Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A bad day at the beach is better than a good day at work

You've heard the saying before and nothing could be more true, especially if food and wine are involved! Another Women's Wine Dinner on a Tuesday night with torrential rains did not keep more than 100 lovely ladies from crossing the bridge to Bayfront Bistro on Fort Myers Beach for an evening of food, wine, charity and networking! We began the evening with passed appetizers of Bruscetta, chicken Satay, crab cakes and Shramsberg Brut Rose. Seafood was the highlight of the night with the next course being a seared scallop topped with Boursin cheese, Truffled tomato and Montrachet cream sauce. I wanted to lick my plate! It was paired with a Swanson Pinot Grigio full of honey and pear. If you think Pinot Grigio's are on the wimpy side, you haven't tried this one!!

Next was a mixed green salad with roasted roma tomatoes that I could've had entire plate of on their own! The main course was a Poached Triple Tail with a mandarin buerre blanc. The Axis Sauvignon Blanc cut right through that rich sauce with grassy, citrus!

Dessert was a tropical foster mousse served with a Taylor Fladgate First Estate Port. I found some frozen berries in my mousse but the roasted pineapple and creme anglaise made me forget about all my problems.

We kept hoping for a break in the clouds to see the nearly full moon rise over the back bay. No such luck. The setting, the chef, the food and the wine make Bayfront Bisto one of, if not THE BEST places for fine dining on Fort Myers Beach!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Argentina's Flagships

When I think of Argentina I think of Malbec first then Buenos Aires! Malbec is a wonderful grape that is best described as being somewhere between a Cabernet and Merlot as far as taste. I just tried an '08 from Jelu Estates and it was full of black plums and spice. It filled the glass with a beautiful, deep purple color and was moderately tannic. For only $16 it gives a lot of bang for the buck!
Another grape synonymous with Argentina is Torrontes. It has become one of my favorites over the last several years. It's a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc, a little smoother. The '09 Jelu has won some awards and there is good reason why. The nose is full of honey; the pallet is bright with white peach, lychee and slight acidity. It's another bargain at only $16!

Not only does Jelu Estates make amazing juice but also the owners are environmentally conscious. The wines are all organically grown and winery has gone "green"! No pesticides huh? I think I'll have another glass!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mi Sueno

I got to drink a bottle of Pinot Noir last night from a little winery in Napa that has a story as big as the flavors in the bottle: a 2007 Mi Sueno Pinot Noir from Russian River. The wine is earthy and full of red fruits. As it opens there is a nice balance of fruit, tannins and oak.

Mi Sueno means my dream in Spanish. Rolando Herrera came to California from Mexico as a boy. His family was searching for a better life. As a teenager Herrera washed dishes at the famed Auberge du Soleil, worked as a “cellar rat” at Stag’s Leap and from there spent the next 20 years learning the ins and outs of the wine business before becoming his own boss. Herrera now owns Mi Sueno and even purchased the winery’s bottling equipment with cash! Talk about a dream! His wines have also been served multiple times at the White House!

Herrera’s wines aren’t always easy to find but they are worth the hunt!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Austria meets California

Last night I went to a wine tasting at a coffee shop! If you didn't know, Bennett's Fresh Roast in downtown Fort Myers also has a nice selection of beer and wine and occasionally hosts wine events that attract the "see and be seen" crowd. The summer wine soiree featured vintners from Spain, Chile and of course California. One in particular that stood out was a Darcie Kent Gruner Veltiner, Rava Black Jack.

The Gruner Veltiner grape comes from Austria and Darcie Kent claims to be one of the few if not the only winery to grow it in California. The nose was full of lime, the palate was full of minerals and fruit. The two things I pictured drinking this wine with were ceviche and a dessert with white chocolate and keylime! It is definitely food friendly and retails for about $18!

Bennett has never been one to let his guest go hungry so he delighted us throughout the night with cured meats, hummus, impeccable cheese trays and of course his signature donuts!

He rolled out miniature versions of his homemade, hand-cut treats then made sure they were perfectly frosted with chocolate. The wine was great but this is what the crowd had been waiting for! Right out of the fryer and into our mouths! You MUST try these donuts! And while you're there see if Bennett has a bottle of the Domaine Napa Cabernet or the Montgras Carmenere. The chocolate donuts were great with both wines. Yes I had two, they were small!!!