Last Sunday the PHWM crew gathered at Sal and EV’s house for a highly anticipated staff dinner for a night of great food, amazing wines and some much needed bonding. Since we are in the hospitality business the holidays parties must wait til we have recovered from the year end- so yes, Holiday party in March.
The night started off with some hors d’oeuvres prepared by Alice consisting of her very own pesto, homemade mousse, proscuitto wrapped melon all designed to pair with Gran Familia Spanish Cava and Godme Pere & Fils Brut NV Reserve Champagne. Alice and Chris bonded over their latest iPad purchases through video chatting with each other (yes, while they were sitting in the same room). It was all very nerdy – adequate preparation for the wines we were about to geek out on in a few minutes.
We all gathered outside for a candlelit dinner prepared by EV – what a treat we were in for! Dinner began with beet carpaccio with chanterelles and chives paired with the ’06 Hollywood & Vine 2480 Chardonnay (creamy, rich, opulent mouthfeel). Next scallops on a bed of spinach and arugula alongside ’06 Bruno Colin Chassagne- Montrachet (good balance between fruit and acid). Napa vs. White Burgundy comparison was quite a treat. Chris entertained the crowd with his tales of abalone fishing (he also once killed a lion just for looking at him the wrong way) and what it was like growing up in wine country in a town so small it is devoid of stop lights.
The next course consisted of bourbon braised pork belly with caramelized onions which paired perfectly with a ’05 Soter Mineral Springs Pinot Noir and ’08 Kosta Browne Russian River Pinot Noir. Both were spectacular, and it was a deep debate on who was the winner of the Pinot Noir comparison. We woke our palates up with a raspberry sorbet intermezzo and then dove into the final savory dish of braised short ribs on a bed of celery root and potato puree.
Sal pulled out of his personal wine storage a ’97 Grigh Hills Cabernet (soft, light fruit, earthy, fair structure) and a ’00 Bordeaux (surprisingly youthful with solid structure) which was one of his first bordeaux purchases. We also opened up the ’97 Adelaida Cabernet which was good, but was just a little past its prime. So to make up for it we opened the ’07 Carter Cellars Hossfield Red Blend (Merlot, Cab, Petit Verdot and Malbec) which was rich and full bodied- just what we were looking for to end the evening.
The buttermilk panna cotta with raspberries and blueberries was a terrific way to finish off the meal at which point we migrated inside to continue hanging out and of course, drink more wine. EV opened up the ’06 Denner Vineyards Zinfandel (boysenberry, anise, luscious with a rich mid-palate) while we entertained ourselves of talks of young love and bright futures. It was a great night, one to be savored just like the food and wine we had the pleasure of enjoying.