Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wining and dining in Burbank with Luna Vine and Romancing the Bean...

The Goddess occasionally dreams about the perfect evening: No driving required, great food and wine pairings, fun folks, and no cleanup (for the Goddess, that is). Sometimes, the dream comes true.

I've mentioned a few times that a new wine bar is coming to Burbank. It's finally under construction, and should be opening in October. In the meantime, Luna Vine Wine Bar owner Shannan VerGow, her General Manager Nick Caballero, and good friend and colleague Kerry Krull of Romancing the Bean, have been keeping the buzz going with monthly tastings on Magnolia Park's Ladies' Night Out. A week before Labor Day, they collaborated on the first of what I hope will be many more wine dinners.

JD, Shai Cellars winemaker Shawn Halahmy (whose wines will be on the menu at Luna Vine) and the Goddess walked to Romancing the Bean. Yep. Walked there. Perfect.

We arrived and were handed glasses that were immediately filled with a 2012 Markowitsch Gruner Veltliner from Austria. This is a wine I actually have in my own cellar. It's crisp, fruity and dry as a bone. The perfect aperitif. The cheese course was set out, and we all gathered around the bar to fill our plates.

The three cheese offering included a mild Taleggio, a rich French bleu - La Fourme d’Ambert - and creamy Queso Cabra al Vino (goat cheese soaked in wine prior to aging), served with sliced baguette, fresh figs, grapes and sweet fig preserves. Oh, and the fried, sausage-stuffed green olives with herbed garlic aioli were amazing. JD, who doesn't like green olives, ate several and was hoping for more. In fact, our table grabbed as many as we could, and hoped no one would notice how greedy we were.

The 2011 3-Brooms Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand was the perfect match to the next course of chilled cantaloupe and mint soup. Some diners were not sure about the texture of the soup, but I found it refreshing and different on a warm night.

A 2012 Westwood 3-Part Rosé from the Sonoma Coast was paired with an unusual, slightly honeyed chicken liver mousse with Marsala gelatina. We all loved the mousse, which we happily smeared on more toasted baguette, but I found the Rosé a bit one-note - and that note was mainly watery strawberry. At the table, opinions were mixed about the wine - but not about the mousse!

The wine of the evening for me was the 2009 Arbois Poulsard from Jura, France. Wow. The restrained and elegant wine not only paired well with the Buffalo mozzarella, heirloom beets and heirloom tomato salad, but added depth and enjoyment to that chicken liver mousse. Just a note about the Arbois: Poulsard is a red-skinned French grape variety that is a specialty of the town/region of Arbois in northern Jura. With its thin skin, pale coloring and delicate perfumes, it may be confused with an unripe Pinot Noir. Lovely.

The 2009 Stone Dweller Shiraz from the Strathbogie Range, Australia was a terrific match with the braised short ribs with baby veggies and polenta with Pecorino cheese. The portion arrived "to be shared by two," and it was just right for JD and me.

The final course of the evening was a rich and velvety NV Carol Shelton "Black Magic" Late Harvest Zinfandel from Sonoma County. Interesting note: This wine is even portions from the 2008, 2009 and 2010 vintages. Oh, and it was paired with an astonishingly delicious dark chocolate tart with mascarpone and fresh raspberries. OMG.

The dinner was designed and prepared by Luna Vine's Executive Chef Wes Pumphrey and Romancing the Bean's Chef Dawn Bassett. An excellent collaboration!

And then we walked home. Walked. Home.

Near perfect.


No comments: