Monday, June 23, 2008


Tonight, the Sommelier Guild of Atlanta will hold its monthly Wine Tasting event. This one’s at Paul’s Restaurant in Peachtree Hills and will be a tribute to the late, great Robert Mondavi, one of those individuals whose life work put California on the Vintners’ List of Respectability and brought worldwide recognition to Napa Valley wines. Among other things, Mondavi championed varietal labeling of California wines; this has now become the industry standard.

Rather than adopt my usual fake-whiny “Oh, how we’ll have to suffer through this excruciating experience” tone, I’ll just say it straight out: The Guild’s dinners and tastings are ridiculously enjoyable. What’s not to love about fine wine, especially when complemented by excellent food and fascinating conversation? [Until I get going, whereupon the Vile Doggerel appears, sending everyone running for the hills.]

Here’s tonight’s menu and wine offerings. Houston Steve should be there to enjoy ’em with me; with any luck, Denny will be there too.

Speaker’s wine
A surprise wine, a light white with a strong connection to Robert Mondavi’s career

First flight
Stag’s Leap District Sauvignon Blanc 2003
To Kalon Vineyard Fumé Blanc Reserve 2005
Chardonnay Reserve 2005

Coriander crusted sea scallop, pecorino risotto cake, lobster emulsion

Second flight
Merlot 1997
Cabernet Sauvignon 1994
Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1994
Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2005

Forest mushroom tarte, sweet garlic cream, mâche lettuce

Third flight
Seña 2000
Luce 2001
Opus One 2000

Bistro filet mignon, Lump crab Imperial,
Yukon Gold potato confit, summer squash ragout

Moscato d’Oro 2006

White & dark chocolate mousse, red berries, passion fruit syrup

It all sounds wonderful. I’m especially excited about the chance to enjoy the Opus One, one of the most desirable California wines, produced under the auspices of a joint venture between Robert Mondavi and Baroness Philippine de Rothschild.

We’ll let you know how it all turns out.

Update: No Denny, alas...but an excellent tasting. Not a dud in the lot. Even the “surprise” speaker’s wine - a 2007 Woodbridge sauvignon blanc, $6.99 retail - wasn’t half bad.

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