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Fine Wine and Food Pairings at the St. Regis Monarch Beach

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A top notch fine wine and exquisite food pairing was presented by E. & J. Gallo Winery and InformationWeek on September 13, 2009.  The Master of Ceremonies was the charismatic Kent Kushar, E. & J. Gallo Winery VP and CIO, who knows his fine wines and knows how to please a crowd.  This was amongst the most enjoyable pairing menus I've ever attended.  The following is the fantastic wine and food menu presented on that fine evening:

Course One

Roeder Estate, NV-Brut, Anderson Valley

From the makers of "Cristal"! One of the best Bruts made in America.  Combines the opulence of new world fruit with the finesses of French winemaking; a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; oak aged; light gold in color with coppery tinges; beautifully balanced; a creamy mouth feel and a long, elegant finish.

paired with Sesame Seed Crusted Ahi Tuna Medallion, Mango Salsa

Course TwoKent Kushar, E & J Gallo Winery VP and CIO

2006 Rochioli Sauvignon Blanc

Light, bright yellow in color; complex with a round mouth feel, citrus and green apple aromas; hints of tropical fruit, grapefruit, lime, and lemongrass flavors with a flinty mineral characteristic.

paired with Vegetarian Crispy Asian Spring Roll, Mustard Soy Sauce

Course Three

2007 Pahlmayer, Jayson Chardonnay

Yellow-green in color,tastes of melon, citrus, honey, green apples, and a hint of vanilla -- a wonderful finish.

2007 Paul Hobbs, Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Cuvee blend; rich color; concentrated red plum, black cherry, and hints of boysenberry; supple and elegant.

paired with Skewer of Chicken & Prosciutto Saltimbocca

Course Four

2005 Caymus "Special Selection" Cabernet

94 points Robert Parker. Well structured, with a mix of spicy oak, red and black currant, mineral, sage, and dusty berry.  Terrific fruit intensity, chewy texture, consistently one of the best in the world.

paired with Teriyaki Glazed Marinated Beef Skewer

Course FiveSt. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa

2005 Dolce, Late Harvest -- Semillon

Sweetness; like the most sinful dessert in liquid form; a combination of late harvest Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.  Napa's Sauteternes-style dessert wine.

paired with Chocolate Covered Strawberries


While every course was regarded as terrific, the private crowd of thirty guests especially rated the Caymus Cabernet and the Dolce as their favorite.  I suspect that the magic of the chocolate covered strawberries lifted the Dolce to fantasy -- at least, it certainly did for me.  Regarding the Caymus, however, it stood so high on its own.  The pairing was perfect, but I knew the moment I smelled the Cabernet this would be a wine to remember and crave.

This event was sponsored by Dell at the annual InformationWeek 500 Conference, held at the stellar St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa in Dana Point, California.  Having stayed there many times, I highly recommend it as a wonderful, luxurious vacation retreat.


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