Thursday, May 31, 2007

2007 Dinner Under the Winkler Vine

Each year D.E.V.O (Department of Enology and Viticulture Organization), the student group in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis, puts on a benefit dinner to support the group. The dinner, Dinner Under the Winkler Vine, features five chefs who prepare courses to pair with five wines. This year was a great success. We had chefs from California and New Mexico pair courses with wines from California and Oregon. The menu was:

Shrimp and Scallop Mousse Crab Cake with Passion Fruit Vinaigrette / Smoked Salmon Hash with Mozzarella and Herb-Oil Crostini paired with 2003 Shramsberg Vineyards Blanc de Blancs
Eric Frost - Brick Marble Bistro, Murrieta, CA

Lavender Honey Diver Scallop with Aprium Three Ways: Cranberry Chutney, Goat Cheese Quenelle, Fresh Fruit Brulee paired with 2005 Chehalem Dry Riesling Reserve
Sachin Chopra, Executive Chef - Mantra, Palo Alto, CA

Sweetswoods' Goat Cheese Orzo with Roasted Wild Mushrooms paired with 2005 Cakebread Napa Valley Chardonnay
Jennifer James, Albuquerque, NM

Local Squab Three Ways with Spring Vegetables : Crispy Breast, Confit Sweet Potato Agnolotti, Huckleberry and Pinot-Liver Emulsion paired with 2005 Saintsbury Brown Ranch Pinot noir
Mark Estee, Chef - Moody's Bistro and Lounge, Truckee, CA

Rack of Lamb with Blue Cheese Crust, Baby Root Vegetables, Celery Root Puree, Cabernet Rosemary Jus paired with 2000 Seavy Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Nicholas Johnson, Chef - Piper-Johnson Catering, Calistoga, CA

Pear Soup with Semolina Cake and Almond Panna Cotta paired with 2005 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Late Harvest Pinot gris
Mica and Robert Gott, Savoy Catering, Oakland, CA

The dinner went off without a hitch. We had great live and silent auctions. Five of my photos were featured in the silent auction and one sold for $220!

I hope next year's dinner goes off as well as this year's. Congratulations to D.E.V.O. for putting the event together and thank you to everyone who attended for supporting the mission of D.E.V.O.

If you are in Davis in May/June 2008 and want to attend, contact me through the blog.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A week of good wine.

The Wines
Originally uploaded by monkeycat!.
This week has been kind of crazy in terms of wine. I have had the opportunity to try the fabulous, the old and the rare.

It is late (early on Friday morning), so if I forget anything, I will come back and edit the post.

The wine week is broken into 3 main parts: Billo's house, 125L Savor and the Hungarians.

1. Billo's House

Billo had a few people over to his house to hang out with is brother, who is in town for a couple of days. After Wynne and I finished dinner with Antonia at my house, we headed of to Billo's place. When we arrived, we were a couple of wines behind in the brown bag tasting, so we got moving. Here are the wines:

1995 Meursault-Genevrieres Premier Cru, Dom. Latour-Giraud
2003 Chardonnay "Mitsuko's Vineyard", Clos Pegase, Napa Valley
2004 Pinot noir "La Cruz Vineyard", Testarossa, Sonoma Coast
2004 Cuvee Juveniles, Torbreck, Barossa Valley
2004 Valpolicella Superiore, Ripassa Zentao
2001 Pinot noir, Wither Hills, Marlborough
1997 Merlot, Pahlmeyer, Napa Valley
2003 Merlot, Duckhorn, Napa Valley
1996 "Alchemy", Canobolas-Smith, New South Wales
2003 Syrah "Wells Vineyard", K Vineyards, Walla Walla
1982 St. Emillon Premier Grand Cru, Ch. Beau-Sejour Becot
1985 Warre's Vintage Porto

So yeah. It was awesome. For me, the highlights were the St. Emillon and the Pahlmeyer, along with the Port. When Billo brought out the St. Emillon, he said that it was for my birthday, which he wasn't able to make it to. Every wine had something to offer. We played the "guess the grape/country" game and it actually went fairly well. All in all we were pretty respectable.

2. 125L Savor wines

This week, in our last week of lab, Hildegarde and Mike treated us to some wines that they found in the cellar. While cleaning out the education locker in the cellar, they came across a mixed case of old Sauternes. Wednesday's lab tried 6 bottles including the 1975 Rieussec, and we tried 6 bottles in the Thursday lab. Our flight was centered more in Barsac.
The wines:

1962 Barsac Premier Cru, Ch. Climens
1962 Sauternes Premier Cru, Ch. La Tour Blanche
1962 Barsac Preimer Cru, Ch. Coutet
1966 Barsac Premier Cru, Ch. Coutet
1967 Barsac Premier Cru, Ch. Coutet
1967 Sauternes, Ch. Filhot

These wines were so distinct. They were among the oldest Sauternes that I have ever tried. The first two, the Climens and the La Tour Blanche were stand out favorites of mine. The Climens actually tasted like Lyle's Golden Syrup, at least to me.

125L lab lasted from 1-4. At 6, the next even began.

3. Hungarian wine tasting

Each year (as far as I know), two Hungarians (Laszlo Kocsis and Gabor Sellyei) come to UC Davis to talk about and share Hungarian wines. Last year the talk focused on the dry wines of Tokaj (I think). This year, we learned about the red wine growing regions (there are 22) and then about Tokaj wines. We learned about the Puttonyos and how they turn botrytized berries (aszu) into Aszu Tokaj wines. There are 6 sweetness levels (1 puttonyos or p. through 6p.) and then the ultimate in sugary - the aszueszencia, which is the equivalent of >6p. We were extremely fortunate to try 5 red wines and 4 6p. Tokajs.

2006 Kadarka, Frittmann
2003 Kadarka, Vida
2004 Zweigelt, Wunderlich
2002 Bull's Blood, Monarchia
2003 Kekfrankos, Vesztergombi

We were informed that 2003 is the best year for Hungarian red wines in the last 10+ years. Remember that if you are ever faced with picking out a Hungarian red.

Gabor has aptly named the 6p. Tokaj wines the "6 star generals of Tokaj" in reference to the American military system. These wines come above 5 star generals in Tokaj. We had the great fortune to try 4 "6 star generals" three from the same vintage.

6p. Aszu-Tokaj

1993 6p. Marcatus
2000 6p. Patricius
2000 6p. Degenfeld
2000 6p. Dobogo

What a crazy week! It actually all occured within 24 hours, so really I can call it the crazy day of wine.

To close, here is a picture of the happy group at Billo's house: Jesse, Jen, Steph, Wynne, Billo, Kristy, Pinto and me.
Group picture!