Food Wine & Friends Page 281
Kareasa and Ralph moved to Sacramento, some 120 miles from
Burlingame (and about the same distance from their old 'digs' in
They're in a nice little complex and we took a bit of extra time to go test my
allergies to wines from Lodi, California on the way.
I'm still "testing positive" for this Lodi allergy with the exception
of the Klinker Brick wines.
We motored up to Sac-town, stopped at Corti Brothers grocery
store...poked around and saw some interesting comestibles and a selection of
interesting wines, some very obscure and arousing curiosity, others being fairly
We then drove to Chateau UnaWilkins and Ralph met us in the parking lot...
Kareasa was in the kitchen, cooking up a storm.
The table was set.
And there was a menu posted.
We had found a bottle of Dick Peterson's sparkling wine in the 'fridge at Corti
Two kinds of pÔtÚ, some lovely Prosciutto and a spicy salame.
This is made from an odd clone of Pinot Noir that Peterson brought back from
England...the vineyard is south of Yountville and he makes less than 500 cases
Though they claim it's matured 7 years on the spent yeast, we did not find it
particularly toasty or yeasty in the manner of typical sparkling wine from
France's Champagne region.
Perfectly pleasant, though, but not terribly complex in my opinion.
Ralph then opened the 2004 Pol Roger.
Ralph has deftly mastered the "doing a Bob," a presentation technique
performed at every event our dear late friend Bob Gorman employed to show off
wine and food.
This Champagne was nicely toasty and yeasty...more complex than the
Richard Grant sparkler...
Ralph and Mark had stepped out to use the community barbecue and came back with
some nicely grilled radicchio.
We had two Alto Adige Sauvignon Blanc wines to compare and contrast.
One was the Quarz bottling from the Terlan winery. This was nicely herbal
and faintly grassy.
The Colterenzio winery's Lafoa bottling was a stronger, more herbal,
"green" sort of Sauvignon.
Both were from the 2013 vintage and both worked nicely with the dish.
The radicchio had a slightly bitter point and the dressing was a touch sweet
and, of course, nicely sour, but not too overwhelming. The wines both held
up their end of the bargain.
We hoisted a glass to the Chef and her husband...
A pasta course was next...Kareasa had been searching for Saffron Pasta and I was
able to find an artisan pasta-maker in the Sacramento area. They finally
were able to connect and Kareasa got some fresh Pappardelle, saffron infused,
Kareasa had made a special sauce of Wild Boar...Cinghiale, as
they say in Italy.
And we had decanted two bottles of Barolo that Kareasa had stashed some years
Elio Grasso's 2004 Barolo from their Gavarini Chiniera parcel in Monforte was
showing beautifully...I had tasted a couple of 2004s in Piemonte this year and
was a bit disturbed to find the wines were tasting somewhat mature.
And I'd read a comment someplace indicating this, as well.
But I suspect I'd tasted some bottles in restaurants in the Langhe which did not
have the best storage conditions.
Kareasa's bottles were very good and both wines were still young and at a point
of development one might expect from a good vintage and top producers.
There was a dusty note to both wines and each still had a modest tannic
"bite" to them.
The Vietti Castiglione is a blend of several vineyards and it was just as good
as the Grasso single-vineyard wine.
The Saffron pasta was excellent and cooked al dente. The wild boar sugo
was flavorful and nicely intense, yet you could still get a sniff and a taste of
the seasoning in the pasta.
What a great dish! What a terrific pairing of wines and food!!
Kareasa passed around a bit of Parmigiano and a grater...
Kareasa went back to the kitchen to deal with the next
course...a veal roast.
We then opened some bottles of the Alto Adige white wines
requested by Kareasa to pair with the veal roast.
Pacher Hof is a small winery in the environs of Bolzano and they seem to be the
top dog if you're looking for a white wine made of the somewhat obscure Kerner
I'd scouted a bunch of Sudtirol producers at VinItaly and Pacher Hof's Kerner
was my pick. They have a new importer this year, but the wine remains
solid. Very fruity and flowery, but not as "fine" or complex as
Riesling. It's a lovely sort of picnic white, though.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen...
The potatoes were roasted in Duck Fat...and you can see that Veal Roast is some
sort of "soul" food.
The sauce is based on Vin Santo with shallots and fennel.
Back at the table, we had opened some other bottles...
The Terlan Vorberg is a benchmark bottling of "Riserva" level Pinot
Bianco. We had nicely aged bottles...very fine.
This is a young wine, from the 2012 vintage. It's bright and appley, but
perhaps four or five years away from being something really special.
Our bottle of Nova Domus, a blend based on Pinot Bianco with about 30%
Chardonnay and 10% Sauvignon, was corked.
We had a back up bottle, though.
This is from the Valtellina and it's a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Incrocio
Manzoni and Nebbiolo that's vinified as a white wine.
Quite good, too.
Damn! I didn't get a good snapshot of the main plate as we were so busy
Veal roast...potatoes...Brussels Sprouts...
Dessert was exceptional...we started with a sip of Mette's Gingerbread
eau-de-vie, a souvenir from Kareasa and Ralph's honeymoon tour in Europe.
The Apple-Cinnamon "Crumble" Pie was off the charts!
I made a batch of Cinnamon/Vanilla Gelato to pair with the pie...not bad.
It was a nice line-up and many hours of vittles & vino...
This was followed by some card game...They grew weary of me beating them every
game of Cards Against Humanity, so they changed up and had some game called
They did not fare any better, however, much to Connie's chagrin.
We took off for a snooze in a nearby hotel and the following morning we drove to
the Sierra Foothills for a little tour of some wineries...
Many thanks to everyone for such a magnificent get-away!
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