Wednesday, June 24, 2009

1st Annual Food and Wine Affaire

On Saturday June 20th, we were lucky enough to be invited to help out at the 1st Annual Food and Wine Affair at Blackhawk Country Club. Our friend Kathryn, who was pouring for Carneros della Notte, asked us to help her pour for awhile in exchange for P and I to be able to experience all the wines being offered. What a wonderful representation of wines! There was a 25-page list of the many distributors and wineries which were represented. I commend any person who made it through the whole list! We tried, but even after filling up on some wonderful food (Blackhawk Country Club has truly fabulous catering!) and bravely navigating the crowds, it became increasingly difficult to hit every vendor, let alone every bottle! Things we did try and enjoyed most included,

The Carneros della Notte choices:
Los Carneros D-III Vineyard, Pinot Noir 2006
Los Carneros Pinot Noir 2005
Los Carneros Eclipse, Late Harvest Pinot Noir 2006
Los Carneros Solstice, Late Harvest Reisling 2006

Los Carneros Cabernet, Oak Park 2005

Our favorite here was the Eclipse. You don't see too many late harvest Pinot Noirs, and this was a delightful change of pace with dessert wines. It has a nice rose color to it and is not overly sweet. It might serve as a nice aperitif rather than a dessert wine. There is a lot of honey and fruit on the nose. Also some hints of honeysuckle. On the palate, it's fruit-forward, a lot of plum and other dark fruits. It's very silky and leaves a warming finish.

Grgich Hills Cellar:
Grgich Hills Chardonnay, Napa 2006 - I really enjoyed this one. P skipped it because we tend not to be fans of Chardonnay, but Grgich's was nice. Not overly oaked or buttery. It was crisp and smooth, with many citrus notes, more like Sauvignon Blanc. We found out this is because it was not allowed malolactic fermentation (which causes the buttery, creamy qualities). This is exactly what I look for in a Chardonnay!

P tried the Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa 2005 and the Zinfandel, Napa 2005. He says that both are very good. He says pretty much everything Grgich does is good!

One that P was dying to try was Sanctuary Pinot Noir, Bien Nacido Vineyard, 2006. He said that anything from that region is awesome! This wine did not disappoint. It was deep, deep red in color. Hints of chocolate and lots of fruit, like raspberries and blueberries. It was smooth in the mouthfeel. Dry, but still really fruit-forward while also being a little spicy. This was a tasting we savored and did not toss excess in the dump bucket! Big thanks to Young's Estates Group for having that selection available that night!

Another Young's Market feature was Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006. This is a really good wine, especially for the price! Word has it, it can be found for $9.99 at Costco. ;o) I've seen it with ratings over 90 points. It's ruby in color, strong scents of dark cherry. Initially soft on the palate, but deepens. Very smooth.

Next to Kathryn's spot was Damian Rae Winery represented by John Tarabini. They had a 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, a 2007 Pinot Noir from the Santa Rita region, and a 2006 Syrah from Santa Barbara. Such wonderful boutique wines! They were all really fruit-forward. The Sauvignon Blanc was really crisp and refreshing. The Pinot was complex, hints of dark cherry and spice. This would hold up very nicely with meats of all kinds. The Syrah was very deep in color, aroma, and flavor... lots of plum, and black cherry. Made me remember why I like Syrah!

A favorite from the American Wine & Spirits offerings was Turnbull "Black Label" Red Meritage, 2005. This was a big, rich wine like P likes. Very deep & vibrant in its fruit flavors. Lot of black cherry and wild berry fruits. Tannic, but not too much. I think I saw P drool a little over this wine.

Speaking of drooling, we both drooled A LOT over all the fabulous wines and all of the food. This really was a classy event that we were delighted to be able to experience! It almost needed to be week-long event so one could actually get through everything! Thanks to Kathryn for needing our help that night, and thanks to Joie Spinelli of Blackhawk Country Club for allowing us to participate. This is sure to be a fabulous annual event!

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