Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wine Seminar & Lazy Dog

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Total Wine which is the "walmart" of wines has seminars on wine. This was a first time for me and I will say it was very informative and fun. This was a seminar of Bordeaux and since we were a group of 12 we paid $20 a person. Not bad for two hours of lecture, 10 wines and nibblies. I did purchase a couple of bottles because of the discount we received tonight.

This seminar was just as good as the ones I have attended at Wine Country for a much higher price. Yes some of Wine Country's  wines are higher priced but not that much more. I found the information given tonight was superior to what I have had at some of the other seminars I have gone to.

Eight of us had dinner at the Lazy Dog which was near the wine store. Noisy place but we had a nice long table in front of the fireplace.

I ordered the culotte steak medium rare. It was a lot closer to medium than rare. Next time I will know to order rare. Decent flavor. Set on a bed of mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. Several others ordered the flat iron steak, a couple of burgers were ordered and a glazed salmon dish. Everyone was pleased with their selection.

Their is no corkage at the Lazy Dog if they do not have the wine on their list. We had no problem with that. Their wine list tends toward the inexpensive wines.

We always have a wide assortment. Tonight we had:

2008 Stolpmans Ruebens Block Syrah ( at his prime right now)
2008 McKeon Philips BPR Cabernet Sauvignon
nv    Nicholas Feuillutte Champagne (Air Frances House Champagne)
2007 Turley Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandel
2009 Bergstrom Cummberland Pinot Noir
2007 Starlane Happy Canyon Bordeaux Blend
2009 Pear Valley Chadonnay
2005 Tobin James , James Gang Reserve Temparnillo
2007 Halter Ranch Viognier

Himalayan Again

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Six of us came tonight. We have not been back to the Hilmalyan since just before Cora passed away. Sanjiv the owner asked about Cora. He does not forget his customers.

We ordered Rack of Lamb (glad to see it back on the menu) , Shrimp Saag, Lamb Tika, Chicken Tika Marsala, Garlic Chicken, Vegetables Korma and Aloo Gobi. There was a third chicken dish but I cannot remember which one it was.

As always the food was excellent. I am sorry I have not been back sooner.

Our wines tonight as always were a mixed bag.

2005 Kosta Browne Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
2009 Domiane de Montielle  Mersault
2004 Crozes de Hermitage Alain Guillot
2005 Etude Pinot Noir
2008 Saxum Broken Stones Syrah
2004 Meeker Hand Print Merlot
2009 Stags Leap Artemis

Phil Trani's

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Met Margie at Phil Trani's in Long Beach for dinner. Checking the place out for another venue for wine dinners. No corkage on Mon Tuesday & Wednesday nights. They have really cleaned the place up. It has been quite a few years since I entered their doors and I was very surprised at how nice the place is now. It was getting a little seedy.

Bar is situated away from the dining area but glass doors. This is a sports bar.

The menu was quite extensive and the food was good.  I had the Beef Tornedos. Three small filets wrapped in bacon with a  mushroom cap and Bearnaise sauce, I would have liked the mushrooms cooked more and a little more Bernaise sauce but the beef was cooked perfectly.

Margie had the "pork schnitzel" which turned out to a chop with a bone. But she said the flavor was good. Side dishes were good.

Service was good and I would come back for dinner.

Passport Time

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Delius Restaurant annual Passport Wine Tasting was held today  About 36 wines were being poured from all different areas and countries. A really good spread of food, which I did not eat enough of.,

Saw several wine reps that I had not seen in awhile. Nice to catch up with them again.

I did taste some very nice wines but the real standouts were from Argentina. The price point was excellent and they were good buys.

I did get to tatste most of the wines this year. I deliberatly did not get a table. It is a pain to get up & down all afternoon. Easier to walk around.

But I am not in the buying mode right now.. With all the fall shipments arriving I have no room

The Wilmore

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Met Margie at a new wine bar in the Bixby Knolls area. Called the Wilmore.  The owner has been in the restaurant and food business and as seems to be the case now days wanted to open his own wine bar. Nice gentleman and hope he makes it.

