Saturday, July 31, 2010

Calcareous Wine Dinner

Friday, July 30, 2010

Delius Restaurant in Signal Hill,, hosted a Calcareous wine dinner this evening. Rick Potruch was down from the winery. I met Rick last year when he was the rep for Opolo wines.

Calcareous is in the Paso Robles area on Peachy Canyon Road between Nadeau and Stacked Stone. Wines are reasonably priced.

First course: Braised Pork Belly with corn puree, pineapple compote with radish. Delius always does well with pork belly. It was so tender you could cut it with a fork. This was paired with a 2008 Calcareous Viognier/Marsanne. This dish and wine pairing was voted the favorite of the evening.

Second Course: Salmon Terrine with oyster mushrooms and oven dried tomatoes. Paired with a 2007 Calcareous York Mountain Pinot Noir. Flavor was good and went well with the wine.

Third course: Roasted Duck Breast with dried cherries, baby turnips and gnocchi. I'm a sucker for good duck and this did not disappoint me. Also the gnocchi were so very tender. They melted in your mouth. Wine with this dish was a 2006 Calcareous Syrah. Good pairing.

Fourth course: Lamb Loin Sous Vide with white bean puree, parslied shallots, baby carrot and lamb jus. Lamb was very tender and I really liked the white bean puree. Personally I prefer lamb chops over lamb loin because I feel it has more intense flavor. This dish appealed to people who are not lamb lovers. The wine paired with this dish was a 2006 Calcareous York Mountain Caberent Sauvignon. This was a nice cab and paired well with the dish.

Dessert was a big winner - "Coffee & Donuts" - Expresso Panna Cotta, Buttermilk Donut (like a donut hole), raspberry puree and coconut crisp cookie. Excellent. Everyone loved this dessert.

This was my first time tasting Calcareous wines and they are worth taking a look at. When I venture up to Paso Robles in November I plan on stopping in and taking another look at the wines.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wine & Dine at Russo's

Saturday, July 24, 2010

This months Wine & Dine event was held at Russo's in Naples. This is the old Pasta al Dente, same owner new name. Why is not for me to know.

There was a very large group in attendance tonight so we were split into 2 tables and we all sat outside. The evening was perfect. I was anxious to see if the food was the same.

I had attended another event in the afternoon so between the two I was having to pace myself with food and wine.

We started off with Focaccia Bread with sun dried olive oil and parmesan cheese. Only 1 small piece for me tonight. I could make a meal of this bread with a hunk of cheese.

Next was "Russo's Delight" - rock shrimp, avocado and a creamy cilantro pesto sauce on a toasted garlic baguette. Different and very good. It was large enough that it was debatable to pick up or cut it and eat with a fork. The dainty lady that I am choose to pick the entire thing up and down it in 4 bites. My new motto. "Why dirty a fork unnecessarily"

Then the famous mushrooms came. This dish had not changed since last year. Baked stuffed mushrooms with pieces of chicken, green onion, cream cheese and herbs , finished with a Romano cheese bread crumb gratinat.

Then appeared a tray of crepes - Palermo Crepes to be exact. Filled with bay and jumbo shrimp, roma tomatoes, goat cheese, green onions and pepperoncini and topped with a creamy Bechamel sauce.

At this point I am over stuffed so I decided that when the entrees came I would put them on my plate and then ask for a take home container. Usually when I get this full I will pass on the additional food. But then I realized I was paying the same as everyone else and was short changing myself. So a new outlook for me.

The entree's were Italian Sauteed Vegetables along with:

Ravenna Drive Gnocchi - Basil cheese gnocchi with roasted bell peppers and asparagus in a creamy roasted red pepper sauce.

Salmon Palermo - grilled salmon with a cilantro pesto sauce topped with feta.

Lamb chops - chops served with apricot and gorgonzola cheese.

Dessert was scoops of 3 different sherbets. A light ending to a very, very heavy meal. If you noticed almost everything had some sort of creamy sauce. This was a dinner that lended itself to white and rosato wines. Maybe a light red at the end because of the lamb.

I could not believe all the heavy red wines on the table. The did not pair with the food. There was no marinara type dishes, no ossobucos, no beef. So why all the heavy reds. These people are supposed to be "wine savy".

I brought a 2008 Clos Pepe Pinot Rose and a 2006 Huber Pinot Noir. I drank the rose and some white wines exclusively through dinner and drank the Pinot at the end. I did taste several other reds that were brought but is was after all the creamy sauces. I mean I am a "RED" wine drinker and prefer reds but sometimes they just do not lend themselves to the food and then you have to decide if you want a good food and wine pairing or are you just going to drink.

Tonight it looked like a bunch of drinkers.

Gathering of The Flock

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Today's gathering was very small. It was held on Saturday instead of Sunday and that hinders attendance. Theme was Mendocino County. A very nice variety of wines were brought. A good comparison was between the 1990 & 1991 Husch Cabernet.

The host made smoked tri tip which was excellent.

Next month it's Zinfandels for the Infidels.

