Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wine Pairing Dinner at Shula's Steak House.

Good morning...it's Saturday! 

On Thursday night, Fred and I, along with two other couples, attended a special four course, five wine dinner pairing event at Shula’s Steak House at the Promenade Shoppes in Center Valley.  Anthony Pessagno of Pessagno Vineyard in Monterey, CA hosted the dinner and he spoke a little about each wine throughout the evening.    

It was noted that Pessagno wines are well known for their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varietals, and I have to agree.  Their Chard was very good.  

Here’s a photo of the menu that was placed at each setting.  I’m not sure if it was the lighting or the flash on my mini camera, but the photos were horrible!  They were overexposed and blurry and the only decent food picture I took was of the dessert.  

What did we enjoy?

We started with Brie and Apricot tartlets served with Pessagno’s La Estancia Vineyard 2009 Riesling.  This wine was on the dry side, and hints of apricots, pineapple, and honey were evident, as I tasted it with the pastries.  The aroma was crisp and clean.

Shula’s traditional Crab Cake topped with a sweet potato hay was paired with Pessagno’s Chardonnay beurre blanc.  As one of my two favorites of the evening, this wine was both buttery and oaky with hints of apple and pineapple on the finish. 

Next, Applewood Smoked Duck Breast on top of roasted winter root vegetables such as potatoes, turnips, and sweet potatoes, and a sundried cherry and pinot jus was served with Pessagno’s 2009 Central Avenue Vineyard Pinot Noir.  I typically like Pinots, but to be honest, this wine was unmemorable.  I never had duck before, so this was a first for me.  The cherry sauce added the sweet burst this dish deserved and complimented it very nicely.  

Ok…on to my fav…Shula’s 8 ounce Filet Mignon and roasted fingerling potatoes, hedge hog mushrooms, charred onions, and a Syrah demiglace with Pessagno’s 2009 Idyll Times Vineyard Syrah.   One word, with three letters…YUM!  Cooked to a perfect medium-rare, the filet was topped with a demiglace laced with the Syrah we were drinking.  The Syrah was amazing.  It was full-bodied and complex with fruity flavors including blackberry and plum.  They also noted that a hint of licorice could be present, however I didn’t notice.

And in a close second, the delectable Chocolate Crème Brulee with balsamic marinated blackberries was paired with their 2006 Hames Valley Vineyard Port.   Below is a less than par picture of this scrumptious dessert.  Usually, I will eat only a few bites of dessert because I am full.  Not this time…I ate the entire thing!!  And the port, well…I have never met a port that I didn’t like. Delish!  I tasted hints of blackberries and licorice in this palatable dessert wine.

As we concluded the night, our group was full and happy.  A great time was had by all!

If you ever have a chance to attend a wine pairing dinner, I would definitely urge you to go.  They are both fun and educational.  On that night alone, we had the opportunity to sample five wines and four courses, compared to a typical dinner out at a restaurant where you would receive only an appetizer, dinner and dessert.

Ok – off to run an easy 5 miles and then I am going to prepare for my catering event at my husband’s basketball games.  On the menu?  Beef BBQ sandwiches, chips, pickles and sides.  Due to my time constraints, store-bought brownies will be served for dessert.

Have a good Saturday!


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