This is a very small place with horrible parking. The lot next to the building is restricted for a restaurant and they do tow, This fact will keep this wine bar as a "local" place to go. If you live within walking distance it will a great place to drop in and have a glass of wine. I found the wine menu lacking. Decent wines but nothing special. I would not drive out of my way to stop in a have a drink.

We went across the street (in a huge downpour) to try Nico's again. This restaurant had been here forever. I remember when I was dating it existed. Gordon Ramsey had the place on his show where they go in and redo the place and try to bring it up to date.

It was interesting to see how these shows with their decoraters work with a limited budget. Some of the revamp was nice but other things looked "cheap" and thrown together.  Limited menu now but the food is still good. I am sure that helps to keep on budget with food costs.

I would go back  if I am imnthe area but I would not make a special trip.

Back to Chinese

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Eight of us gathered tonight to dine at our favorite Chinese restaurant (in the near area). 

We started out the Jelly Fish and Octopus tentacles. The Jelly fish was cut in strips, almost like a gummy worm. Everything was deep fried, very light, and very tasty. Octopus was tender. I love seeing all those little "legs"

Henry surprised us by ordering 2 lobsters. Pieces with the shell on sauteed in a wok. Makes its own sauce then served over Chinese soft noodles. One of my favorite dishes.

Third dish of the night was Peking Duck - I did without the "pillows" and just ate the duck plain. I do not want to fill up on "bread",

Beef and Broccoli,  Deep fried scallops ( a new dish) and Spicy pork strips with vegetables rounded out the meal.

At the end of all this I can barely eat anymore. We do not take huge portions of anything but it really seems to fill you up fast. The scallops tonight were very good. This was a new dish and I hope we have it again.

Our wines were a real mixed bag as they usually are. (I think I am missing 1 wine)

2007 Lucca Labonde Double Select Mendoza Syrah
2009 Tobin James Silver Reserve Syrah
2010 Pozzuoli Rosato
2005 Rolf Binder Barossa Syrah
2007 Loring Clos Pepe Pinot Noir
2005 Williams Selyem Russian River Pinot Noir
2007 Rusack Santa Maria Pinot Noir
2006 Guenoc Victorian Clost North Coast Blend
1998 Bonnezeaux Chateau de Festes Chenin Blanc Botrytis

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hyatt & Hartford Court Wines

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Hyatt Huntington Beach (3/4 mile long resort) hosted a Hartford Court wine dinner tonight. 7 of us ventured out for this dinner. It was Paul & Margies anniversary so they got a suite for the night and Ray & Barbara stayed over also  instead of driving back  home that evening. Since I live 15 minutes away it would have been wasted money to book a room. This place is not inexpensive.

The reception was held outside and the weather was comfortable. No breeze but not hot like last week. They poured the 2010 Russian River Valley Chardonnay and had several appetizers to go with it. A crostini with cream cheese and olive tapenade, a gorgonzola stuffed grape and a stack with watermelon, pesto and topped with goat cheese.

This was a smaller crowd in attendance that the last dinner we did at the hotel. But it really made for better seating arrangements. We at least could get our legs under the table. Last time we had our knees hitting the side of the table.

They brought out bread (they do have really good bread)  with small dipping bowls filled (to the brim) with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Problem being one bowl shared with another person. So if you like to double dip this was not an accepptable arrangement. We tried pouring the oil from the bowl on the small bread plate which turned out to be a real mess. Then you did not get the balsamic. If they dodn't want to bother with cruets they should have place a bowl at each persons setting.

First up  was a Chef's Amuse which turned out to be a wine poached mini pear  with a goat cheese filling and a tart red tomato jam. Very good and had a bite to it. They repoured the 2010 Russian River Chardonnay with it.

