Feb 28, 2012

Livermore Valley pairings shine at winemaker dinner

My favorite pairing of the evening: Mesquite-Grilled Flat Iron and 2008 Nth Degree Syrah
Last Friday night I attended Livermore Valley's "Taste of the Best Winemaker Dinner," featuring medal winners from the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (I was covering the dinner for Tasting Panel magazine).

The event was held at Wente Vineyards, where Catering Executive Chef Jeff Farlow created very successful pairings (see below).

I've included each wine's SFChron Competition award in the lineup:

2009 Cuda Ridge Wines Merlot, Livermore Valley
Best of Class
Ahi Tuna Carpaccio
Black Olives, Pickled Red Onions, Fried Caperberries,
Micro Greens, Herb Oil
2009 Bent Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley
Best of Class
Creamy Herbed Polenta
Wild Mushroom-Oven Dried Tomato Ragout,
Charred Red Peppers, Focaccia Crisp
2008 McGrail Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Livermore Valley
Red Sweepstake Winner
Smoked Grimaud Farms Guinea Hen Confit
Braised White Beans, Radicchio, Bacon Broth
2008 Nth Degree Syrah, Livermore Valley
Best of Class
Mesquite Grilled Flat Iron
Carrot Puree, Roasted Cipollini, Salsa Verde

Another commitment forced me to leave before the dessert reception. Held in a separate room, the desserts were paired with a specially selected wine from each winery.

 BTW, my favorite pairing was the last--the Syrah with the mesquite-grilled flat iron steak. Each component was perfect on its own, but melded together in a way that transported me heavenward. Yummy!

The richness of the Ahi Tuna Carpaccio was refined by a surprising (and appealing) tart-salt edge, all of it mellowed and coming together beautifully with a sip of Cuda Ridge Wines Merlot.

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