Tart with sour cream sorbet and brown butter crumble offset the subtle sweetness of Moscato d'Asti known as Massolino. Gentle, mid bodied, mid acidic, with notes of apricot, stone and honey made this the perfect end note for both of these wonderful evenings of divine effervescence!
First wine dinner event of the year, times two!! We kicked off our first dinner on January 31st with a South American Inspired menu paired with South American varietals like Malbec from Argentina and Organic Chardonnay from Chile. Megan Stockton was our wine presenter these two evenings and took us on vineyard tours through the San Antonio Valley of Aconcagua, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina. Our opening cocktail of the evening was a house-made turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, honey tea iced and topped with a Chilean Sauv. Blanc better known as Gran Reserva and a touch of prosecco for fizz. Refreshing and semi healthy, but best of all a palate cleanser. Chef Scott presented the tables with a communal amusee that consisted of Pork Empanadas, Grilled Provolone w/ Crostini, & a Seafood Salad. That was just the beginning... For the first course Cono Sur, an Organic Chardonnay from Chile was poured and paired with a Grilled Leek Salad accompanied by Fire Roasted Peppers, Smoked Ricotta Salata, and a Charred Tomato Vinaigrette. Everyone raved about the preparation of the leeks, simply grilled, many could not believe how much they'd underestimated the flavor of the vegetable. Grilled Snapper with Parilla Style Vegetable Roast & Lemon Vinaigrette was our second course paired with the Chilean Marques de Casa Concha, Pinot Noir. It's bright, delicate profile was a perfect fit and perfect time to educate on how red varietals can also be paired with seafood. Argentina was next up to bat with it's red fruit aromas and silky tannins delivered by Trivento Golden Reserve, a Malbec from Mendoza. The Flame Roasted Prime Sirloin of Beef with Chimichurri, Potato Leek Pancake & Eggplant Jam were a homerun as a pairing. An accurate pairing and homage to Argentina. Last but definitely not least, the fourth course also known as dessert was a Dark Chocolate Tart w/ Dulce de Leche and poured alongside was a new Cabernet Sauvignon better know as Xtra Cab. Indulgent, bold with sweet tannins, this baby was the night's favorite and it showed through retail sales at the end of each night.
We enjoyed extending the wine dinner experience an extra night. We got a chance to meet many new faces that had been trying time and time again to get in on the action. Be sure to subscribe to our email list in order to get the invites and access to tickets. See you at the next one, scheduled for 02/28 & 03/01!
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