The Palmina winemaker’s dinner www.palminawines.com last night at Capriccio www.capriccio.ventura-menuclub.com was a great success. Thanks to all who joined us for a fun-filled, food-filled, wine-filled evening!
Here are the highlights:
This was the first time meeting Palmina winemakers Steve and Chrystal Clifton – what a great team these two make, very personable and knowledgable plus they’re both great story tellers. They easily led the evening through each course of food and wine.
First course was tomato bruschetta on tuscan toast paired with Palmina ’07 Pinot Grigio from Santa Barbara County. This wine was very well received and paired very well with the tanginess of the tomatoes and held it’s own with the serious garlic emitting from this great appetizer. The wine is light and crisp with vibrant acidity and minerality. It has a nice creamy mouthfeel with flavors of green apples and citrus with hints of sweet, tangy fruit.
Second course was an endive and arugula salad with lumps of crabmeat drizzled with a lemony vinagrette. This was a nice combination of sweet from the crab, citrus from the vinagrette, faint bitterness from the endive and pepper from the arugula. This flavor combination paired well with the 2006 Arneis (pronounced ar-nay-iss) which is a robust white with elegent structure coating the palate with a creaminess joined by flavors of kiwis, citrus (such as orange and lemon), fennel and herbs.
Third course consisted of an Italian enboltini which is thinly sliced eggplant wrapped around creamy goat cheese and roasted until slightly crisp and set atop a plate of marinara sauce – scrumptious. This might have been the perfect food and wine pairing of the night with the 2004 Nebbiolo - quite unexpected yet very nice indeed. The Nebbiolo had been decanted earlier in the day in order for this monster of a wine to settle and be enjoyed to it’s full potential. I loved this wine with it’s black cherry, smoke, herb and earthiness all mingled together.
The third course was another fabulous pairing between the Palmina 2006 Dolcetto with it’s raspberry and cherry fruit and toasty nose followed by black and red fruit flavors and bright acidity with the creamy polenta topped with shrimp scampi. Winemaker Steve Clifton described this pairing as unexpected as you wouldn’t normally pair such a big, bold wine with delicate seafood, but the shrimp had a spicy garlic sauce which made for an excellent choice for the Dolcetto.
Fourth course – whew, we’re talking good sized portions here too folks - was a perfectly cooked filet mignon topped with a creamy, bold flavored shitake mushroom sauce that was simply heavenly, asparagus spears and yummy risotto paired with the 2004 Mattia Refosco with its earthy notes of currants, plums and dried cherries followed by layers of dark fruit, cedar and a dusty, yet well integrated tannin. Another perfect pairing.
Dessert was tougher then expected as Palmina doesn’t have a dessert wine in their lineup so we opted for something lighter to go along with the mango sorbet and pineapple. By this time, everyone was pretty much in a food coma, so a lighter dessert was welcome along with the pear and green apple flavors of the 2007 Tocai Friulano.
Overall, the chef at Capriccio outdid himself, the staff was quick, courteous and pleasant and it was a nice touch receiving a new, clean glass between each course. Steve and Chrystal were fun and educating, yet provided just enough interesting information to keep you intrigued while the course was being served.
Wish you were there! Linda