Thursday, August 18, 2016

Last Summer Wine Tasting at Delius

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

This was the second and last commuter wine tasting at Delius this year. Mike Levine from Southern Wines & Spirits was there again pouring. All Italians tonight except for 1 California Zinfandel at 15.6% alcohol. Again the tasting was sold out but a completely different group of people than the tasting last month. 

Three wines really stood out. a 2013 Cerulli Soinozi Percorino which was very nice. Perfect wine for summer. A 2014 Lacrima Morro D'Alba and a 20113 Cusumano NOA from Sicily.

Did not buy any wines. I am trying to drink down my stash.

Looking forward to the Passport tasting in October. That is always a fun event.

Dinner at Old World

Saturday, August 13, 2016

This is Margie's August wine dinner. Old World in Huntington Beach. German village that had numerous shops and restaurants.

12 of us tonight for dinner.  Restaurant was noisy but when the accordion player and singer came on it got beyond. . When I have to yell at the person across the table from me to be heard it is not pleasant anymore. I can understand in a beer haus but not an eating establishment.

Ten people ordered "sausages".  Two of us had schnitzel. I had the Jaegerschnitzel witch  has a wine mushroom sauce. Flavor was very good. But I cannot understand how you can pound out a pork cutlet to very thin and have it tough to eat. It was overcooked and it showed that. Like I said flavor was excellent. The cook just plain over cooked the meat. The red cabbage and dumplings were very good. 

Lots of wine on the table. Most I did not taste . I brought at 2010 Roar, Gary's Vineyard, Pinot Noir. It was showing very well. Lot of complexity and a well balanced wine. Good fruit and acidity. Other wines were:

2014 Lincourt, Sta. Rita Hills, Gruner Veltliner - did not taste
NV Pierrer-Jouet Grand Brut Champagne - always a good selection
2007 Alysian RRV, Pinot Noir - did not taste
2012 Ridge, Benito, Dusi Ranch, Paso Robles, Zinfandel - did not taste
2011 Diedeshimer Leinhole Spatlese Riesling - did not taste
NV Alain Bailly Brut Reserve Champagne - very good
2012 Grace Lane Riesling -did not taste on advice of the person bringing the wine
2014 Neboa, Spain, Albarino - nice clean, crisp wine
2012 Huber, Sta Rita Hills, Dornfelder - did not taste  - just had the 2005 at home and it was excellent 
2012 Foley, T Anchor, Sta. Rita Hills, Chardonnay - did not taste but I would imagine it was oaky
2013 Sea Smoke, Sta Rita Hills, 10, Pinot Noir - needed another few years cellaring
2012, Iron Horse, Pinot Noir - did not taste

Wine & Fire

August 6 & 7, 2016.

This trip may be my last to this event. It is starting to get harder for me top walk around on all the rough surfaces. Might have to look at getting a cane to help. At least I did not have to drive again this year. We left Cerritos about 7 am Saturday morning and surprisingly got to Buellton about 9 AM. Two hours is really good time. We decided since we would be having a very large BBQ lunch at noon that we would skip the big breakfast at Ellens this year The seminar did not start until 10 AM but our thinking was arrive early so we don't have to walk so far. So much for "thinking". When we arrived at Hillard Bruce about 9:20 there were numerous cars ahead of us.

Seminar was good, had a great panel of winemakers from the area . Tasted 12 wines then broke for lunch. BBQ lunch was catered by the Hitching Post and was very good. View from the facility were perfect.

After checking in to the hotel we proceeded to go to the Mission for the Grand Tasting. The majority of the wineries in the Sta,. Rita Hills were represented . This is their big fest for the year. Saw about 2 dozen people that I knew at this years tasting. All from So. Ca.  This is the must go to for Sta. Rita Pinot fans. Wines were good, food was good and a very enjoyable evening among the trees at the Mission. Got to talk with a lot of winemakers I knew. Perfect evening.

