Monday, February 23, 2009

The Table - Tasting Like It Ought To Be

On February 28, 2009, The Table debuts in the Steven Kent Barrel Room. Created to shine a spotlight on Library selection and small-lot offerings, The Table is the next step in the evolution of world-class wines and wine presentation.

Available on weekends by reservation only, up to six guests at a time will enjoy a one-hour guided tour of four spectacular wines paired specifically with artisanal cheeses and charcuterie.

Just a few openings remain for our first weekend. Please call Tracey Morretta at 925-243-6448 or to reserve your place.

The menu for February 28-March 31 is below.


Wines and cheeses are arranged in suggested order & pairing. Please feel free to mix and match to come up with your own pairings.

2000 Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley
This wine yields up base aromas of cassis, bittersweet chocolate, and the dark stone fruits, and top notes of toasty oak, tobacco, and newly-turned earth. The wine has a seductive unctuousness in the mouth and balancing acidity that carries the multiple flavors throughout the extremely long finish.

Black Diamond Cheddar- Canada
Rich, full flavor and a pleasant sharpness developed through careful and natural aging by one of Canada's most acclaimed cheese producers. This cheese is aged two years.


2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley
The wine is inky purple, very opaque with bright edge. Aromatically, this Cabernet exhibits aspects ranging from cassis, tobacco and sweet oak to bittersweet chocolate, mint, and freshly-tuned earth. While heady now, time will only serve to open aromas up and frame the brazen force of youth. In the mouth, the wine is highly tannic and profoundly rich. Flavors of dark fruits and oak greet one up-front and persist on a long finish

Cave Aged Gruyere-Switzerland
Aged in natural caves where the air and natural bacteria endow the cheese with deep complexity, this cheese matures for at least a year. This cheese is smooth in texture and has rich, beefy flavors that are tempered by hints of apples and pears.


2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley
For centuries, the Bordelais have used Petit Verdot in the blend to provide their wines with darker color and mor tannin. This wine is a perfect demonstration of how well the two varieties work together. This vintage is prfoundly dark purple with a core verging on the black. In the nose, one detects intense aromas of black plum and cassis fruit, underpinned by a layer of non-fruit aromatics: pencil shavings, wetted earth, creme brulee oakiness, dark chocolate, and subtle lavender perfume.

Chatelain Camembert-France
Camembert is an AOC (or name-protected) cow's milk cheese from the Normandy region in northern France. It has a soft, white, bloomy rind; luxurios ivory paste; and buttery, grassy flavor. The taste of a ripe Camembert is reminiscent of wild mushrooms.


2006 Premiere Cabernet Collection Cabernet Sauvignon, Clone 30, Ghielmetti Vineyard, Livermore Valley
The Premier Cabernet Collection represents the pinnacle of our 100% Cabernet winemaking each vintage. Meant to show the excellence of the Livermor Valley The 2-3 best barrels of a larger lot were choosen for this wine. Clone 30 is also called "See" clone, named for Harry See of (See's Candy family), sourced from his Napa Valley vineyard. Bottled without filtration or fining.

Ader Kase Reserve Blue- Seymour Dairy, Wisconsin
A higher fat blue that brings back memories of great blues from Germany such aas Cambozola and Montagnolo. Boasting a melt in your mouth texture with hints of earthy mushroom flavors, this is definitely not your average blue cheese.

Bresaola, Salumeria Biellese
Want something leaner or just a little break from pork? Then Salumeria Biellese's Bresaola is the thing. Humanely raised beef is rubbed with salt and spices and dry cured to a shockingly red finish. The flavor is incredibly delicate, with strong notes of clove, and get this, a floral finish. It amy sound weird for meat but it's elegant and smooth AND a perfect accompaniment to Cabernet.

Norman Love - Cru Sauvage Chocolate - Cocoa Mass: 68% Origin: Bolivia
The world's first chocolate made from beans harvested from wild cacao trees growing in the beni region of northeastern Bolivia. This harmonious chocolate possesses fresh lemon and grapefruit notes, an intense dried plum bouquet, and an exquisite hint of vanilla.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sometimes the Claims are True

When I started back in the business in 1996, I though I knew what I was doing (so wrong!) and thought I had the "magic bullets" figured out.

A wine glass that make your wine taste better...? and even more...a different shaped glass for each major variety? Come on..."I was born at night..." etc. All it took was one taste from a Riedel glass and we switched all of the old glasses out of the tasting room. We've been using Riedel exclusively since 1999.

In the next few weeks you'll see major changes in Steven Kent (more on that later!) including an upgrade to the Riedel Vinum Extreme glass pictured on the far right above. With its huge bowl this glass allows our Cabernets to taste more "open" at a younger age and showcases the structure of the wines much more dramatically than the smaller Ouverture glass did.

Though not a cheap proposition, providing our guests with a great glass to taste out of can only improve the wine drinking experience.

After all, if the experience and the wines aren't extraordinary, what's the sense in doing it?