Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Perfect Pair: Cakebread Cellars

I recently checked out the Capital Wine Festival at the Fairfax Hotel.  Owner, Dennis Cakebread, hosted an evening featuring a variety of their wines from the Napa Valley.  The evening began with a reception featuring Cakebread's  2010 Chardonnay.  This was Mr. Cakebread's first wine produced and shows a fragrant varietal nose of white fruits and subtle vanilla with toasty nuances highlighting pear, pineapple and melon fruit flavors set in a supple, discreet oak structure.  I'm normally not a Chardonnay fan, but this was good wine.  

The Dish:   Maine Lobster, Pink Grapefruit and Mache Salad
After the Chardonnay reception, we headed into the dining room of 2100 Prime for a fabulous tasting menu.  We began the first course with a Maine Lobster, Pink Grapefruit and Mache Salad paired with 2010 Sauvignon Blanc. 

The Pairing:  Cakebread 2010 Sauvignon Blanc
I liked this wine so much that I brought a bottle home with me after my visit to Napa. This wine has intense citrus fruit aromas with delicate mineral scents, which shows a refined acidity balanced by a crisp texture.

The Dish:  Pan Roasted Cornish Game Hen with Cracked Pepper and Leek Gnocchi
When I saw Cornish hen, I immediately assumed a white pairing, but the reds worked very nicely.

The Pairings:  

2009 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley
This was one of my favorites.  You'll find dense aromas of earthy blackcurrant and black plum.   

2006 Merlot, Napa Valley
This wine has a  pronounced spice-blackberry fragrance with a  full-bodied, velvety palate with flavors of cassis and ripe berries. 
The Dish:  Grilled Petit Filet Mignon with Horseradish Cream, Cabernet Syrup and Whipped Golden Potatoes

The Pairing:  2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
This was another one of my favorite wines of the evening.  It has fruit-forward aromas of black currant, blackberry and boysenberry, joined by seductive chocolate and roast coffee scents.

The Dish:  Warm Acutney Tome Cheese “Soup” with Toasted Walnut Bread Slivers and Zinfandel Poached Dried Figs

I'm a sucker for figs.  This dish won me over because it wasn't too sweet.  It was the perfect and unexpected ending to the meal.  

The Pairing:  2009 Zinfandel, Red Hills Lake County

The sweet black cherry notes paired nicely with the fig in the cheese soup.  

Overall, the Capital Wine Festival is sure to stimulate your taste buds and leave you wanting more.  The good news is that if you missed the Cakebread dinner, you can still check out one of the upcoming wine events at the Capital Wine Festival:

March 7, Cain Vineyard & Winery: Join Chris Howell, winemaker and general manager, as he shares Cain’s blended cabernets from Napa’s glorious Spring Mountain district.

March 14, Chappellet Winery: Second generation co-owner Cyril Chappellet will host this dinner as she explains and tastes the wines with wonderful fruit extraction from a winery devoted to sustainable farming.

March 21, Martinelli Winery: Consulting with legendary winemaker Helen Turley, Martinelli Winery has positioned itself as one of the premier wineries in Sonoma. Regina Martinelli returns, by popular demand, to host this event.
March 28, Cliff Lede Vineyards: A relative newcomer in Napa Valley, Jack Bittner presents an opportunity to sample an assortment of their wines, including the meritage blend, Poetry.

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