Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sea Ranch and our Winemakers dinner

Having arrived back to the winery on this last weekend of March, I couldn't be in a better state of mind. The weather is absolutely beautiful, we're in bud break and Kerry and I had an amazing experience at Sea Ranch Lodge yesterday. What a great location and even more special people.

We started off with sashimi with green apple paired with our 2007 Sauvignon Blanc. It clean and crisp on a warm sunny afternoon looking over the ocean. Kerry and I wished time could have been stopped-perfect wine and food pairing with a serene setting. Our next course consisted of fresh dungeness crab tart paired with our 2007 Stuhlmuller Chardonnay. A rich wine paired with lush seafood-made my mouth water even before I took a bite. As a rule of thumb, Chardonnay needs food for my liking. The crab seemed to accentuate the fruit in the Chardonnay, cutting through the rich buttery characteristic that the Stuhlmuller fans have come to know.

Kerry seemed to hit his his note for the evening between the Chardonnay course and the 2006 Maple Zinfandel. This guy loves life. If he wasn't a winemaker, he could be as successful as a stand up comic! He's happy go lucky and loves to speak about the wines and even better-engages our guests. He's ever the teacher. Seizing the opportunity to explain corked wine and have everyone smell the wine as we had 1 corked bottled and Kerry decided it was a perfect time to educate the masses. This really seemed to get them to another level of discussion during the meal which lead into the Maple Zinfandel pairing.

Our 2006 Maple Zinfandel has a interesting and cleaver food selection-a housemade chorizo Napoleon. This was a home run! The spice in the chorizo highlighted the Zinfandel-making that course the hit of the night! Our next course in the food adventure was prime rib and our 2005 Nevins Cabernet Sauvignon. People were ready for Cabernet and this course hit the spot-showcasing a classic food and wine pairing. Up next was the Palmeri 2006 Van Ness Syrah-matched with a light as air Gruyere Souffle which accentuated the black cherry characteristics of the Syrah. For me, the shining star of the night was the Ginger Chocolate Torte with Cherries. Our 2006 Port harmonized with the fresh ginger cookie-it brought back happy childhood memories of sharing ginger snaps with my dad.

Evening such as this aren't all about the food and wine but as much about the people you meet. I was able to sit next to some of our wine club family, Jim and Mary, and I learned so much. We talked about our food passions and I learned she worked side by side with Ansel Adams. At my table were three ladies that are ambassadors for Breast Cancer Awareness. One is going to release a cloth in the Tibetan way at the top of her climb for me Dad and I'll participate in the next climb for Breast cancer awareness in 2010. People had connections to the Midwest and Daisy ran into someone who knew a childhood sweetheart. Opportunities to have so much laughter and connection with people you met hours prior is quite indescribable for me. People come to these dinners to learn more about the wine, winemaker and owner and it always seems that Kerry and I walk away feeling blessed to work in such a great field and luck to have met new friends.

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