Thursday, June 23, 2011

WHining and wining...

Pre LAWineFest
The Goddess and JD are TIRED. We are just beat. Between the 6th Annual LAWineFest, the Arte in Junio event at the Beauty Lounge, wine events and winemaker dinners, and moving the parental units to a new location, we are tired. We have been up and down the coast between home and Morro Bay several times this month, with more to come as we clear out the old place and determine what stays and what goes. In between has been wine. And thank the universe for that!

You may recall that I was hired as the Fest Sommelier for the LAWineFest, a job consisting of herding Oh, and somehow I volunteered to run the 13 classes and programs taking place over the 2 day event. Well, it worked out beautifully - not because I'm so great, but because I know great people! My team of almost 40 wineaux showed up on time, worked their respective butts off and made me look good. I had nothing but compliments from the event staff, exhibitors and patrons about the professionalism and courtesy and hard work of the sommelier team, so kudos to you all! Special thanks to my hard core 'Cafe' team - John Dickey, Debra Bizek, Ally Clymore, Erik Siering, and Marya Glur. Thanks for making sure that I stayed relatively sane and for making sure that John and I got something to eat both days!

Without getting any rest, we closed up the Fest and headed up the coast to move JD's folks from assisted living to a smaller board and care facility. Dad is 94 and partially paralyzed from a terrible stroke over 3 years ago, and Stepmom is 90 and appears to be slipping into dementia. JD has been working like a dog, packing things up, taking over banking and bookkeeping duties, and just generally taking the brunt of the situation. He heads back up there next week to finish moving stuff. He is not enjoying himself.

Luckily, we have been able to fit in a few nice wines - Visited the Valencia Wine Company back on 6/4 to taste some new wines by Mitch Cosentino. Rep Dennis Ayde presented Mitch's new lines - Purety and Couples & Company (that's Fred Couples, the golfer). As always, Mitch's wines are elegantly made and delicious to taste. We liked the 2006 Couples & Co. Sangiovese blend (82% Sangiovese/18% various Bordeaux varieties) very much. 2 years in oak, spicy, fruity. 4 gold medals from various competitions. $38.99. We also really liked the 2006 Pure Cru Pure Cos blend (50% Cabernet Sauvignon/19% Cabernet Franc/12.5% Merlot/12.5% Sangiovese). Lovely, but at $74.99 a bit outside our budget for the day.

On 6/5, we attended an event at D'Argenzio Enoteca in Burbank. The American Wine Society, of which the Goddess is a Professional Member, put together an intimate meeting of the minds while tasting barrel samples and some of the current releases from this Santa Rosa winery. The tasting room is walking distance from our abode, so we strolled over, got to meet some new friends, and just generally had a good time. We love the D'Argenzio family. They've been in Burbank for at least 3 generations making gorgeous custom cabinets and delicious wines.

6/11 and 6/12 - LAWineFest - blurry memories.

6/18 was Arte in Junio at the Beauty Lounge. Owner Fredy Arboleda hosted an art show and wine tasting. JD and I provided 6 wines from Spain, Portugal and Argentina to pair with tapas, cheese, crackers, fruit, and cupcakes from Joe's Place in Duarte. The cupcakes were a big hit - we never even got to taste one!! Wine-wise, the hit of the evening was the 2009 Gazela Vinho Verde, a delightfully fizzy, fruity 'green' wine from Portugal. We've poured it at events before, and folks just love it. The perfect summer wine!

Seared diver scallops
6/21 - The lovely Amelia and the manly Chef Ian put together a perfect wine dinner at FAB's Corner Cucina in Sherman Oaks. JD, Dan C., Dan Q., Rico, Sebastian, Amelia, and I started Course 1 with a 2009 Fiano de Avellino from Campagna. Fiano is an ancient tough little grape yielding concentrated apple and pear overtones with lemon pith midpalate. The winemaker calls it the 'floral expression of our love for the public'. We paired it with perfectly seared diver scallops sitting on a cauliflower pureé with fava beans, pancetta and shaved almonds.

Raviolo stuffed w/lamb
Course 2 was a 2007 Tolosa "1772" Syrah paired with a Raviolo stuffed with braised lamb, peas and spinach, surrounded by heirloom carrots that were purple and yellow! The wine is a lovely big red, smoky and spicy, a great match for the lamb. Oh, and it's called "1772" for the year the Tolosa Mission was built.

NY Strip & fungi
Course 3 was perfect New York Strip steak in a hot brown butter sauce with an amazing selection of mushrooms - porcini, miyataki, oyster, shiitake, and more! This was paired with my favorite wine of the evening, a 2007 Roccafiore Prova d'Autore blend of 30% Sangiovese/30% Sagrantino/40% Montepulciano. Just mouthfuls of heaven.

Apricot tarte
We slipped in a bottle of 2008 Shai Cellars Adome just before the dessert. I wanted our little group to see how beautifully Shawn's wine is developing in the bottle - especially since he was busy bottling his next vintage this week, and couldn't join us for dinner. Yummy as always, and went well with the dessert tarte covered with fresh apricots, roasted vanilla bean and orange zest. And a lotta freshly whipped cream. Amelia also poured a 10-year-old tawny port by Smith Woodhouse, and the evening was complete!

So, that's what we've been doing this month. And that's why we're so tired!

More events upcoming soon! And remember, wine - it's good stuff! Cheers!


Eve said...

Thank Bacchus you had some time to write! Kudos for your work (and JD busting his butt too) at the LA Wine Fest, you did an amazing job there. Your dinner (and pics!) sound fab, and your work as the Shai Ambassadress is making me thirsty dear girl. Here's to lunch soon so I can see my Goddess in person - much needed!

Goddess of Wine said...

Thanks for your kind words, my dear. I could not have done it without my team. Looking forward to lunching with you, too. Oh - and it turns out that Friday is a holiday for me, so we don't necessarily have to meet in Burbank. Let's chat during the week.