Sunday, September 26, 2010

Martinelli Moves to New Jersey! O.k., not really, but for one night, I can pretend....

Earlier this week I attended a wine pairing dinner featuring wines from Martinelli, a boutique Sonoma winery. I had been looking forward to this dinner because it was to take place at CulinAriane, one of my favorite restaurants in town. As some of my foodie friends might know, the head chef and owner of CulinAriane, Ariane Duarte, was a contestant on Season 5 of Top Chef. I'm completely biased, but I still believe she should have won!

As always, her food did not disappoint, and neither did the wine. Without going through the wine line-up and menu because it will just make me sad that I can't eat like that every night (for both my wallet and wasitline), I'll highlight my favorite pairings.

The pairing that made the dinner for me was the 2008 Vellutini Ranch Zinfandel served with seared Australian venison in a savory cherry sauce. I do not eat venison often because it can be very gamey and though I like this note in wine, I don't like gamey tasting meat. However, this venison tasted like lean, succulent beef that was perfectly cooked and sauced. The notes in the cherry sauce worked perfectly with the blackberry notes and spice in the Zinfandel. The wine was silky and smooth and the full body of the wine was an excellent complement the heft of the meat.

I didn't think I could fit any more wine, let alone food, in my system, but I soldiered on. I recognize the sacrifice it takes to deliver a good entry to you! I paced myself through the cheese course (paired with a syrah) because two of my favorite things were on the menu for dessert.

Dessert consisted of the 2008 Jackass Hill Muscat Alexandria served with a nectarine tarte tatin. The tarte was excellent, but I could barely manage a few bites. The muscat, with its honeysuckle and fleshy stone fruit notes was the prefect complement to the dessert but it was also easy to sip on its own. After the dinner, I ordered a few bottles and I'm looking forward to sharing this muscat with friends.

This was the first pairing dinner Martinelli has done in the tri-state area. If you should get the opportunity to attend a Martinelli pairing dinner and/or see a bottle of theirs on the shelf, grab it. You will not be disappointed.

Until the next sniff, sip, quaff or tasting dinner,

Alli M.

1 comment:

elliej said...

Glad you had such a lovely meal -- Every dish and drink sounded yummy.