Here are some very interesting pairings we did with some of VINO Chef Keith Endo recent specials.
Monterey Sardines with San Marzano tomato sauce
2012 My Essential Rose–With tomato sauce, we look to pair really tasty, more ethereal styles of PINK wines. Because this dish specifically is about sardines, a more oily fish, we wanted something that was grown in more calcareous kinds of soil & done via very light direct press, which keeps the palate fresh & alive between bites. If you haven’t yet experienced this rose, we recommend you really keep an eye out for it. Grown in Aix down in Provence, France & produced from several grape varieties such as Cinsault & Grenache, it is remarkably fresh, delicious, light & completely refreshing.
The winery is state of the art & I would say….truly a dream come true for most winemakers. These vessels can be programmed to do pump overs by themselves & as many times & when you want. No more late nights?
In the afternoon, we decided to stop by & see Neyers Vineyards located on Sage Canyon Road. Because things were so hectic, as the looming harvest meant cleaning all of the equipment, bottling wine to make room for the new harvest & visiting vineyards, we did not ask to see any vineyards with winemaker Tadeo on this visit. Just, way too much going on & we were appreciative for any time he & they could spend with us.
We recently had an opportunity to visit and spend two days in the Napa Valley of California. We were fortunate that this year the harvest look to start early because of some severe heat spikes which happened in May & June. As is normally the case whenever we go to a winegrowing region we endeavor to walk vineyards with some of our favorite winemakers. In this case because of the early harvest, were also able to taste nearly ripe grapes as well.
As I have noted many times before, especially recently after a tasting with Bruce Neyers, he is truly one of the most brilliant ”wine minds” I have run across in my years of doing wine. He is able to combine theory with practicality. Furthermore, because of his dual “hats” of acting as the National Sales Manager for Kermit Lynch Wine merchants in addition to having his own Napa Valley winery, the insight he speaks about is very comprehensive & worldly. It is for these kinds of reasons, I truly relish my conversations with him over the years.
Where to eat? Here are generally the top 3, although I must say Villa Creek over the years has clearly stood out for food (good, soild American inspired) & especially their wine program (some interesting Old World selections). For lunch, consider Thomas Hill Organics…nothing fancy…again good, solid food.
Where to stay? Cheryle & I enjoy our stay at the quaint, comforting, landmark Paso Robles Inn, especially in one of the back rooms which comes with “sulfur springs” water tubs. Yes, the water does smell, but it really is so relaxing, after a long day of visiting vineyards & tasting wines.
In my day of working in table cloth, “fine” dining restaurants, such as the Maile, La Mer and Bagwell’s 2424 and their more classical French oriented menus, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon had its golden moments especially pairing with cream and butter infused sauces.
Today, however, the culinary world has greatly changed, especially at the top end restaurants. There is now a whirlwind of different “takes” on food, which incorporate a fusion of many different ethnic cooking ingredients, techniques and cultures.
From my point of view, paralleling this change in food trends, the art of pairing wines to these foods is also greatly changing.
Yes, we did another sparkling wine tasting in VINO tonight. As is often the case….the goal was simply to show yet another dimension to the world of wines.
Punta Crena Mataossu Spumante Brut grown on the steep, rocky hillsides of Liguria, undergoes ML & secondary fermentation & aged on the lees for 10 months. This grape is grown by only 1 family in 1 village.
Raventos I Blanc Brut Rose “De Nit” FOUR indigenous Spanish grape varieties (xarello, parellada, macabeo & monastrell) grown in imestone influenced soils. Methode Champenoise. This family has been doing this for 19 generations!!!!!
A quick 2 day visit to the Paso Robles appellation. In addition to spending time with Linne Calodo & Saxum (which was documented on separate blog entries), here is a recap of our other visits.
Margarita Vineyard is a roughly 900 acre vineyard located at about 1000 feet elevation, 14 miles from the ocean in southern Paso Robles. It is a vineyard I have been trying to walk for many years, but did not find the right contact, until very recently, to do so. I never realized this vineyard was so big. I also wonder how this is still Paso Robles appellation, since it is located on the ”other” side of Templeton.
Cheryle & I stopped by Saxum & the James Berry Vineyard recently. It was great to spend some time with winemaker Justin Smith again. He certainly has evolved into quite the superstar through his incredible Saxum wines.
It starts with the soil.
I must say, tasting through his 2011′s, they are really some of the best I have ever had from this winery. His 2011 “Bone Rock” was the single most memorable wine from Justin Smith I have had in all these years. The 2011′s are LONG….have great length with amazing minerality & buoyancy.