Well, we did it. We joined another wine club. After my birthday treat of the dessert and wine pairing at J. Lohr Winery, we went back for the wine and appetizer pairing. It was just as delightful. Once again, Chef Jaimie Casey prepared a delicious menu to go with the wines. Finding a winery so close to home, with such good wines and interesting events, we just couldn’t resist. Having such a friendly and hospitable staff and family who run it is also an important factor in the decision.
Check out the menu and drool:
2009 J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
Halibut Ceviche with Pear Granita
2007 J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay
Hot Smoked Salmon with Avocado, Butter Leaf Salad
2009 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdigue
Rilette of Duck with BlueBerry and Basil Preserve, Rye Crisps
2007 J. Lohr Fog’s Reach Pinot Noir
Flash Seared Kobe Beef with Saki and Asian Slaw
2009 J. Lohr Gesture Zinfandel
Ravioli of Lamb and Minted Fava Beans
We also had a goat cheese chocolate truffle treat that was not on the menu that paired quite well with the cabernet. Jaimie loves to throw in surprises and always shares her recipes at these events.
There was a lot of lively discussion about the pairings this time. We were encouraged to mix and match beyond the proposed sets. We often found other combinations we liked as well or better than the official recommendations. The tomato consommé was an exquisite and flavorful opener, but I preferred it with the chardonnay. Larry agreed with their choice of the sauvignon blanc.
Everything was delicious, but I have to comment on the duck rillette. I don’t like duck so I was very hesitant regarding this particular appetizer. But when I go to an event such as this, I am determined to at least taste everything offered. If I don’t like it, I let Larry finish it. He likes almost everything. So I was quite amazed that I actually liked the duck. It was not too fatty or too rich, and the blueberry and basil preserves (made by Jaimie) and rye toast were a perfect match. I also thought it was the most perfect pairing with the Fog’s Reach Pinot Noir. The figure-eight ravioli shown here was also quite a masterpiece.
Another good reason to attend events like this is the fun of meeting interesting people. I sat next to a young woman who is a pastry chef and food writer for Metro Magazine. I enjoyed talking to her about her job and discovered she is also a blogger. What are the chances of that! I guess food bloggers are everywhere! You can check out her blog, Original Cinn for pastry-related posts.