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September 27, 2012

Food and Wine Dinner Club

Food and wine dinner clubs are a fantastic way to experience new wines and food with friends and family. Our group meets every third Saturday of the month.

Having a consistent time helps everyone to plan their calendar in advance. The host usually selects a theme, such as a French dinner with French wines or Zinfandel wines with appetizers. I’ve found that I have learned more from these dinners than I ever dreamed possible. You can study wine and food pairing out of a book for years and never gain the knowledge you can from actually tasting. After all it is a matter of personal taste; what one person likes may not be the same for someone else. To learn what those tastes are you have to experience them.
Our most recent dinner was a “free for all, no theme” dinner. The guidelines were for everyone to bring a wine of their choice and a matching dish. It was fantastic. We had a great variety of food and tried several new wines.

Many of our recipes and wine pairings come from Food and Wine magazine. A summary of our dinner included the following

Chicken wild mushroom and roasted garlic sauté
We paired this dish with an earthy, rich Pinot Noir. To make it a little more interesting we also tried this dish with a Pinot Noir that was aged in Stainless Steele. Some liked the chicken with the rich, oak aged Pinot Noir and some liked it with the lighter Stainless Steele Pinot Noir. I liked them both but preferred the bigger flavor created with the oak aged Pinot.

Both of the Pinot Noir wines were from Chamisal winery in Edna Valley CA. The Califa selection, 2007 Pinot Noir has a rich flavor that blended perfectly with the earthy mushrooms and flavorful sauce. The 2009 Stainless Pinot Noir was also good with the chicken bringing out more of the tomato flavors in the dish. This wine is light and full of cherry and plum fruit flavors.

The second dish was Roasted Lamb with mushroom and it was also paired with a Pinot Noir, but this time one from Napa Valley, CA, a 2007 Bouchaine. The grapes ripen early in this area so the wine is a little less complex but still loaded in typical Pinot Noir black cherry and spicy flavor. Again Pinot Noir is the right wine to serve with mushrooms any day, any way.The dish was made with garlic, wine and herbs du Provence

The next pairing was excellent. Often times a good pairing results when the wine is used to decrease the intensity of a characteristic, such as a very spicy food and a slightly sweet wine. But in the case of this pairing, the spice in the Malbec created a bridge of flavor with the spice in the Bolognese Stuffed Bell Peppers. It was wonderful. The 2010 Malbec was from J. Rickards winery in Alexander Valley, Sonoma County. The Malbec was blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, creating jammy characteristics with spice on the finish.

I always look forward to the cheese course and one of my favorites is a Spanish wine and cheese pairing. Tonight’s wine was a Resalte Crianza 2005 from Ribera del Duero, Spain. The ripe fruit and smooth toasted oak in this 100% Tempranillo wine created a perfect balance with goat, sheep and cow cheese. I personally thought the pairing was best with the Naked Goat cheese; creating a creamy mouth feel with rich flavors. The Mahon cow and Manchego cheeses were also quite nice.

The perfect finish to this wine dinner was Chocolate and Zinfandel. The Zinfandel was a 2010 Seghesio from Sonoma CA, a rich and delicious Zin we paired with chocolate brownies. And as a special treat, a 2009 Toro De Piedra from Chili. This wine is a blend of Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Carmenere grape is like a rustic Italian grape, slightly spicy with hints of dark fruit and toasted oak, a very nice wine with chocolate.


Posted by terri at September 27, 2012 02:45 AM

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