The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2014

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Page 26 of 132

26  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2014 SAN FRAN INSIDER O lives and wine grapes. They've been cultivated together commercially for at least 5,000 years and we associate their health-giving properties—namely, antioxidants—with well-being and longevity. In Sonoma, olives are now the second-largest crop to wine grapes and, as such, they're fêted every year in January and February with a host of olive- themed events the highlight of which is an olive-inspired feast. This year's five-course dinner, the 13th, was held at Ramekins Culinary School and combined the talents of 18 chefs, mixolo- gist Fred Groth, who shook up some classic dirty olive Martinis with Solano Vodka, and the wines of Gloria Ferrer, Cline Cellars, Roche Winery, Larson Family and B.R. Cohen. For the "Feast of the Olive" chefs worked in teams to create different menus for each table using local olives and oils from McEvoy Ranch, Don's Olives, The Olive Press, Figone's and B. R. Cohen. Our table enjoyed Ari Weiswasser's pearl barley risotto with black olive oil; Bruno Tison and Andrew Cain's terrine of wild salmon with Picholine olives "en gelée"; Peter Smith and Andrew Wilson's beef short rib with green olive jus; Carlo Cavallo's goat cheese timbale; and a pistachio Capay olive oil cake with black olive coulis created by Antonio Ghilarducci for dessert. This feast affirmed our beliefs about olives. Who better to craft a domestic Prosecco-style sparkler than natives of Conegliano, a DOCG Superiore region for Prosecco in Italy's Veneto? Dario de Conti, his wife Valentina Guolo- Migotto and their partner Stefano Migotto of Ca' Momi make Ca' Secco, a frizzante blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Muscat. The Ca' Momi team, which operates a popular, utterly-authentic enoteca in Oxbow Market, is building a new winery and tasting room on their estate vineyards sited off Cuttings Wharf Road. In March, the trio's reserve Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon which we tasted with Mario at the enoteca a short while ago made their Oscar debut at the ShortsHD Awards, where they were poured for nominees in the live action, animation and documentary categories. Salute! The dry-farmed vineyards at JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery in Paso Robles are less dry than they were in January when pioneering winery founder Justin Baldwin and recently- appointed winemaker Scott Shirley pulled some corks to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the winery's signature Bordeaux-style blend, Isosceles. Master Sommelier Joseph Spellman was on hand to lead the tasting of vintages '99, '03, '05, '07, '09, and, the current release, '11. Noted for its limestone soils similar to Margaux, the estate, one of six wineries in the region when it was planted by Baldwin in 1981, produces some of the most Bordeaux-like wines hailing from Paso Robles. The '99 showed chocolate, earth, tobacco, soy and black fruit on the nose with precise acidity and light, refined tannins, blackberry, cranberry, leather, dried leaf, brown spices mid-palate and a mineral salinity that Spellman described as "celery salt." New plantings at JUSTIN are focused on Cabernet Franc, which Shirley says "loves the limestone and needs just as much sun as Cabernet Sauvignon." THE TASTING PANEL's Deborah Parker Wong dressed as an olive, Tery and Dan Parks, board member of the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau, and hostess Wendy Peterson, Executive Director, Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau. Ca' Momi's Dario de Conti is building a new winery and tasting room in Carneros. JUSTIN winemaker Scott Shirley will be creating the 2012 release of Isosceles. OUR INSIDER HITS THE ROAD IN PURSUIT OF . . . A Mediterranean Diet by Deborah Parker Wong PHOTO: CATHY STANCIL PHOTO: DEBORAH PARKER WONG PHOTO COURTESY OF CA' MOMI TP0414_001-33.indd 26 3/21/14 11:53 AM

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