Sunday morning we decided to hit the Los Alamos area. I had not been in years and Cindy never had been there,. Small town about 6 blocks long. There were 4 wine tasting rooms  and we hit them all. I will say nice wines, but not great wines. Frankly I was disappointed in all of them. Guess I was expecting more. I also found the prices high for what they were.  Had a sandwich at Well Bread. They open at 7AM and bake all their own bread . Good sandwich and people kept coming in and out all they time we were there. Busy spot.
Found out that Full, of Life Flatbread did not open until 5:00 so we left.

Ended up in Lompoc at Scratch Kitchen for dinner. Had the crabcakes for dinner and was very disappointed.  They were not cooked through. Took them back with me and recooked them when I got home. Tasted much better. Normally I would complain but I just wasn't up to it.  The Loaded Potato Soup was very good but rich. Glad I just ordered a cup. Tired and worn out. Things catch up with me faster these days.

Hit happy hour at the hotels bar. We got 4 free drinks every day we were there along with cook to order breakfast.

Up early Monday to return to So Cal.  It was a good trip but do not think I can handle this on my own anymore. If someone doesn't drive I will not be making this adventure again. I have done this fest for about 15 years. and it has always been the highlight of the summer.

August Wino's

Sunday, August 31, 2016

Everyone is out of town so a small group today. Theme was Dry or Semi Dry Rieslings and French Beaujolias.  I did not get too excited over any of the Rieslings even the one I brought and I am not a Beaujolias fan but there was a 2105 Morgon, Cote du Rue that was very good.

Somehow I could not get into the "mood" of the day. So I feel I do not have much to write about.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Chianina & Merryvale Wines

Wednesday, July 27, 2018

Chianina ,,  in Naples hosted a Merryvale wine tonight.  Four of us attended. Place was crowded and sold out.  We started out with a "Stuzzichino" - Chilled Corn Gazpacho with crab and avocado. Excellent flavor. But I am always amazed at such a huge plate/bowl for a portion that is about a half cup. Guess to make you feel you are getting more that you are. The wine was a 2014 Merryvale, Carneros, Chardonnay. Clean wine and very light oak.

First course was a pan roasted Monkfish. This fish is one of my favorites and you do not see it on menus too often. Served with mushrooms, baby turnips, carrots and a Lobster Bordelaise sauce. Monkfish has a texture very similar to lobster. Dish was good but I felt the fish was cooked just a tad too long. Paired with a 2012 Merryvale, Carneros, Pinot Noir. Wine went well with the food but was not the best when drunk by itself.

Second course served was a Braised Lamb Cavatelli  with eggplant puree, fried chickpeas and cavatelli pasta. Good dish. Loads of flavor. My favorite dish of the night. The wine was a 2012 Merryvale, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sayuvignon. Wine was way to young. I felt it did not pair as well with the food dish. I tried the Pinot with the lamb and it was a much better pairing.

Third course turned out to be a huge disappointment. Chianina New York steak with potato, bone marrow crusted squash and tomato. I had two bites of the steak and that was it. No flavor at all, under seasoned and tough. I know Chianina beef does not have much fat and is a bit more chewy was this was just plain tough and I had some grizzle.I had the waiter take the plate.  He did not offer substitution. I also talked with Alejandro, the manager. He apologized  but that was it.  When the owner Michael Dene came around I talked with him. Not only did he apologized he took $50 off the bill. I do not think he was happy that none of his staff really "took care" of the problem.  The wine wa a 2012 Merryvale Profile. A blend of Cabernet and Petite Syrah. Good wine but again way too young.

Dessert was excellent. A vanilla custard with peach and biscotti . Paired with a 2006 Merryvale, Anigua Muscat. Wine had good flavor but was a bit too sweet for me.

