Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stag's Leap "Leap Year" Wine Dinner

We thought there was no better way to celebrate Leap Year (because who doesn't love an extra day in February?) than to host a dinner featuring wines from a place called Stag's Leap.  Stag's Leap is actually a subdistrict of infamous Napa Valley in California.  Stag's Leap was first put on the map back in 1976 in what is now simply referred to as the "Judgment of Paris".  Actually, the Jugement de Paris is responsible for putting the entire state of California on the map as a place capable of making world-class wines.  Two wines from California, the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay & the 1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon went up against the premier Bourdeaux's & Burgundies from France in a nine-bottle blind tasting and actually won.  To add even more parallels to the David v. Goliath narrative is the fact that the vines that produced that 1973 bottle of S.L.V. Cabernet were a mere three years old.  As the Wall Street Journal proclaimed, 

The 1976 Paris tasting, or Judgment of Paris as it became known, had a revolutionary effect, “like a vinous shot heard round the world.”

Stag's Leap District is now home to more than twenty different wineries but for our dinner we featured our two favorites, Stag's Leap Winery & Stag's Leap Wine Cellars.  Our Executive Chef Joe Andersen created a menu specially designed to pair with the Stag's Leap wines.  

We began with the Stag's Leap Winery Chardonnay which was paired with Curried Vegetable Lettuce Wraps [pictured right].  This was the more acidic of the two Chardonnays as the Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Chardonnay is a bit more full-bodied which made for a better pairing with the Baked Lobster Bisque with Puff Pastry [top left]. Rarely is the soup the highlight of a five-course dinner, and not to take away from the other courses, but the Baked Lobster Bisque was so good it may have stole the show.  Accompanying the first red of the night was the Pork Tenderloin Roulade with Spinach & Smoked Gouda [bottom left].  The red was Stag's Leap Winery Merlot which matched the richness of the Tenderloin dish perfectly.

The wine everyone had been waiting for was next: The Stag's Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon.  Not the exact bottle that put California on the map some 35 years prior, but the same name, winemakers & vines.  The wine didn't disappoint & neither did the pairing of Sliced Flank Steak over Potato Confit that Joe finished with a Blackberry Demi Glace [bottom left].  Of course, there is no better way to end any meal than with red wine & chocolate-- in this case it was the Stag's Leap Winery Petite Sirah paired with a Raspberry Gateau with a Dark Chocolate Ganache [pictured right] that our Pastry Chef had specially prepared for the evening.

We hope you thought the food, wine & company paired just as memorably as we did.  Even though Leap Years are few in far between, our special events are not & we look forward to serving you soon!

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