What an event! We had a wonderful night last night at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Gourmet Magazine had their Wine Cellar event featuring local top restaurants, wine and wineries, cocktails, Wine Lab, demonstrations and great speakers. There was a lot of tasting, talking to wine and food professionals and more tasting. The event only lasted for 3 hours and I think another hour would have been great with so much to do and see.
We started of with champagne tasting at Moet & Chandon. They had four champagnes to taste and this was a great start to the evening. Next to them The Dining Room at Ritz Carlton served a wonderful Nantucket Bay Scallop with Sunchoke Puree, paired with Domaine Ste. Michelle Blanc de Blancs. So a lot of sparkling wine to start with.
Further down Bloomingdale's served a Sachimi Style Bay Scallop with Micro Greens and a Spicy Sauce, and an out-of-this-world Wild Mushroom Soup with Truffle Oil. This was my favorite dish during the night, and trust me everything at the event was delicious!
"Wines of Spain" poured a wide variety of wines and I tried a handful of them. Not usually a drinker of Spanish wines this was a great opportunity for me to try different varieties and styles.
Across from that Sara Moulton did a cooking demonstration. We caught the end of it and got her cook book that she signed.
The restaurant Scott Howard served up another fantastic soup next door, a Carrot Soup with Chervil Sabayon Truffle Oil and they did a cocktail pairing with this, Finlandia Spicy. The soup had a wonderful intense carrot flavor with beautiful creamy texture. A great fall soup. I did not try the cocktail. There was more wine to be had...
Next we attended the tasting lead by Michael Green, Goumet's Wine and Spirit Consultant. Named "Varietals from the Islands: Sardinia and Sicily" Tony Parise VP for Winebow, Inc. co-hosted with four wines. He started of with Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino di Sardegna 2005, a wine made from 100% Vermentino. Straw yellow in the glass, intense on the nose but more delicate on the palate. Moving on to Tasca d'Almerita Regaleali Bianco 2005, made out of three Sicilian native varieties, Inzolia, Cataratto and Grecanico, this had apple on the nose and some tropical fruit on the palate. Red was up next with the Argiolas Perdera 2004 from Sardinia with 90% Monica, 5% Carignano and 5% Bovale Sardo. A very good, rustic wine with red fruit and berries. Last tasting was the Tasca d'Almerita Regaleali Nero d'Avola 2004 with a little fuller body than the previous wine. Dark berries and cherry with a long finish. This was a very exciting tasting with a lot of new grapes I had not heard of or tasted before. I will definitely start to look for and buy some wines from these two Mediterranean islands.
After that the Wine Lab started, with Stephane Lacroix (Director of wine at The Ritz-Carlton) and Rajat Parr (Wine Director at the Michael Mina Group) as speakers. This was a sit down tasting featuring four wines as well. Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial started the tasting. Very nice Champagne with ripe strawberries on the nose. I just love Rose Champagnes! Next was Gallo Family Vineyards Pinot Gris, Sonoma Reserve, 2005. A very fresh and clean wine with apple on the palate. Would pair great with delicate seafood like scallop or lobster. After that they repeated the red wines from Sardinia and ended with the Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2003. This was a cool climate style Cab. with nice acidity, rich dark fruit and good complexity to it. Great tasting with a lot of thoughts and comments from the speakers. Hungry for more food we headed out to that section again and had a Maple Thyme-Cured Duck Breast Canape with Chive Cream cheese from Maple Leaf Farms. They offered a beer pairing with this. But again, no beer for me, still more wine that had to be tasted. On to Town Hall that served a Herb Biscuit with Shrimp Etoufee. Wonderful fluffy biscuit with tender shrimp.
A 16 paired a Lamb Polpettini with Tomato Ragu and Pecorino, bursting with flavor, pairing it with the Gloria Ferrer Jose S. Ferrer 2002 Pinot Noir. A great pairing. The wine really stood up to the very flavorful lamb.
Now it was time for dessert. Americano served up Mini Chocolate Cupcakes and Homemade Gelato in Mini Sugar Cones with Toppings and paired this with a very interesting wine from Italy. The Ca dei Mandorli Brachetto d'Acqui 2005 is a ruby red sparkling wine with sweet berries and raspberry on the nose. Looking at the wine in your glass you expect a super sweet wine and is pleasantly surprised with a not to sweet, crisp wine with ripe raspberries and strawberries on the palate. Rated 90 by Wine and Spirit, you have to try this sparkling wine for only $13.99 at http://www.wine-searcher.com/. It will surprise you.
The Gloria Ferrer station poured three wines, I tried their 2003 Carneros Merlot which I had not tried before. It had currant on the nose and dark fruit and cherry on the palate with a nice long finish.
At this point I was getting really full but decided to head over to Bix that served Crab Rolls in Brioche served with Chance Creek 2005 Sauvignon Blanc. Do I need to spell out that it was delicious? The crisp, full Sauvignon Blanc with tropical fruit and tiny hint of grass complemented the lobster very nicely.
At this point I almost cried realizing there was little time left and no room left in my stomach and so many more restaurants to taste from. But I just could not do it. I had had enough rich, amazing food, and I would have to survive without tasting everything that was offered. It had been a wonderful night with so many great opportunity to educate ourselves further in the world of food, wine and pairings. Happy and content we left the event and decided to come back next year again.