Niner Wine Tasting

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Delius Restaurant,, hosted a Niner wine tasting this evening. 6 wines were poured. Two white and 4 reds. Niner is a winery in the Paso Robles area and has just opened a tasting room on 246 near Grey Wolf and down the road from Booker.

Passed appetizers ended up being my dinner.

One of the wines from Niner that I like best is their "Fogcatcher". A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. They had special pricing tonight and this $58 bottle of wine was being sold for $35. So naturally I had to buy some. All of their wines were priced well tonight. If I did not have close to 500 bottles I would have bought some more. But I only have so much room.

Spain & The Factory

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Factory Gastropub in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach,, had their monthy BYOB dinner tonight. Everyone brought a bottle of Spanish wine to pair with an eight course tapa dinner Approximately 28 people were in attendance with 12 at our table.

We were served hunks a of freshly made focaccia style bread which was very good. Then a plate of thinly sliced Manchego cheese with an olive tapenade. I will have to remember this as easy to make and take when I need a dish for an event.

A plate of extremely fresh mussell's appeared. They without a doubt the best mussell's I have ever tasted. Very tender and full of flavor.

Next up was sliced cucumber with some sort of soft cheese topped with a wedge of boiled egg with smoked pimento.

A smoked salmon mousse on a thinly sliced bread made its appearance. Very tasty.

Coming next was a glass of cold mint & cantaloupe gazpacho. Very refreshing and a good palate cleanser.

A Manchego cheese & basil souffle appeared. This had great flavor also.

Then flank steak rolled around a spinach mixture was served along with a cold lentil salad. Steak was very good. I am not big on lentils but the dish had nice flavor.

Dessert was fresh baked cookies with fruit and a chocolate/cream sauce.

For $25 how can you beat this deal. Good, fresh, tasty food.

I brought a 2009 Muga Tempranillo Rosato which pared very well with most of the dishes. I also brought a 1997 Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja. Interestingly another person at our table brought the same Rioja. We tasted them side by side but my bottle an an aerator plugged into it and his did not. Quite a difference in the same wine when it was opened up by the aerator.

A fun time was had by all. A lot of food consumed and a lot of wine bottles were empty. I wonder how that happened.

Anticipating next months dinner. The theme has not been announced but they are leaning toward Central Coast Rhones.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Annual Bus Trip To The Wine Country With Delius

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Met at Delius Restaurant in Signal Hill for a champagne breakfast before embarking on our annual bus trip.

This trip went without any problems. We could not have had better weather or traffic today.

Our first stop was Brander Winery which is known for the Sauvignon Blancs. They make about 6 of them but my favorite is called "Natalie" which is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Reisling and Pinot Gris. This was a great stop and the personnel seemed genuinely happy too see us. Too may places cringe because we are a group of 35 and even when we have reservations some people seem to put out because they have to handle our group. I guess they don't like to work much.

Our next stop was Alma Rosa which is owned by Richard Sanford. When Dave at Delius told me the bus was going to Alma Rosa I questioned him because I know how narrow the drive is. He confirmed with Richard Sanford that the bus would be able to come in. WRONG. The bus got as far as the start of the tasting area and had to stop. It could not get past the buildings and had to back up. One of the employees told us that they had a bus flip over once trying to get in. So we disembarked and walk the short distance. The bus then back down the road and somehow our diver Melvin managed to get it turned around. But we did have to walk part way down the road to board the bus when we were finished.

This was our lunch stop and we had a nice array of food supplied by Delius Restaurant. We had our tasting while having lunch which made it really nice. My only complaint was that they had the picnic tables with the attached benches. I and several other could not swing our legs over to get into the table. Luckily I sat on an end but some people had to sit with their backs to the tables and hold their plates in order to eat.

Our last stop was a tasting room in the town of Buellton. Casa Cassandra. I had seen this place before but had never stopped in. Now I know why. The wines just were not good at all. But they did have great olive oil and balsamic vinegars. I did purchase a bottle of "Vanilla" Balsamic. Great for dipping bread.

We had no traffic to speak of on the way home and we returned to Delius in record time. In all the trips I have done with Delius I have never returned so early. It was before 8:00 and it was still daylight.

After last years "Mr. Toads Wild Ride" this was so refreshing. Everyone did a great job today and it was one of the least stressful trips I have done. Looking forward to next year.

Wine Tastting at Spaghettini

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spaghettini Grill & Jazz Club in Seal Beach host during the summer a series of wine tastings.

Tonight was a mix Chateau St. Michelle, Stags Leap, Antinori and some second labels. 20 wines in all, along with assorted appetizers for $25. A really good deal. But you have to get there early because they run out of appetizers real fast and after 7:00 they do not replenish them. The pours are generous and there is plenty of wine to choose from. There is no way you can taste all of them in two hours and be able to drive home.

I did like the Antinori Antica Cabernet ans the Stags Leap Artemis Cabernet.

Next month I will pass on their tasting as it is all whites and sparklings plus it falls on the same day as a dinner at the Factory that I plan on attending