Livermore's Taste of Terroir Truly An Experience To Remember

Judges' Best Pairing Winner Collin Cranor of Nottingham Cellars

What a fantastic night.  The Taste of Terroir has got to be one of the best events in the Livermore Valley.  The Palm Event Center was the perfect place to make this event magical.  Rachel and I showed up at 6 and we could see that the line of eager wine enthusiasts stretched from the front doors of the event center to the parking lot 200 to 300 yards away.  It was easy to see that this was truly a sold out event.  We jumped into the line, which moved surprisingly quick, and we soon found ourselves in front of the large wood doors of the event center.  Upon walking inside, I could see the swarm of activity as wine glasses were filled and chefs shared the masterfully created pairings.

Rachel and I had the opportunity to sample the pairings from all of the participating wineries and restaurants and I was blown away by all of the creativity that went into the food pairing.  Here is the line up that still makes my mouth water just thinking about it:

Cedar Mountain Winery featured their 2007 Zinfandel (Hansen Vineyard, Livermore Valley), which was paired with local lamb meatballs on black bean sopapillas with jalapeño jelly made by Porter’s Restaurant at Poppy Ridge.

Concannon Vineyard featured their 2007 Reserve Petite Sirah (Livermore Valley), which was paired with braised short rib bruschetta made by Market Café & Bar at Marriot Pleasanton.

Darcie Kent Vineyards featured their 2009 Chardonnay (DeMayo Vineyard, Livermore Valley), which was paired with Brentwood corn cake with rock shrimp ceviche and micro cilantro salad made by Underdog Wine Bar.

Eagle Ridge Vineyard featured their 2007 Zinfandel (Livermore Valley), which was paired with polpettine di carne alla pizzaiola with pork, veal, garlic, oregano, breadcrumbs, and ripened Roma tomatoes made by Terra Mia Restaurant.

Garré Vineyard & Winery featured their 2007 Syrah (Livermore Valley), which was paired with Syrah braised lamb accompanied with fruit inspired sauce made by Garré Café.

Los Positas Vineyards featured their 2008 Barbera (Livermore Valley), which was paired with French onion soup with local organic onions, caramelized and slow cooked in a broth of Marin sun organic beef and veal, topped with a La Boulange brioche gratin, and Point Reyes organic blue cheese made by Stomp! Wine Lounge.

McGrail Vineyards & Winery featured their 2008 A Jo Elet Cabernet Sauvignon (Livermore Valley), which was paired with filet mignon bites, tellicherry peppercorn dusted and stuffed with Roquefort cream and red wine caramelized cippolini onions made by Zephyr Grill & Bar.

Mitchell Katz Winery featured their 2008 Wesley Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot blend (Livermore Valley), which was paired with wild Russian boar belly cured in house made Asian spice blend, braised in veal stock with Dashi, Thai chilies, and Szechuan peppercorn on sugar cane skewer with plum glaze made by Palm Event Center in the Vineyard.

Nottingham Cellars featured their 2009 Malbec (Livermore Valley), which was paired with seasoned lamb skewers drizzled with a zesty Malbec sauce made by Wild Vine Hideaway Bistro & Lounge.

Occasio Winery featured their 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (Livermore Valley), which was paired with lamb tenderloin with sweet potato made by Campo di Bocce.

Rios-Lovell Winery featured their 2005 Meritage Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend (Livermore Valley), which was paired with pancetta wrapped prawn, Meritage reduction, and mushroom risotto made by Scott’s Restaurant & Catering.

The Rodrigue Molyneaux / Castlewood Country Club pairing

Rodrigue Molyneaux Winery featured their 2006 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Livermore Valley), which was paired with San Joaquin Valley Muscovy duck pate infused with local pistachios, chives, and dill on toasted crostini with Estate olive oil and fig coulis made by Castlewood Country Club.

Ruby Hill Winery featured their 2008 Intesa Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera blend (Livermore Valley), which was paired with braised goat with hints of cloves, coriander, and vanilla on creamy goat cheese polenta with fresh cherry and micro arugula garnish made by Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery.

The Steven Kent Winery featured their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (Ghielmetti Vineyard, Livermore Valley), which was paired with spice rubbed grilled picanha (Argentinean beef steak) atop herbed polenta square with a Balsamic Cabernet reduction made by Swirl on the Square.

Thomas Coyne Winery featured their 2010 Gruv, a white Grenache, Roussane, Ugi-Blanc, Viognier blend (Livermore Valley), which was paired with crab cake with Sri-Racha sauce made by Star Anise Restaurant.

Wente Vineyards featured their 2009 Nth Degree Chardonnay (Livermore Valley), which was paired with crudo of yellowtail jack with green grape gazpacho, toasted almonds, cucumber, and century mission olive oil made by The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards.

After enjoying all of these pairings the Palm Event Center barrel room was opened.  Fresh fruit and tasty desserts covered the tables.  With a little Port style dessert wine from Retzlaff Estate Winery and Little Valley Winery it was a perfect ending to the evening.

This was not just a fun night for us to get out and enjoy food and wine pairing.  It was also a chance for the wineries and restaurants to team up and go head to head against each other to compete for the vote of the judges and the people in order to gain the notoriety the Taste of Terroir offers.  At the end of the night, the winning food and wine pairings were announced:

Best Classic Pairing: Concannon Vineyard & Marriot Pleasanton

Judges’ Best Pairing:
Nottingham Cellars & Wild Vine Hideaway Bistro & Lounge

Most Innovative Award:
Cedar Mountain Winery & Porter’s Restaurant at Poppy Ridge Golf Course

People’s Choice Award: Ruby Hill Winery & Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery

Congratulations to the winning wineries.  The awards were truly deserved.

The Taste of Terroir is definitely going to become an annual event for Bryersantís.  Thank you to the Livermore Valley Winegrower’s Association for organizing this event.


Bryersantís Comments:

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