Sunday, June 2, 2013

Wining by Proxy...Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara...

Shawn & JD prepping
Well, not exactly by proxy. The Goddess of Wine was at Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara, but working for Shai Cellars! First Acolyte, JD, describes the day:

This event took place at the Montecito Country Club, a beautiful location just south of Santa Barbara. The venue itself was located on a grassy meadow as well kept as a putting green with an amazing view of the coast all the way up to the cliffs north of the Santa Barbara harbor.

It being primarily a food event with wine, there were a lot of food tables though with plenty of wine tables interspersed. A great opportunity for pairings. This event has been going on for several years and seemed quite well organized. We were able to park very close to the entrance of the venue to unload. Volunteers unloaded the vehicles and carried the wares up the steps and thence to the tables. These two points are very important when you are dealing with heavy and bulky items like cases of wine and masses of food. Nicely done, thank you.

No Kid Hungry was the theme, with money raised going to several local organizations that are dedicated to fighting childhood hunger.

As is so often the case, this is just a sampling from overwhelming choices of goodies. The Goddess was there helping to pour Shai Cellars wines: the 2009 Adome red blend and 2009 Grenache. These are yummy (an important technical term) wines whose growth we have been privileged to observe from barrel samples on.

The three of us got out and about at various times to sample some of the available delights.

To one side of the Shai table was Dave Corey with several of his Core wines. I got to sample a delicious Mourvedre/Grenache blend with earthy nose and sharp spicy taste. To the other side was Chef Taylor Melonuk of Blush Restaurant and Lounge and his pulled pork sliders on a sweet roll. We each held ourselves to just one.

Pali Wine Company - A Pinot Noir with a great earthy nose and a GSM blend. I didn’t get to sample their whites. When I first came by they were waiting for ice. When I came by later, the table was jammed. By the third attempt, the whites were gone. I guess they were darn good too.

Brandon Sparks-Gillis was pouring a fine assortment of Dragonette wines. I got to sample: a Syrah rosé, a Pinot Noir, Grenache, Seven - an SGM blend (though mainly Syrah) of grapes from seven different vineyards, and a couple of others. Though he was there alone, several people were keeping him supplied with food from various tables to stave off starvation.

Peter and Rebecca Wolf of Ampelos were pouring a few of their wines. I sampled a soft, enjoyable Viognier, a refreshing Syrah Rosé, their Lambda Pinot Noir and an earthy/smoky Syrah. The last two were out of grapes from their own certified sustainable-organic-biodynamic vineyards.

Museum Cafe at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art - Chef Brenda Simon’s Roasted sunchoke, macadamia nut pesto and port soaked sour cherry. A fun blend of flavors on a slice of veggie crunch.

Via Maestra 42 - Chef/Owner Renato Molso’s Porcini Mushroom Ravioli with black truffle sauce. Sinfully delicious in a buttery sauce.

Buttonwood Farm Winery - Karen Steinwachs and her husband Dave Robinson poured a nice selection. I stopped by for a Cabernet Franc fix: white pepper, mocha, graphite. Much better than those pencils you chewed on as a kid.

Polpetto di vitello - Veal meatballs from State and Fig. OMG.

Beckmen Vineyards - Got to sample a little of their TLB: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah. Earthy nose and luscious fruit. No sign of information on their website beyond the name. A tasty secret.

Finch and Fork at The Canary Hotel - Chef James Siao’s Seared lamb sliders with date chutney, onion relish and cilantro yogurt. The chutney added an unexpected sweetness. Much as we like lamb, we preferred the Blush pork sliders on that day, though the hardboiled eggs with smoked salmon were darn tasty.

Tercero Wines - Thompson Vineyard Syrah! Spicy, savory! Drinkable now. Drinkable later. I think Thompson is one of the great vineyards in the area for seriously delicious Syrah.

Press Gang Santa Barbara County Red Wine - This is a Ballard Canyon (another excellent source of Syrah grapes, as evidenced by wines like Shai Adome) 95% Syrah-based blend with 5% Dornfelder from the Huber Ranch in the Santa Rita Hills AVA. Dornfelder is a dark-skinned German grape created mid-20th century. It can add floral notes and sometimes a touch of sweetness. This was a very rounded fruity blend. Good restraint. I’d like to try some of this again in a non-event setting.

Verdad Grenache rosé. A little watermelon taste and a fine palate cleanser after a lot of reds. A real nice wine to just sit on the patio and sip.

All in all a beautiful day, with a key word being 'delicious.'

Thanks for documenting the day, JD! It was a delightfully tasty event!

1 comment:

Mar said...

We love Pali Pinots and also love their new(ish) tasting room in downtown SB.