First course was a Smoked & Seared Shetland Island Salmon with a celery root and apple mint slaw , horseradish dressing. Salmon was excellent and cooked perfectly. It is flown in from Scotland for the hotel. The "slaw" was ok - the horeseradish in the dressing was very light. A 2000 Four Hearts Russian River Valley Chardonnay was paired with this dish. I personally preferred the other Chardonnay to this one.

Second course they served a Duck Prosciutto and Argula Salad, Cherry Gastrique, Pistachios, & Drake Farm's Chevre Crouton.  I did find the duck after decomposing the salad. But you really had to look for it. The gastrique was good and the crouton was excellent.  I am not a big fan of "salads" with wine dinners. They generally do not pair well with wine and this was no exception. The wine was a 2010 Russian River Pinot Noir. Its bad enough to get a white wine with a salad but a red wine - really. And a "slaw" followed by a "salad" - odd

Main course was a Pinot Braised Beef Cheek with polenta bianca, cultivated mushrooms (as to wild ????)\,  beets, ( I thought is was butternut squash cubes) baby carrots, spicy granola and Natural Jus.  OK - beef cheeks were excellent, the granola topping interesting, the polenta was "rustic" not creamy. A good dish but not fantastic.  Wine paired with this dish was a 2009 Lands Edge Vineyards, Sonoma Coat, Pinot Noir. Decent wine. But I liked the Russian River Pinot more.

Dessert was a carmelized gala apple, rose creme fraiche, hazelnut crumble. Good flavors and the Rose Cream had a very interesting taste to it. Served with a 2010 Ole Vine , Russian River Zinfandel. I still prefer dessert wines with savory - sweet on sweet is overkill. Altho this zin was not real sweet but very fruity as most old vine grapes turn out to be.

Decent dinner - not to Michaels or Deluis' quality. And the pricing is about the same. Fortunately they validated parking with the dinner. Otherwise $19 valet parking and there is no street parking unless you want to try the street in front of the beach and walk a distance to the hotel.

Brandy Tasting at Delius

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Delius Restaurant and Wine Country sponsored  a Brandy  tasting tonight. Cognac, Armagnac & Calvados. The importer Charles Neal was there to explain and speak about these different brandies.

Cognac & Armagnac are made with wine grapes. The Calvados is made with apples and/or pears.

The line up was impressive. I did purchase a bottle of Chateau de Pellehaut Armagnac (Tenareze) which I found very clean and very smooth. I almost bought a bottle of Adrien Camut 12 Ans d'Age Calvados. But I have bought several bottles of higher end spirits lately and decided to be a little prudent in spending my money at this time.

Tonight's line up:

Cognac Dudognon Reserve - Cognac Grande Champagne   $ 45
Cognac Dudognon Vieille Reserve - Cognac Grande Champagne  $ 92
Chateau de Pellehaut  - Armagnac Tenareze  $ 54
Domaine Boingneres Reserve Special - Bas Armagnac  $ 94
Doamine de Montreruil Reserve - Calvados Pays d'Auge   $44
Lemorton Reserve - Calvados Domfrontais  $ 56
Michel Huard, Hors d'Age 90-92-99 - Calvados  $ 90
Ardien Camut, 12 Ans d;Age - Calvados  $ 90
Louis Roque Reserve La Vieille Prune   $46

Pozzuoli Wines & Prime Cut

Saturday, September 29, 2012

This afternoon we met at Pozzuoil Vineyard Tasting Room in Tustin. Their vineyards are in San Miguel but the owners live in Tustin and their sons go to high school there also. The barrels and all the wine is kept in Tustin.

We were taken into the barrel room and 18 of us sat down for an afternoon of tasting wine and olive oil.

We  tasted 9 wines and had a buffet of cheeses, salami's olives, crackesr etc., the standard winery spread.

I was surprised that the wines were good. I was not expecting much. These wines are not high end but very pleasant to drink and the price poinbt was very good. We were ooffered a 20% discount so I bought 6 bottles.

