Last night about 50 lucky diners were treated to a gourmet feast at the Tolosa Winemaker Dinner at Fab’s in Sherman Oaks, created by guest chef Rico Mandel. Fab’s is the neighborhood restaurant frequented by my “wineaux” friends for dinner and our monthly wine tastings. And while there were many more guests at this event, it still felt comfortable and intimate as friends and family of Chef Rico gathered to begin the feast.
After a glass of perfectly chilled Proseco at the bar, we took our seats, and our gracious hostess, Amelia Yokel, promptly poured us a glass of Tolosa 2009 Oaked Chardonnay. The “oohs” and “aahs” were immediately audible as the amuse bouche was set before us as well. The roasted peach slices with fresh fig, pancetta lardons and treviso was a work of art and a fantastic combination of textures and flavors.
The next course reflected the bounty of the summer season combining lobster, heirloom tomato and watermelon slices with dill, hazelnuts and a drizzle of truffle oil. This course was paired with Tolosa 2010 No Oak Chardonnay, and each served to elevate the other.
After Amelia poured our first red of the evening, the Tolosa 2009 Pinot Noir, our first entreé arrived. Prosciutto wrapped chicken roulade stuffed with sundried tomatoes and greens, with asparagus and sage cream sauce. Have you ever seen a table full of adults pick up their plates and lick them clean? Well somehow we managed to maintain some level of decorum, but that sauce was “crazy delicious”!
As we recovered from this buttery indulgence, Amelia came by with the first of two Syrahs we would be enjoying with the meat course, Tolosa 2009 Syrah. Winemaker, Larry Brooks, explained to us that the fruit for this wine and the second Syrah, 2007 “1772” Reserve Syrah, are from the same vineyard, but some vintages produce fruit that is so special it winds up in the “1772”. Indeed I did prefer the raisin-y, earthier flavors of the “1772” with the venison chop with baby artichoke hearts, chanterelles, summer squash and Hibiscus sauce, but both syrahs were lovely.
Dessert, poached apricots, ricotta mousse and chocolate dipped almond florentine topped with blackberry syrah sauce (yum) was paired with an equally (yum) dessert wine, Tolosa’s 2009 Legacy Sweet Viognier.
Ahhhhhh……delicious wine…..savory food…..laughter…..good friends…..and all on a Wednesday! I’ll Drink to That!