During and after my years in the wine biz, I have had the opportunity to enjoy some phenomenal food and wine experiences. Last night, on the eve of the DEMO conference, I had the privilege of joining a phenomenal evening of food and wine that was easily on par with many of the great wine industry events I've attended in the past. Everything was great - food, wine and company.
The company included our host, Andy Abramson, along with DEMO attendees Christine Herron, Mike Sigal, John Furrier, Craig Walker, Dan Farber, and several of Andy's friends, who I really enjoyed meeting.
The dinner was at Molly's Restaurant at the San Diego Marriott. Any stereotypes of bland, overcooked food that one would expect from a hotel-based restaurant evaporated after the first bite - Molly's is amazing, and could easily hold its own among San Francisco's best restaurants. As the guy taking notes, I promised the group that I'd blog the list of wines - we had 22 different wines last night - and the courses they were paired with.
I'm not big on tasting notes - I really don't care if something has tobacco and burnt cassis; I care if I like it or I don't. Since all of these wines were outstanding, I've created a four point rating system. Most wines are 2 (very good) or 3 (even better). A 1 is something that is still good, but not in the others' league. "Wine of the night" candidates got a 4. All of the wines came from Andy's personal cellar, a place I'd love to get lost in for a very long time.
First Course - Meyer Lemon Tagilatelli, with dunganess crab, chanterelles, celery leaf, green onions, heart of palm and black truffle
Two Austrian Rieslings:
1999 Prager Riesling Steinriegl Weissenkirchen Federspiel - Wachau (3)
1999 Prager Riesling Bachstum Bodenstein Weisskirchen Smaragd (3)
Second Course - Parmesan Flan, with apple parsley salad, marcona almond and saba drizzle
Two Willamette Valley, Oregon Pinot Noirs:
1999 Willakenzie Aliette (2)
2001 Willakenzie Kiana (3)
Third Course - Hawaiin Ahi Tuna "Two Ways" - tartare with heirloom tomato, cucumber and chili; seared loin with fennel pollen, blood orange syrup and chervil
Two well-aged Zinfandels from Ridge:
1988 Ridge Lytton Springs (2)
1990 Ridge Geyserville (3)
Fourth Course - Sage Roasted Squab Brest with fregola, black kale, squash and pomegranate reduction
Three vintages of one of Napa's greatest wines, perfectly cellared and in outstanding condition:
1980 BV Georges de Latour Reserve (4 - the wine of the night)
1984 BV Georges de Latour Reserve (3)
1985 BV Georges de Latour Reserve (1 - it was good, but in this company fell short)
Fifth Course - Maine Scallop with smoked bacon and tomato braised romano beans
Three Central Coast Rhone blends (Syrah, Mouvegre and Granache in various proportions) and a rare treat:
2001 Avenger (2)
2002 Avenger (3)
2003 Avenger (2)
2004 "The Knot" (2) - only 126 magnums were made
Sixth Course - Colorado Lamb "Two Ways" - herb crusted loin; shank and shelling bean "cassoulet"
On to the Old World wines - Five from the Rhone:
1989 Gigondas Domaine du Cayron, Michel Faraud (3)
1995 Vieux Telegraph Chateauneuf du Pape (2)
1995 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape (2)
1998 Cote Rotie Bernard Guy (3)
1999 Cornas Domaine Clape (4 - runner up for wine of the night)
Seventh Course - Cheese Tasting - moliterno with black truffles, pickeled red beets, ossou iraty with apple compote
And finally, on to Bordeaux
1989 Ch. Grand Mayne, St. Emilion Grand Cru Classe (3)
1994 Ch. Leoville Barton, St. Estephe (3)
Eighth Course - Cherries Jubilee Flambeed Tableside
Which we drank with whatever was left. In my case, the Cornas.
What a night! Thanks, Andy! We agreed to put together a similar dinner in SF soon.