Tasting & Book Signing for Wine Writer Alice Feiring’s “Naked Wine”
I was Alice Feiring‘s new book, Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally, at The Bazaar in Beverly Hills, I was IN! Here’s a recap of the evening’s highlights:, so when they invited me in to blog about a dinner and wine event honoring wine writer
6:45pm. I arrive a few minutes early and am graciously escorted to the Bar to wait as the event is set to start at 7pm.
6:50pm. Bartender Conor O’Brien treats me to one of the most popular cocktails there from “Jose’s Staff Libation Selections” – The Grape Tour (a fresh grape drink topped with a tempranillo red wine float). Due to chemistry, the red wine portion always remained floating on top … lovely!
6:52pm. I’m served their Tuna Ceviche Avocado Roll with jicama, cilantro and coconut dressing. Delicious!
6:55pm. Next came Japanese Tacos with BBQ eel wrapped in cucumber. Conor said that these may be the best “single bite” items served at the restaurant – I can see why.
Wow, I’ve only been at The Bazaar for what, 15 minutes, and am already in love …
7:00pm. I’m escorted to the patio area for the beginning of the actual dinner event which featured five wines from Alice’s new book paired with five courses.
Alice is a renowned authority on the subject of natural wine. She encapsulates her approach best herself on her website (BTW affirming my belief that fine food and wine go hand in hand with great art, literature, poetry and music):
I’m hunting the Leon Trotskys, the Philip Roths, the Chaucers and the Edith Whartons of the wine world. I want them natural and most of all, I want them to speak the truth even if we argue. With this messiah thing going on, I’m trying to swell the ranks of those who crave the differences in each vintage, celebrate nuance and desire wines that make them think, laugh, and feel.
7:10pm. On the patio, they serve “Andrea Calek ‘Blonde'” (a 70/30 mix of Sparkling Chardonnay and Viognier). It was a nice way to ease into things … especially when served with hors d’oeuvres including American Caviar Cones with Cauliflower Creme Fraiche shown below (please note my iPhone didn’t get a good shot but I adored the cone so much I had to show it anyway):
The Cali Cone startled me, in a good way, with its spicy tomato and guacamole (a DeathbedFood in my book) …
8pm. We move into the Chef’s Tasting Room where I’m seated next to wine writer Patrick Comiskey (who writes for LA Times’ Daily Dish, among others) – a real treat. When it comes to wine, I know enough to be dangerous so I always enjoy being around wine people who really know their stuff! After I told Patrick that I’m a huge Chateauneuf du Pape and Rhone fan, he mentioned that I’d probably enjoy the Hospice du Rhone (HdR) festival that occurs every year in Paso Robles. This year (April 26-28, 2012) will be their twentieth anniversary for the event so I’m sure it will be extra special. A weekend for all things Rhone? Count me in!
Our first course was Jamon and Heirloom Melon served with 2000 Vina Tondonia Rosado from the Rioja region of Spain (one of my favorite wine regions in the world).
Next, we moved on to Eel Rice, a risotto-like mixture of uni, strawberries and black garlic. DeathbedFood Alert: This dish was beyond dreamy – definitely my favorite dish of the evening!
It was served with a 2010 Mendall “l’abuerador” Macabeu wine – a cloudy, unfiltered wine which Maxwell, the Wine Steward, told us was “fussy”. While not comparable to any other wine I’ve had, it paired extremely well with the food as it notably came to life when they were enjoyed together.
The next course was Seared Squid which just may have been the best squid I’ve ever had: a seared, sweet, savory squid bomb for sure! This was paired with 2009 Foradori “Fontanasanta” nosiola wine which set off the squid explosion …
Next up: Seared Strauss Veal Loin paired with my favorite wine of the evening, a Cabernet Franc (2009 Venier “Le Gautrie”).
And, finally, we wrapped up with a dessert of Apples “Carlota” (bread pudding, milk sorbet and saffron) paired with 2009 Donati Camillo Malvasia Frizzante Naturale Secco.
11:00pm. Time flies when you’re enjoying delicious food and wine with great company. So, let’s see, first ketchup then Naked Wine … hmm, can’t wait to see what my next chapter may be in the world of Chef Jose Andres.