Last night we had the pleasure of going to the Italian-themed Vintage Reserve Club dinner at Chateau Ste. Michelle. I am a newer member of the wine club, and really had no idea what to expect at one of their events. While I was definitely the youngest one in attendance, it was a great experience getting to meet new people and hear their Italian adventures, both wine- and travel-related. Since the theme was Italian, the winery brought in one of their collaborators on one of their cabernets for our main course, Col Solare. This winery is the brainchild of the fabulous Antinori wine family. I am familiar with a few of their wines, like the Tignanello but hadn’t really been exposed to their Washington wines at Col Solare.
Our meal began with appetizers – slices of pizza margherita, grilled crostini with gorgonzola, roasted grapes, pecans and arugula. We sampled their 2009 Luxe Sparkling wine which was a great start to the evening. Following the appetizers we had a wonderful seafood risotto with saffron. This dish had two wine pairings with their 2013 Syrah Rose and their 2012 Ethos Chardonnay. I’m not a big white wine drinker, but did find that one of most interesting facts of the night was that if you under- or over-chill your chardonnay, it will have a bitter, harsh taste to it. If it is perfectly chilled then it should have a smooth, almost caramel flavor to it. You can achieve this by taking it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you are ready to serve. The Chardonnay was fabulous and definitely the favorite out of the two wines. The Rose wasn’t quite strong enough for my liking when it comes to a Rose. The main course that followed was a close-to-perfect homemade lasagna bolognese ala Chef Mario Batali, with sides of Swiss chard sautéed in garlic, and a Caesar salad and warm, fresh focaccia bread. Paired with these were the 2009 Col Solare and the 2011 Artist Series Meritage from Chateau Ste. Michelle. Both were fabulous wines but for me, the Col Solare was the winner. The wine had a bigger, more bold flavor and wasn’t quite as tannic as the Artist Series. It complemented the lasagna perfectly. To finish the night, we were treated to a pear frangipane tart with a creme anglaise and caramel sauce. The tart was paired with their FABULOUS 2006 Eroica Ice Wine. This wine was made in conjunction with the German winemaker Dr. Loosen.
The night as a whole was full of wonderful food, laughter and a consistently full glass (or two) of wine. I look forward to more of these dinners and being able to experience these wonderful food and wine pairings in the future!
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