Showing posts with label san antonio winery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label san antonio winery. Show all posts

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wine 101 Tasting Seminar, with a Four Course Meal Attached

Back in July I discovered Los Angeles' last remaining winery, San Antonio Winery in downtown LA. Since they now have a wine tasting seminar series, they invited me to check out the first one, Wine 101.

The tasting seminar involves a 4-course luncheon paired with eight different wines.

The seminar is led by Michael Papalia, their wine Store manager. He first went over the basic steps of wine tasting (the look, swirl, sniff, slurp, etc).
The afternoon started out with a plate of Puma goat cheese, orange and roasted eggplant salad (french vanilla glaze, basil oil and microgreens), paired with Champagne Duval-Leroy Brut, a nice champagne for $30 a bottle.
Nice contrast between the citrus and the creaminess of the eggplant and goat cheese. The cheese was not overwhelming either, but the eggplant was a little cold.

Michael Papalia discuss the different grape varieties out there - from the 24,000 names of varieties to the 5,000 truly distinct varieties, to just 150 grown in commer cial quantities. Out of all these, only 9 are considered classic varieties. Oh, the competition ...

The next course was broiled miso Alaskan black cod on potato and chive pancake with miso glaze.
This was a bit tough, a little overcooked, but it had nice flavors. I also liked the pancake quite a bit but the dish overall lacked texture.
This was "paired" with 3 different whites for our comparison. The first two were the Frog's Leap 2008 Sauvignon Blanc(Napa Valley) and San Simeon 2006 Chardonnay(Monterey), a good pick for a Wine 101 course since the attendees can distinguish between the crispness of the Sauvignon Blanc and the buttery Chardonnay.

The third wine was also informatively different with the Maddalena Vineyard 2008 Riesling, Monterey - this was a sweet, almost dessert-wine-like Riesling which I enjoyed in itself though not so much with the cod. I actually saved half of my glass and had it with my dessert later on (a better pairing, IMHO).

For our main entree: Roasted ancho pepper crusted rack of lamb (roasted wild mushroom risotto, pinot noir coriander sauce)
This was very good, the lamb was very tender if a bit fatty and very flavorful. A great dish, one unexpectedly good considering I was just at a wine tasting seminar at a winery. According to San Antonio Winery's owner, they bring in an outside chefs to prepare the food for these special tasting events and they intend to keep doing so for more improvement and to keep it interesting.

The lamb chop was paired with three reds.
The 2005 Maddalena Merlot is a pretty smooth wine for only $14 a bottle
The 2006 Luigi Bosca Malbec was a table favorite, though I think this wine would be better after aging a little longer. It does, however, pair nicely with the lamb chop.
San Antonio “Cask 520″, Paso Robles. This was a pretty good wine, and definitely one of San Antonio's best wines and a good buy at $28.

For dessert, we had some Island mango mousse with candied macadamia nuts and toasted coconut shavings
It was a simple dessert but I liked it a lot, especially with the nice aroma from the toasted coconuts and the texture of the candid macadamia.
The La Quinta Syrah Port that was paired with the dessert was a bit too syrupy and sweet for my taste and I thought the Riesling from earlier was a better pairing.

Papalia of course explained the process of making port, in particular brandy fortified port. If you're a wine newbie you will definitely learn a lot from this seminar, from the difference in the process between white and red wines, why chardonnay tends to be more buttery, and much more. Did you know that an oak barrel is individually hand crafted and runs about $1000 and can only be used for 2, or at most 3 vintages? Of course, you can then use them to age distilled spirits after, but still now I can understand more why wines can be so expensive.

If you're interested in attending a tasting seminar at San Antonio Winery, here's their list of events.
Upcoming Events:
Wine 102: Exploring California's Grape Growing Regions. Sunday, Feb 21 (1-4 pm).
$55, 4 course luncheon included.
Understanding Bordeaux Varieties. Saturday, March 20 (1-4 pm)
$60, 4 course luncheon included.
"A Day in Tuscany": Italian Wine Tasting. Saturday June 12 (1-4 pm)
$60, 4 course luncheon included.

