This weekend we hosted a wine and food pairing. A complete description of the wines is included after the menu.

1. Cheese platter and stuffed mushrooms paired with two sparkling wines from Andersen Valley, California. Both wines were enjoyable and set the stage for great wines to follow. The consensus favorite was Scharffenberger – slightly drier in taste and less carbonation than Roederer.

2. Fresh shrimp with celery and red onion in lemon juice paired with Greco di Tufo from Campania, Italy.  This wine received raves for its clean, refreshing minerality that matched well with the lemon juice and shrimp.

3. Small plates of linguine in pesto sauce paired with California Pinot Noir. The obvious wine pairing for this pasta dish is white but Pinot Noir is a versatile, medium body red. The wine was an excellent choice with nice fruit, well balanced and deserving of Parker’s 94 rating – delicious.

4. Entre -filet mignon baked in kosher salt paired with two red blends to contrast Old World versus New World. The drinking window for both of these big bold reds was 2015 so three hours of decanting made them perfect. Knowing that my guests’ comfort zone was New World California Cabernet, I expanded their palates by selecting two blends that did not include California – Washington State and Bolgheri, Tuscany. Both wines were stellar and I was quite surprised that the Old World Super Tuscan (Sapaio) was the overwhelming favorite.

5. Dessert – apple tart, cream puffs and ice cream paired with two beautiful ports (Portugal). The 2003 Vintage Port and 10 year-old Tawny Port were supplied by a guest – both bottles were empty by night’s end. Needless to say, another excellent pair of wines.

scharffenberger_brut_NVSCHARFFENBERGER Brut Excellence NV
Anderson Valley, Mendocino California $20.
67% Chardonnay and 33% Pinot Noir, made in traditional Champagne process (individual bottle fermented). Bright aromas of green apple and lime lead to vibrant, layered flavors of citrus, anise and creamy vanilla. Drink now.

roederer_brut_NVROEDERER Estate Brut NV
Anderson Valley, Mendocino California $24
Wine Spectator 90 rating, “60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. Fermentation in stainless tell tanks. Floral raspberry and apple pie aromas lead to crisp lemon, anise and spicy raspberry flavors that finish on a fresh mineral note. Drink now.”

donnaPaolina_grecoditufo2013DONNA PAOLINA Greco di Tufo 2012
Campania, Italy $20
Vibrant Greco wines are best consumed young with excellent acidity and fresh, clean, grapey flavor. Nutty and caramelized flavors develop within few years of bottling. Wine is made from Greco Bianco grapes located around town of Tufo in Campania.

caleraDeVilliers_pinotnoir_2010CALERA Pinot Noir de Villiers Mt Harlan 2010
San Benito, Central Coast, California $45
Robert Parker 94 rating, “A deep, masculine effort that spent 16 months in 30% new French oak, the 2010 Pinot Noir de Villiers Vineyard has serious amounts of earthy black fruits, wild strawberries and floral qualities on the nose. This is followed up by a medium to full-bodied, supple and gorgeously textured effort that has no hard edges and blockbuster length. It has core of sweet fruit and is enjoyable now, it should age effortlessly through 2016.”


Col Solare Proprietary Red 2009
Columbia Valley, Washington $45
Blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec.
Robert Parker 93+ rating, “Offering up ripe, decadently styled aromas of blackberry, licorice and crushed stone-like minerality on the nose, it is a big rich 2009 that has solid mid-palate depth and layers of fruit that only partially cover full-throttle tannin. Needing time to round into shape, it will benefit from another 2-3 years of bottle-age and have a solid 15+ years of overall longevity.”
Drink 2015-2024.

Sapaio_BolgheriSuperiore_2010Podere Sapaio Bolgheri Superiore Sapaio 2010
Tuscany, Italy $45
Super Tuscan blend 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 20% Petit Verdot.
Robert Parker 93 rating, “2010 Bolgheri Sapaio is even darker with thick blackness at its rim. it’s a brawny and thickly layered expression with dark blackberry, prune, tobacco, leather and crushed granite or dark mineral. Herbal flavors appear on the close and the tannins still require time to soften. This wine is built to age. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.”

Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Tawny Port
Portugal $28
Crushed red berry, maple and sweet plum flavors knit together in this subdued style. Short finish. Drink now