After the tasting 14 of us went down the freeway to Prime Cut.  Parking is not greatest as the center the restaurant is in also has numerous other restaurants along the a multi screen movie theatre, Right next to the Honda Center. But they have good food and co corkage.

We had the private dining room to ourselves. Most people order some sort of steak / prime cut because that is what they are known for. I had the Filet with Lobster Oscar. Excellent.

Since we all brought a bottle or two of wines there was not a hard time finding what you wanted to drink. But I may have missed a few wines on my list. There were 14 for dinner. I brought 3 wines, Terry brought two.. So that leaves ten wines brought  for 12 people in attendance. I also believe that Paul & Margie brought 3 wines so that would mean 8 wines for ten people. I either missed writing down all the names or perhaps a few couples only brought 1 wine for both of them. We will never know It was an enjoyable day.

2005 Huber Chardonnay
2009 Effort Chardonnay
NV   Bivio Prosecco
2008 Janell Dusi Zinfandel
2008 Duckhorn Merlot
2011 Halter Ranch White blend
2006 Kiame Meritage
NV   Domaine   ??? Tattinger Brut
2009 Santa Stefano Rutherford Cabernet
2009 Stepping Stiones Francisan Napa Cabernet
2007 Ken Brown \Clos Pepe Vineyard Pinot Noir
2010 Pozzuoli Bianco
2008 McKeon Phillips BPR Caberent
2005 Mc|Keon Phillps Leonardo
2011  ???? Geezin ???? c\annot read my own hand writing

Michael's on Naples & Battiglini Wines

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A good combination tonight. Michael's always has top notch food and their wine dinners are always the best.

Tonight's wines were from Battiglini Vineyards in the Sonoma Area.  Father and son were pouring tonight. Guiseppe was quite a kick.

We started out with Crostino with Mission Fig jam and housemade Liberty Farm duck prosciutto. I could have eaten a dozen of these. Paired with a 2009 Battiglini Rosato.

Next two wines were a 2009 Battiglini Chardonnay and a 2009 Battiglini Chardonnay Reserve I preferred the Reserve as it was not quite as oaky. These wines were served with a Duo of Lobster - Crudo with local sweet corn and heirloom tomato salad and butter poached with chanterelle mushrooms and pancetta. Dish was good but not great.

Third course was Homemade Ricotta pasta with Devil's Gulch Lamb Ragu. This dish was the hit of the evening.  It was so good. Simple but really great flavors. The ragu was intense and the pasta had a creamy texture to it.  Served with a 2006 Battiglini Petite Syrah. This wine was so good I bought a few bottles of it.

Main course was Grilled Vintage Prime Beef with Eggplant caponata and potato puree.  The dish was god but after the dish before this it seemed lost. Two wines were served, a 2001 Battiglini Zinfandel and a 2009 Battiglini Zinfandel. The 2001 was soft and ripe but for the price difference I bought the 2009 and will age it myself.

Dessert was excellent - Laura Cheval goat cheesecake with walnut crust and bing cherry preserve. I would like to get this recipe. Served was a 2009 Battiglini Zinfandel Select .

Excellent dinner. Seated to the left of me were 3 men, one of whom I had met at MAWL Wine years back and on the right two men, one of whom I had met a Wine Country on a Friday night Tasting/Seminar. Small world but winos always seemed to find each other no matter where.

September Wino;s Gathering

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Theme today was Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, 2000 to 2009. A lot of good wine showed up today.  Thankfully there were several whites wines to help us along. The temperature was up, the humidity was up and no ocean breeze.  Miserable day for weather.  We are so spoiled in California that anything that is slightly off we complain about.

Miscellaneous for September

Barbeques, a few  happy hours, a couple of non-discript dinners, Krupp Bros. tasting, Riesling tasting. Alpha Omega tasting, two cellar cleanings at Stan's and and after party get-together to eat left over food and drink the left over wines. Numerous dentist and doctors appointments. At least they ruled out Lupus. but do not have a diagnosis for my itching problem.