But I had good table companions and for the most part the dinner was excellent.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Providence - Dine in LA Week

Sunday. July 24, 2016

Providence restaurant in Los Angeles has been on my bucket list for years.  The Chef is Michael Cumarusti and he must be so inventive to come up with these dishes we had tonight. It is a 2 star Michelin restaurant and not cheap. They have their Signature menu at $180 and with wine pairing $265. And they have their chefs tasting menu at $220 and with wine pairing at $325. This is why I have not gone. But this year they decided to participate in Dine LA Week with a special menu for $95, without wine. When Stan e-mailed and asked I jumped at the opportunity. So tonight there was four of us anticipating dinner. 

They seated us at the Chef's Table which is a private room overlooking the kitchen. Probably because they know Stan. But maybe we just looked "needy". For whatever reason we did not turn down the opportunity. 

I ordered a glass of wine of the menu. Corkage here is $50 per bottle and since I was the designated driver I needed to watch my alcohol consumption.  Stan brought 3 bottles which he generously shared. A 1999 Billecart-Salmon,   Champagne, 2009 Aubert Chardonnay and a 2009 Kistler Elizabeth Cuvee. Pinot Noir. All excellent wines. To bad I could only have a small amount of each.

We started out with 8 Amuse Buoche's, 3 on the menu and 5 comped. 

Mohito Bubble -  a mohito in a gelee bubble which when placed in you mouth melted and the liquid ran out.

Scallop Tacos - shell made of Nasturtium leaves  - what can I say - excellent.

Lobster Dumplings with Daikon Radish - it just keeps getting better.

Foie Gras Raviolio with shaved black truffles - my favorite

Cold smoked oyster, dill powder and horseradish powder - unbelievable taste 

Rock melon soup with basil seeds - inventive minds thought of this.

Smoked salmon cracker filled with salmon mousse and salmon roe on top - just a devine mouthful.

"Cigars" made of buckwheat flour, rolled around Wagu beef, umai mayonnaise - warm and delicious

Now onto to the dinner - mind you I has also ordered 6 oysters not knowing we were going to experience all these delectable, delicious bites of perfection.

Wild Fluke Sashimi, tomato gelee and dried plum.

Sea Bass with squid, mussels and clams

Liberty Farms Duck, Rhubarb, Daikon Radish and bitter greens

Also had a taste of Prawn Chips that came with Marc's salted encrusted Santa Barbara Prawns (huge) (fresh and alive in a tank) much better than those shrimp chips you get in Asian restaurants. And had a taste of Stan's Shaved Black Truffle (lots) over a poached duck egg.

The breads, Seaweed (delicious),  Brioche and a plain hard crusted roll came with butter and Normandy salt.

For dessert we had "Kawa-ishi"  - light, delicious, rolled in black sesame seeds. Have no idea what is in it but it was good.

Then they bring us a box of cookies, macaroons, lemon balls and a chocolate wafer with sea salt and nuts.

On top of that we each got a bag "high end" with a "housemade" muffin to take home.

Excellent meal, good wines, great company. So since we ordered extras, and had 3 bottles of wine that Stan brought we decided to split the bill. So my $95 "special" came to $240 with tip. It was worth every penny.  I am really tempted to save up for another dinner at Providence. It was that good. But I also would only go with certain people that enjoy this type of dining the way I do.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Italian Wines at Arte Cafe

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Arte Cafe in Cerritos, ,  had a sit down wine tasting tonight.   Same wine rep as the tasting at Delius on Tuesday. This time it was all Italian wines.  Started out with plates of cheese and crackers and a trio of wines. Then onto a plate of meats and other goodies and finalized the food with a small bowl of beef stew. 9 wines, food for $25 - hard to beat that deal. A couple of the wines were really skunky on the nose because of their age but it did blow off and they turned out to be quite good.  A 2001 Banfi, Brunello di Montalcino was the hit of the night for me.  Next week Arte Cafe hosts their annual summer wine tasting. I do have that on my calendar. It seems in the summer the tasting get more frequent. Gives us winos something to do as we don't like sand in our wines so the beach is out.