Ken here, reporting on a distant, yet social, experience. I got to put on my wine tasting hat. Greg didn’t have to cook. We supported a local restaurant and a California winery. I socialized with oenophiles and learned more about wine. We enjoyed a great meal paired with equally satisfying wine. We didn’t have to leave the house. Food lovingly prepared by Chef Sal Marino of Marino Ristorante Hollywood, wine organically and biodynamically crafted by Jason Haas of Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles. Win win win win win win win.
A Virtual Wine Pairing (with Real Food and Wine!)
Who says Italian food and Rhône wine don’t mix? Not me! My bouche was definitely amused by the pairing of Sal’s starter of rare cauliflower mushrooms and pistachios tossed in intense extra-virgin olive oil. I wish I’d gotten a picture, but if you can find cauliflower mushrooms buy them– amazing texture! The dish was nicely complemented by the acidity, minerality and bright tree fruit flavors in Jason’s 2018 Grenache Blanc. His description of “a long sweet/tart lemon drop note on the finish” is spot on.
Marino Ristorante and Tablas Creek Winery share a passion for the “real.” As in real, unadulterated, sometimes hard to find ingredients– like the Santa Barbara haricots verts and the semi-sweet hybrid potatoes that accompanied the lamb in our entrée. Like the lamb itself raised on Tablas Creek land: the flock of sheep roam for six months of the year and are moved from parcel to parcel every 24 hours so they don’t overgraze. The resulting 750 pounds of manure per day (TMI?) returns nutrients to the soil, keeps weeds out, suppresses fire and captures carbon. Sal’s simple sous vide preparation brought out the full natural flavors of the meat.
Tablas Creek 2017 Esprit de Tablas paired perfectly with the lamb. Tablas Creek Vineyard’s flagship estate-grown Rhône blend is led by Mourvedre (spicy, rich, red fruit) and supported by Grenache (sweet, lush, cherry), Syrah (black fruit, tannins, aromatics) and a bright splash of Counoise. Jason informed us that 2017 was a great year for both Mourvedre and Grenache (a personal favorite of mine). Interestingly, the Esprit de Tablas blend gets “first dibs” on grapes every year– single varietals follow if there is enough fruit.
All and all the most fun I’ve had all quarantine. Marino Ristorante hosts these Virtual Dinner Events periodically, with different winery partners each time (delivered right to your front door). If you’re in the LA area, Zoom on in! KEN
PS I paid full price for this Virtual Wine Pairing Dinner. All opinions are my own.