The Central Coast Wine Classic held August 10-14 featured 19 different events throughout a 5 day period. It all began in the Paso Robles/ San Luis Obispo area and migrated down the coast to eventually end up in Santa Barbara for the last 2 ½ days.
On the 2nd day, among other events, the highlight was a black tie dinner at Hearst Castle. We had done a few of these in the past and they were over the top special. It has always featured world class chefs and wines and once you add in the magnificent ambience of the Castle and ocean and local hillside views at sunset, it`s simply magical.
To accommodate most of the attendees, shuttle buses depart and return to two main hotel sites in Shell Beach and Avila Beach.
We began with a champagne reception where magnums of Roederer Estate Brut were presented by the charming Xavier Barlier, Marketing Director of Maisons Marques & Domaines.
Our 5 course dinner was prepared by heralded chefs, Michael Hutchings, James Sly and James Siao, all hailing from the Santa Barbara area, French born and currently in Pasadena, chef Laurent Quinaux and Parisian renown chef and now located in LA, Christophe Eme. The wines came from some of the top vintners mostly from the Central Coast. A couple of us took some wines to compliment those wines and add to our and our tablemates delight.
The menu and accompanying wines:
2016 Dinner at Hearst Castel Chef Team
Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut
Chef Michael Hutchings
A terrine of Maine lobster, lobster scented mayonnaise, pickled sea asparagus
2015 Spottswoode Napa County & Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc
Chef Christophe Eme
Pacific sea bass, chorizo, preserved lemon, chipotle, crayfish nage, zucchini flowers compote, epazote
2009 Au Bon Climat Talley Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley Chardonnay
Chef Laurent Quinaux
Seared supreme of squab leg confit in pasta shell, English pea coulis with summer savory, radish rose, sweet pea, grilled pearl onions
2011 Wedell Cellars Fiddlestix Vineyard “The Barn Find” Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Chef Christophe Eme
Braised beef short rib, “daube” style with California olives, grist and toll creamy polenta, salers cheese
2014 Mollydooker Velvet Glove McLaren Vale Shiraz
2013 Hearst Ranch Winery “Barbicoa” Estate Paso Robles Malbec
Chef James Siao
Chocolate mousse, toasted marshmallow, pistachio crumble, caramelized figs
Notes on a few of the wines:
NV ROEDERER ESTATE BRUT- magnums; this has been a consistently good sparkler and along with the Brut Rose, has been one of our house bubbly choices over the past few years; the Brut has been especially delightful recently and it was represented well by the pours we generously received on this night; it had good acidity, nice citrus flavors, a pleasant mousse and a good palate cleansing prep for all to come.
2005 ROEDERDER CRISTAL BLANC de BLANC- I took this to share and “balance out” the NV Brut sparkling wine to give the French impression vs. the California one; it was superb albeit in such a youthful state; in perfect balance, it had amazing aromatics with enticing spicy oak, toasty citrus and apple which continued on and was joined by fresh, honeyed ripe stone fruit in the taste profile; it was class and elegance and at this point, serves well to hold off on the great 02` and 04` versions which need much more time to evolve; 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay.
2012 CLENDENEN FAMILY VINEYARDS MESA VERDE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC- I was shocked to find such a great SB in my glass while I was sharing the Cristal with another table; this was very atypical having a slight toasty character to compliment the smoky lemon, pear and melon flavors; loved it.
2015 SPOTTSWOODE NAPA COUNTY & SONOMA COUNTY SAUVIGNON BLANC- 54% VS. 46%; nice acidity, exotic tropical fruit with good minerality along with a taste of melon and apricot served up in a creamy texture; very nice SB.
2001 AU BON CLIMAT TALLEY RINCON & ROSEMARY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR- magnum; absolutely fabulous Pinot showing so well out of a large bottle format and exuding still youthful qualities starting with the bright dark red color; the nose had wonderful spicy red cherry with a trailing strawberry note and the taste had more of the same along with some red raspberry; it had a great silky texture and held on the palate to complete the experience.
2014 MOLLYDOOKER VELVET GLOVE McLAREN VALE SHIRAZ- with nice people Sparky Marquis and his son Luke in attendance, this wine showed quite well albeit in its infancy; it gave a hint as to what to expect in more evolved years which translates into about 20+ years from now; with a deep dark inky purple color, it had some blueberry, plum, violets and bacon flavors in the nose and more in the taste profile joined by some vanilla, oak and blackberry; it was, in fact, velvety, as it certainly was teeth staining, dental cleaning required inky; it had substantial depth and complexity along with power and yet some finesse.
Many more wines were poured and tasted. It was a grand evening with many old friendships re-connected and many new friendships established. Many of the folks here were also at some of the other forthcoming events that I/we attended and more good times were shared.