Last night we enjoyed our umpteenth World Tour of Wines dinner at Coronado Center (note to self: figure out how many there have been, when they’ve been held, and the country/region featured). The organizers strayed from the country theme this time, moving back to the USA with a meal and wines featuring the California North Coast. With a few detours. Late next month, the theme will be California Sierra Foot Hills, with wines provided by Langman Estate Winery. My favorite wife and I tasted some Langman Estate Wines when the husband and wife owners, who live in Arkansas but run the California winery, offered tastings at a couple of local liquor stores/wine shops. Good stuff, but priced beyond our comfort zone (described in vague terms a little further down in this post).
Our reserved table, plus some additional guests to fill in the empty seats, enjoyed the following:
- An aperitif of Kir (comprising seven parts of Meimoi Chardonnay–not North Coast…the wine is produce in Acampo, south, southeast of Sacramento–and one part Chambord). I took a sip and gave my wife the remainder. I am decidedly not a fan of Chambord; it ruined what was otherwise a perfectly decent chardonnay.
- Three Pears Pinot Grigio from Mason Cellars, served with a crab and shrimp appetizer.
- Rodney Strong Rosé of Pinot Noir, served alongside the second course of avocado garden salad.
- Joel Gott Pinot Noir, with the main course of applewood smoked salmon filet and hericot vert.
- Simi Cabernet Sauvigonon, served with the lemon cake dessert.
I liked the Rosé of Pinot Noir and the Cabernet Sauvignon quite a lot, but not enough to buy a bottle at $20 and $26.50, respectively. My buying behavior when it comes to wines is dictated, in large part, by price. My palate cannot sufficiently discriminate between a $12 bottle and a $36 bottle of wine to warrant the additional expense of the “better” wine. In reality, the more expensive bottle is not necessarily better. More likely, the more expensive bottle was simply more expensive to produce (for reasons outside the boundaries of my knowledge) and ship.
The appeal of these wine dinners is not the food (which, frankly, is reliably mediocre) nor the wine (though we’re drawn by wines of the world). We continue to attend because we enjoy the company of the people at our table and the repartee with the staff who talk about the wines and engage us (my wife and me and our table mates) in friendly conversation. The only times I encounter most of our table mates are in conjunction with these events. My wife sees one or two of the others more frequently when she’s out and about, but I see them rarely. The exceptions are, with respect to last night’s group, our next door neighbors and my wife’s sister, none of whom are regulars at these events. Circumstances just played out in our favor last night that they were able to join our large table of twelve. I’ll backtrack a little. The “regulars” at our table have taken to holding wine tastings at our respective homes on occasion; so far, there have been two and the group has committed to continuing them. We’ll see. My wife and I hosted the first one and a brother and sister who regularly participate hosted the second. Both events were, in my opinion, great fun. I’m drifting off topic again, am I not? Why, yes, I am. Back on track, please!
Despite the modest disappointments with the food service, we like these events and we learn from them. I am sure the people responsible for wine and food selections do some research to determine which regional foods pair well with specific regional wines. I’m not inclined to do a lot of research on such matters, but I appreciate others who do. I learn from them and I probably log the information away in my head. It comes up later when I plan dinner and wine pairings. Well, I think it does. I never really think about it, but I suspect my history of learning such stuff comes back to serve me later when I need it.
In an ideal world, the person(s) reading this blog would decide to join my wife and me one day for a world tour of wines, right here in our house. I leave it to you, the reader(s), to offer up a time frame for such an event so we can begin planning accordingly. Prost! Cheers! À votre santé! ¡Salud! Saluti! Skål! Na zdravie! Kanpai!