Our first wine tasting happened on August 12th, where a number of food bloggers and writers joined me on a series of structured wine class. We started with typical Californian varietals, being that these wines are most often the ones we run into at restaurants. Silver Lake Wine owner Randy Clement guided us through five excellent wines, all moderately priced yet above the standard Trader Joe's bottles we're all used to.
First up was a Lioco Chardonnay from Sonoma County (2008), made by the former wine director of Spago in Beverly Hills. It was a crisp, oak-less Chard that would've paired perfectly with lighter dishes, seafood, or perhaps risotto. Second was Copain Viognier "Tous Ensemble" from Mendocino (2007), an organic wine that was more fragrant, more luscious in texture than the chardonnary. Barbara Hansen of Table Conversation correctly asserted that this would pair well with Indian food. In fact, the minerality of the wine, and similarity to a top-notch Gewurtztraminer would have lent it toward any Asian or spicy food.
Third was an inexpensive bottle of Stephen Vincent Pinot Noir (2008) which was extremely light bodied for the kind of red wine people normally drink. It didn't quite have the finesse of a Burgundy, but it still had the relative structure to help it pair with a variety of medium-bodied foods, such as roasted chicken or duck. The penultimate wine was Khroma Cabernet Sauvingnon from Alexander Valley. A stellar Cabernet that wasn't overly alcoholic, it still exuded a typical Californian Cabernet style with forward fruit. Last was Stolpman Syrah Estate from Santa Ynez Valley (2006), a heavier Syrah.
The last wine (the bonus wine of the evening) was from my bottle of 0&2 Syrah from Saarloos & Sons. It had been decanting for about two hours before pouring. I wish I had more time to enjoy this immense wine, practically teeming with flavor on the nose and palate. A nice grilled skirt steak would've been perfect. At the winery's tasting room, a bottle of such wine was around $55. I got an email a few days ago from Keith Saarloos stating that the new price of the wine was more than 5 times this original price! Ah, what a treat! (not that the price made the wine taste any better, but it does bring the appreciation up a notch).
April prepared two cheeseboards containing some excellent choices to pair with the wines. They included Roaring 40's from Tasmania, a mean (in a good way) blue cheese. A bit of aged pecorino toscano might've had the most complex flavor and the longest finish. 3 Sisters "La Serena" and Sweet Grass Dairy, both cowsmilk cheeses were delicious as well. We had some Fra'Mani Salametto & Salametto Piccante salumis, as well as some lucques olives.
You can join us at the next pairing on Sept 2nd at Silver Lake Wine at 6:30PM. Email me at mattatouille AT gmail DOT com for a spot. I'm capping the attendance so email me soon! Price will range $15-20 per person.