Boutique Wine Tastings:
Artisan Chocolates & California Reds. Saturday, March 6 (1-3 pm)
$24, light appetizers included
Wine & Cheese Pairing
Saturday, April 10 (1-3 pm)

San Antonio Winery
737 Lamar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90031
(323) 223-1401

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Last Los Angeles Winery and Wines from Down Under

Seven years in Los Angeles and there are still so many things I did not know about this city. Foodblogging has certainly led me to explore much more than I otherwise would, driving all over scouring all the food has to offer. Yet when a press release came about a wine tasting at San Antonio Winery I was definitely surprised. Los Angeles has a winery?

San Antonio Winery is the last remaining winery in Los Angeles, having survived the depression that shuttered many others by selling sacramental wines.

That's not what we were about to have, of course. San Antonio Winery is now back in full business and is known for their dessert wines -- I had a tour of the winery but this post will come later.

I was invited to cover the wine tasting from Down Under. Yep, Australia and New Zealand, paired with a full lunch featuring (naturally) Australian and New Zealand dishes, held at their lovely large tasting room. While following a powerpoint presentation of different regions of Oz and NZ and the wines we were tasting, we started devouring and drinking.

Shrimp off the Barbie with mango pickle
paired with Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2008
For these special events, San Antonio Winery brings in an outside chef named Chef Claud to prepare the food, and I have to say he does a good job. I wasn't sure what to expect food-wise since I was at a winery in downtown LA but the shrimp was the introduction to a great meal.
The shrimp had that nice slightly-charred-barbecue flavor that goes well with the tartness of the mango.

The paired wine was a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough. Marlborough is famous for its Sauvignon Blancs and Kono is a good inexpensive representation of this regional specialty.

Pan Seared Barramundi (Green onion basmati rice, tomato fondue)
paired with D'Arenberg "Hermit Crab" Viognier Marsanne 2008
and Ferngrove Semillion-Sauvignon Blanc 2006
We all loved the barramundi. Apparently barramundi is recently aquafarmed and is considered the most sustainable fish on the planet. That's good to know since it was delicioso. Chef Claud did a great job with the fish. Tender and moist and full of flavor, the well-cooked fish also paired nicely with the tomatoes and the fragrant basmati.

With this dish we saw the difference between tasting wine and pairing wine with food. The "Hermit Crab" Viognier was a wonderful wine that was refreshing and crisp, while by itself the Ferngrove Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc paled in comparison. With the food though, I much preferred the latter.

New Zealand Lamb Chop (Roasted sweet potatoes, stewed eggplant)
paired with D'Arenberg "Laughing Magpie" Shiraz Viognier 2007
and Penley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Another great dish, with a well-cooked and well-seasoned lamb chop. Medium rare all the way through, the way I like it. I didn't think grabbing the bones with my fingers was appropriate for the occasion but I managed to clean it up with my fork and knife.

The second wine was pretty earthy, I didn't like drinking it on its own but it paired well with the lamb.

Australian Cheddar with Sea Biscuit Crackers & Cherries

paired with Ferngrove "Dragon" Shiraz 2005
The pink marbling on the cheese is the result of cranberries. Smooth and mildly sharp, this was one delicious cheese.

The pairing was my favorite wine of the day, the Ferngrove "Dragon" Shiraz.
Fruity and smooth, this was an easily drinkable wine with plenty of flavor.

Lamingtons Cake (Chocolate dipped cake w shredded coconut & Bitter chocolate sauce)
A pound-cake like cake with coconut, dipped in chocolate, and then further dressed in more chocolate sauce. Rich and heavy, but satisfying.

paired with Wyndham Estate "Bin 555" Sparkling Shiraz

This is the second sparkling syrah I've ever had (the first was the Black Chook sparkling syrah) and they are becoming one of my drinks of choice since it is refreshing like champagne or prosecco yet has deeper flavors. It's a nice way to either kick off or end an occasion.

A parting gift from San Antonio Winery - a cap with a clever message.

Next up at San Antonio Winery: "Boutique Beer Tasting and Food Pairing" Aug. 9, "Taste of the Americas" September 20, and "Taste of Italy" October 25. $50 pp.

San Antonio Winery
737 Lamar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90031
(323) 223-1401.

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