Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Food, wine and fun for everyone!

This past weekend was the Russian River Wine Road 12th Annual Wine & Food Affair, my new favorite wine-related event! We stumbled upon last year's event by accident and ended up snacking on some AMAZING dishes. Naturally, we kept an eye out for this year's event and organized the troops for another fun weekend!

Sunday morning was rainy and gloomy in the city, but that didn't stop us from heading north! Luckily the weather cleared up by the time we made it to our first winery (deLorimier, obvs!) and we had an amazing November day of wine and food :)

Our check-in winery was deLorimier where we were greeted with our cookbooks
and wine glasses
(clearly I've already made use of mine this week)

I will spare you deLorimier scenery since I was just there, but I will mention the fantastically tender and savory Beef Bourguignon and a few notable wines:
  • 2009 Sauvignon Blanc - crisp and bright with a hint of tropical fruit. At only $18 a bottle, I think it's a reasonably priced, versatile bottle.
  • 2005 Crazy Creek Cabernet Sauvignon - berry-ish flavors and tannins that aren't too subtle or too bold. Perfection in my book. On the pricier side at $40 a bottle.
  • 2006 Malbec - a little acidic compared to others I've had, but still an enjoyable wine. Not too bad at $24 a bottle either.
  • 2005 Mosaic Meritage - deLorimier has two Meritages (Mosaic & Artisan) and there's a very slight difference in the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in each. I prefer the Mosaic because it's not as tart as the Artisan. This is on my 'special occasion' bottle list at $40.
No surprise that I have a long list of deLorimier wines since it's one of my go-to wineries! Still haven't found bottles in the city though...anyone else?

Next up was Vintners Signatures (which may or may not have been driven by their menu item: Wild Mushroom Ragout with Goat Cheese over Porcini Mushroom Polenta)
Savory, mushroom-y, cheesy. Yum.

They were pairing an un-bottled wine with this dish, their new Cult Pinot Noir. It went really well with the mushroom dish and had just enough acidity to cut the richness of the dish. Unfortunately, they were only doing pre-sales of 6 bottles or more...ehhhh too big of a commitment for me. Notables here:
  • 2009 Cult Pinot Noir - I forget the price on this one, but I believe they're bottling in December.
  • 2006 El Roy Proprieter's Red - rich, slightly tannic (??) and reasonably priced at $18. Not bad for a weeknight bottle. In fact, it might get opened for V's visit this week!

Onward to Ridge! I'll have you know I refrained from buying any bottles here since I went a little nutty over Labor Day. Still love the scenery (pretty sure this is a standard location for photos at Ridge)
and the wine. No surprise here:
  • Geyserville - Ridge is pretty consistent with this particular blend, so no matter what vintage you get, you'll end up with a great, balanced zinfandel blend. I've read that some people find it to be too big of a wine that needs a lot of time to breathe, but I've always enjoyed it shortly after opening. Favorite. $35.
They were serving a rich and comforting Cannellini Bean Soup with Duck Confit that totally hit the spot. You better believe I dog eared that page in the cookbook!

Amista was next and they were serving an AMAZING Cassoulet Amista, probably one of my favorite dishes of the day. I scarfed mine down quickly, so I'll just give you a glimpse into my cookbook instead.
It was paired with their 2005 Syrah and, naturally, they went well together. I wasn't totally into the wines at Amista, but I was adventurous and tried their Ilusion (Syrah/Zinfandel blend) dessert wine. I knew what I was getting into, but I was really curious about a red dessert wine. On its own, SUPER sweet. Once I snacked on a dark chocolate truffle (extra treat at the winery!), the wine transformed and the sweetness gave into slight tannins and it kinda grew on me. Very interesting!

Next up was Rued Vineyards. They took full advantage of the weather and had the tasting tables set up outside on a covered patio. On the menu: Lemon Ricotta Tarts (a smidge too tart and soft for my taste, especially with the wine pairing).

Notable wine:
  • 2007 Pinot Noir - I usually don't like pinot noir because they can be too soft on the palette, but this was a little bolder. In fact, I preferred this to the zinfandel they were pouring! $35.
Notable random:
PUMPKIN PIE SOFT SERVE! I never realized how awesome pumpkin pie is in soft serve form. *drool*

Stay tuned for the second half of our wine adventures (o yes, we managed to hit TEN)!


sophia said...

I have to admit, I don't understand wine! I don't have refined enough tastes...or as some people say, I'm not experienced and aged enough. hahaha!

But the pumpkin soft-serve? Wow...but why so teeny a portion?! haha! It looks sooo cute though!

brooks running shoes said...

Awesome post...Nice pics.

Stephanie said...

I HATE MYSELF FOR NOT BEING THERE!!!!!!!! Count me in for 2011. I need to just book the damn flight now like I should have last March!! :(

Jamie said...

they gave you a free cookbook?