Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Hartford Wine Dinner Taj Hotel SFO June 19th 2012

Following a four Pinots Noir tasting with hosts Hartford Family Wine Maker Jeff Stewart and Master Sommelier Richard Dean guests sat down to a four course dinner prepared by executive Chef Srijith Gopinthan.

The menu read as follows:

The Amuse: Salmon - firm, rich, oily and flavorful - perfect!


Sweet Shrimps with doughnut nectarines, Burned peppers, Cucumbers, Basil and shrimp essence.
Served with Hartford Court Seascape Vineyard Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2008.
Food: Delicate and slightly sweet overall with a range of slight to firm textures with harmony on the plate overall. Very tasting and a great beginning.
Wine: Quite full-bodied and rich in flavor, noticeable acidity and oak, buttery and creamy as well. Medium+ length and finish.

Match: Not so good - the dish was too delicate for the wine. Perhaps a Riesling or even a Pinot Gris would have been a better option. That said I enjoyed both separately. The salmon appetizer would have been just right for the wine. Still - I did get to try that match as well and was delicious!

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Liberty Farm Duck Breast with pistachio, Brooks cherry variation, porcini mushrooms and duck jus.
Food: Perfectly prepared duck with a firm texture tempered by melt in the mouth flavor. The condiments on the plate, along with the duck, each provided a match with the wine. Great portion size.

Wine and match: Hartford Court Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2010 - Fragrant and distinctive with Pinosity and enough power to manage the duck and its condiments really well - a solid pairing - well done Ricahrd and  Srijith.

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Lamb Loin with slow roasted English peas, mint and pea leaf melt, chanterelle buttons and lamb jus.
Food: A beautiful duo of pink, sweet and juicy loin(s), the herbaceous elements on the plate were a great contrast to the texture,  and tannin and overall structure of the wine.

Wine and match: Hartford Court Far Coast Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2009.  I loved this wine - no food needed. A delicious and noteworthy Pinot for its core of fruit and core of concentration without being over the top; balanced by fine tannins, medium+ acidity and a long finish. With the lamb - excellent - a well thought out pairing where the wine edged ahead of the food flavor and impact. In a dinner like this the wine is the hero of the evening with the Chef-de-Cuisine taking a second row seat yet still demonstrating the ability to cook an enchanting dish.

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Chocolate with caramelia Mousse, Dark chocolate Ice Cream and Almond Praline Tuile
Food: If you are a chocolate and sweet dessert lover this is a really good dish for you. Plenty of sweetness  to devour as the chocolate melts.
No dessert picture - sorry - I ate it too quickly!

Wine and Match: Hartford Vineyard Old Vine Russian River Valley Zinfandel 2009. Only some Zins will pair with chocolate. This one did not - only because there was too much going on with the food. Individually the wine was dry, spicy, fruit-cake-a-licious, but too much power for the plate and not sweet enough.

Thanks again for a great evening - had a long discussion with Wine Maker Jeff Stewart and am looking forward to the next opportunity to try more of his wines.

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