A local favorite restaurant of ours hosts a Wednesday Wine and Dine. The menu is composed around a winery's or regions' wines that the organizer can procure. Tonight was our second time at Wine and Dine, and while the first one was certainly tasty and memorable, tonight's was truly delicious. Props to Scalo Northern Italian Grill for a delicious menu and excellent pairing of wines to the food. And, props to Esser Vineyards for enabling the provision of wines from the SW distributor. Esser is based in Napa Valley, but all the wine selections for this evening were from their Monterrey vineyards ( I think I have this correctly -- the grapes are most definitely from Monterrey).
The soup was a delicious savory and spicy Cold Tomato and Cucumber Gaspacho that included sweet peppers and fresh herbs. It was most favorably paired with a 2010 Sauvignon Blanc that complemented the soup while also tasting refreshing on its own. Before the soup was served, the citrus and floral notes were enjoyable. But the melon notes did not come out, for me, until after a taste of the soup. Smooth but not cloying.
The salad was a deceptively simple chopped salad of romaine, yellow and red peppers with slivers of red onion, dressed with a roasted pepper vinaigrette. Our whole table raved about the vinaigrette and I plan to grill the staff later this week on how it was done. The wine paired with the salad was a 2010 Chardonnay. Smooth but not cloying, only spending 6-8 months in oak, this was bright and fresh. I could taste the citrus as well as some tropical fruit flavors but it was not sweet at all. Delicious by itself and with the salad.
The entree was a NY Strip portion served with Gorgonzola mashed potatoes and grilled zucchini in a savory mushroom sauce. The original plan was to serve this with a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, but the restaurant and the wine representative decided to change the wine to a 2009 Merlot and that was a most successful change. Smooth and leathery on its own, the wine melded with the flavors of the entree with ease. Each bite of steak, potatoes, or grilled zucchini with the mushroom sauce were enhanced and respected (if that's possible) by the Merlot.
Finally, a 2009 Pino Noir accompanied a raspberry sorbet decorated with mint slivers. A delicious combination and a very tasty wine on its own, with cherry, tobacco, and oak flavors. The sweet-tart of the dessert complimented the wine and the wine was not overcome by the sorbet.
Amazingly, Scalo manages to offer these Wednesday Wine and Dines for $22.50 (before tax and gratuity). This is a bargain in delicious eats and impressive wines. See their website for information on future Wednesday Wine and Dines.