I love wine dinners. You get to taste some really good food paired with some really good wines. Last night was no exception. Wines from importer Robert Kacher were featured. The dinner was prepared by Executive Chef Dennis Chan and his Sous Chefs Michael Kimpland, Alexander Finley, Jessica Iglesias, Katelyn Matchett and William Bell.
First course was Corn Tortilla Stack with Green Mango Salad paired with Tariquet Ugni Blanc/Colombard 2006. The wine was wonderfully fresh and lively. There was a mineral quality on the nose, and the palate had melon and lemon flavors. It had a good acidity and a nice, crisp finish.
Next up was Panko Crusted Bean Cakes with Balsamic Apple Slaw paired with Manciat-Poncet Macon Charnay 2006. This lovely white wine had a hint of butter on the nose, but it was no oaky at all. Tropical fruit on the palate with a kind of butterscotchy finish. This was a wonderful pairing. The creaminess of the bean cake went very well with the wine.
Next up was Chile-Soy Fried Chicken Paillard paired with Domaine de la Petite Cassagne Rose 2006. The wine was a darker rose, a blend of 40% Cinsault, 30% Grenache and 30% Syrah. There were faint aromas of strawberries that followed through on the palate. This was a substantial wine with a fairly lengthy finish. I would never have thought to have paired a rose with this, but it was great! The sweetness of the sauce really brought out the fruit.
For the fourth course we had Petite lamb Chop with Raisin-Almond Cous Cous paired with Domaine Font de Michelle Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2004 and Domaine Brunel Chateauneuf-du-Pape "Les Cailloux" 2003. These two Rhone wines could not have been more different if they tried!
The Font de Michelle is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre and had beautiful berry aromas with a burst of vanilla. After a short time in the glass, the vanilla blew off and was replaced by oak. (No American oak aging!) There was no earthiness that is so prevalent in some Chateauneufs, but it was very tannic due to being so young. This wine definitely needs some time in the bottle to age.
The "Les Cailloux" is a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre and 15% Syrah. This one was a bit more earthy on the nose, with some spices rounding out the aromas. Soft cherry flavors on the palate, very dry. This one was more balanced and focused. Both paired very well with the Lamb.
Last was the dessert course: Duval County Ponderosa Lemon Creme Brulee paired with Beaumalric Muscat Beaumes de Venise 2004. WOW! Gorgeous aromas of lilacs, lemon meringue pie and (I know it sounds silly, but) talcum powder. This Muscat was sweet without being cloying. Very bright and vibrant with good acidity. A great pairing!
All in all it was a terrific meal. I highly recommend you finding a wine dinner in your area. If you can't find one, get some friends together and do your own. They're lots of fun :-D