Friday, September 10, 2010

A Graceful Gathering: La Fenetre Wine Tasting with Chef Neal Fraser

La Fenêtre Wines was started by former sommelier Joshua Klapper, who had previously worked as Wine Director at David Myers' Sona and earned it the Wine Spectator Grand Award (we're all very sorry to see Sona shuttered). With Burgundy wines as his inspiration, Klapper strives to make food friendly wines that are affordable.

In celebration of their fifth vintage, La Fenêtre held a tasting of all their 2008 releases (and some more) at LearnAboutWine's Loft218.
We were greeted with a glass of the 2008 Santa Barbara County Rosé (their anniversary Rosé)
... while LearnAboutWine's Ian Blackburn plays DJ for the day.

The wines were accompanied by small bites prepared by Chef Neal Fraser of Grace and BLD Restaurant.

The first couple bites accompanied the rose and the white wines:
Chilean Shellfish Ceviche (left)

Crab Salad, lemon vinaigrette, mint:

We tasted a lot of wine (thank goodness for the spit bucket). Since I'm no wine connoisseur and your taste preferences may differ from mine, I'll direct you instead to their official tasting notes here. We started with four Chardonnays:

  • 2008 À Côté, Santa Barbara County ($25). Crisp and clean, this was a very smooth wine with only a slight acidity at the end. It paired very well with the caviar blini as it brought the flavors together and balanced the caviar.
Salmon Tartare, chive blini, American caviar

  • 2008 La Fenêtre, Los Alamos (Santa Barbara County). More acidic than the previous. I had this with the Bay Scallops, peas, aged goat cheese, risotto - a great dish and its creaminess cuts the acidity of the wine nicely.
  • 2008 La Fenêtre, Sierra Madre (Santa Maria Valley). Sweeter than the Los Alamos.
  • 2008 La Fenêtre, Bien Nacido (Santa Maria Valley)

We also had the chance to taste the 2004 Bien Nacido Chardonnay (his first vintage). This was easily my favorite Chardonnay of the night: smooth but with much more depth. The new releases should be heading this way too in a few years and it will be well worth the wait.

Moving on to the reds and the red meat dishes, we began with a tasting of the Pinot Noirs:

  • 2008 À Côté, Central Coast ($25). Smooth and subtle, light fruit flavors.
  • 2008 La Fenêtre, Los Alamos ($36)
  • 2008 La Fenêtre, Sierra Madre ($49). This had more body than the previous two.
  • 2008 La Fenêtre, Le Bon Climat ($54). My favorite of the pinot noirs. Smoother, less acidic than the others. The body is still pretty light, naturally, as it's a pinot.

Squab Crostini, liver mousse, rare breast, confit leg, crostini

Grilled NY Steak, farro, red wine gelee
The red wine gelee was a great complement.
  • 2007 La Fenêtre, Alisos ($35). Heavier-bodied than the pinot noir, naturally. A bit tannic.
  • 2008 La Fenêtre, Sierra Madre ($35). Lighter bodied and more tannic than the 2007 Alisos.
  • 2006 Tête Brûlée, Mt Veeder ($60). This is the only wine he makes with a partner (and his only Napa wine).

We also got to taste the Timeless Palate Wines 2004 Syrah, another of Josh's first releases.
The syrah was smooth and surprisingly fruity when compared to the newer releases. It was the fruitiest of his wines yet.

You can now order La Fenêtre wines online and if you order by September 30, get 15% off with code: FALL2010LF.

Full Disclosure: I attended this event as a guest of Joshua Klapper of La Fenêtre Wines. FYI though I did end up buying two bottles of wine for myself so you can see that I liked it!



wow, that's a perfect medium rare on the squab. The prices are per bottle, not glass?


Yep, they are prices per bottle, retail (before the discount)

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