Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival: Day 2, Part II by valleyfog
A selection of some of the nine different wines tasted at the dinner

Sampling the evening's fare.

BOONVILLE, CA — May 16, 2009. After standing and pouring all day and not really having a break to eat any food, I was absolutely ready to have someone else serve me copious amounts of food and wine. Enter the winemaker dinner. The winemaker dinners at the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir festival are great because they are always small scale, there’s a winemaker sitting at every table and you’re usually sitting next to another Pinot Noir nut.

I attended the winemaker dinner at Roederer Estate. In addition to Roederer wines, Handley and Greenwood Ridge were also pouring their wines. Each of the winemakers got up and discussed their wines and the food pairings.  Boonville Hotel Chef Johnny Schmitt catered the event and the food was spectacular. I think the menu, replete with wine pairings, best describes the opulence of the evening:

Hors D’Oeuvres
Smoked Salmon Rolls
Rosemary Cheese Biscuits
Snow Pea and Sweet Onion Soup Shots
With Yerba Santa Goat Cheese, Radicchio and Chives

Roederer Estate 1999 L’Ermitage (Magnum)

First Course
Asparagus Spears, Domestic Proscuitto and Ricotta Salada
With Fresh Mint and Lemon Cream

Handley Cellars 2007 Pinot Gris
Greenwood Ridge Vineyards 2007 Riesling

Main Course
Sliced C.K. Lamb Sirloin with Thyme Jus
Sauteed Fresh Fava Beans
Braised Rainbow Chard
Local Shitake Mushrooms

Roederer Estate 2006 Pinot Noir
Handley Cellars RSM Vineyard 2005 Pinot Noir
Greenwood Ridge Vineyards 2002 Pinot Noir

Palate Cleanser
Roederer Estate Brut Rose MV (1989 cuvee)

Cheese Course
Mt. Tam
Crater Lake Smokey Blue
Bed of Local Greens with Toast Rounds

Local Strawberry’s in a Galette
With Chantilly Cream and Caramel Drizzle

Greenwood Ridge Vineyards 2006 Late Harvest Riesling
Handley Cellars 2007 Late Harvest Riesling

While all the wines were wonderful, there were a couple worth noting. All the Pinot Noirs were great and each displayed different characteristics. The Roederer Pinot had more of a Burgundian feel to it, with earthy and mineral notes. The Handley RSM Pinot, only made in certain years, had a nice combination of dark and red fruits and showed great balance. The ’02 Greenwood Ridge paired really well with the Shitakes in the main course.

The highlight of the evening was the ’89 Brut Rose from Roederer. Winemaker Arnaud Weyrich talked about how sparkling wines gain interesting characteristics with age and are worth exploring over time. The sparkling wine he poured was no longer available, so it was a special treat to try it and see what a 20-year old sparkler would taste like. The nose was full of toasty biscuits and yeasts. The rose color had faded somewhat, as well as the fruit and the bubbles, but it was distinctive and funky. When paired with the cheeses it took on a different quality, the funkiness taking a back seat to the creamy texture of the cheeses and the fruit merging with the aged character of the cheeses.

Evening's end: lots of emptied stemware and full bellies.

Evening's end: emptied stemware and full bellies.

NOTE: To see previous posts on this Festival, click on these links: Day 2, part IDay 1


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