With summer, arrives one of my most anticipated food and wine events of the year – Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster Sip and Savor – an Evening Affair Wine Dinner. The first installment of its 2015 wine dinner series featured Kuleto Estate Wines with interactive wine experience led by Tom Carrol of Foley Family Wines and Sommelier Dan Colgan of Christner’s Steakhouse.
A 3-Course Dinner with 6-Wines for $125, (including tax & gratuity) – now that’s a SWEET deal! Armed with a voracious appetite, loose pants, and my Note 4, I anxiously awaited Friday, May 29th.
Our delightful evening commenced with a refreshing glass of Piccini Extra Dry Prosecco. Tom and Dan enlightening us humble folks with their intimate knowledge of Kuleto wines and wine pairings. Paired with delectable bites meticulously selected to match these fine wines, impeccable presentation, and attentive service – it was an evening surrounded with love, laughter, and deliciousness!!
Kuleto Estate is the creation of culinary entrepreneur Pat Kuleto who is responsible for many of the Bay Area’s best-known restaurants (San Francisco’s Boulevard, Farallon, Jardiniere, Water Bar SF, Epic Roasthouse, Napa Valley’s Martini House, etc). So when a guy like this, the man who won 1999 Bon Appetit’s Food and Entertaining Award for Best Designer and is celebrated for some of the best food and wine experiences in renowned culinary cities, decides to create a wine synonymous for food, you know it’s going to be delicious.
Pat’s estate is perched high above Lake Hennessey, between 1125 and 1450 feet, where slow growing vines produce little fruit from thirty-six vineyard blocks with three different exposures planted; his elegant, 761-acre mountainous estate is truly a winemaker’s dream. Winemaker Dave Lattin and vineyard manager Alberto Ochoa individually cultivate and craft the small vineyard blocks at every stage of their development, focusing on lots as small as half a ton, crafting excellent wines of character and distinction that reflect the remarkable attributes of their unique terroir.
Without further adieu, I present to you our enchanting evening….
First Course: Shrimp Scampi and Beefsteak Tomato & Onions paired with 2011 Kuleto Estate Chardonnay. Nothing beats the heat on a warm summer day than a refreshing glass of chilled white wine with a light and succulent dish such as Shrimp Scampi. Kuleto Estate Chardonnay rich and lively textures swimmingly complimented the lightly sauteed shrimp with angel hair pasta and lemon.
The 2011 Kuleto Chardonnay displayed the classic lemon blossom, almond paste, and sweet hay aromas, flavorful without feeling heavy or cloying, juicy and lively without being tart, and it’s long and creamy without any heat of alcohol.
2011 – a not so favorite vintage of many critics. That said, California vintners have mastered their wine-making skills and style successfully. Hence, regardless of the vintage, a good wine maker is almost guaranteed to create a good wine.
Second Course: Filet Trio | Filet Mignon paired with Kuleto Frog Prince, Filet Oscar paired with Kuleto India Ink and Filet with Peppercorn Sauce paired with Kuleto Estate Cabernet. It’s common knowledge that red meat generally pairs best with red wine. And that rule applies even better to steak, whether braised, barbecued, or herb-marinated. So steak and red wine lovers rejoice! Our perfectly cooked three-steaks were paired with three distinctively beautiful Kuleto Estate wines.
Our first tenderloin was paired with 2012 Frog Prince with aromas of cherries, and dried herbs had soft tannins and lingering finish to match the delicacy of the beef tenderloin. Both the fruit and non-fruit components showcased brilliantly, making it a versatile wine for all kinds of food.
Our second steak, Filet Oscar, one of the most delectable way to serve the prince of beef cuts, paired beautifully with the dark beauty India Ink. India Ink, loaded with blue fruits, chocolate, and woodsy aromas, full-bodied, boasting soft tannins; it was an ideal marriage of flavors.
2012 – an ideal season—no frosts, a mild spring and summer, and a tranquil fall. Napa Vinters couldn’t be more elated with nature’s gift, bestowing plenty of high-quality fruit. Cabernet Sauvignon shined brightest, but everything prospered, from Merlot to Zinfandel to Chardonnay.
By now we were showing signs of slowing down. The brilliantly talented Sommelier Dan saved the best for last. Medium-rare steak, cracked black pepper, rich sauce was complimented by the energetic and complex 2010 Kuleto Estate Cabernet. Reminiscent of Old World than New, driven by flavor and acidity, this Estate Cabernet will certainly appeal to those who love to cook, love wine with food, and of course love wine as food!!
Third Course: Chocolate Cake paired with 2011 Kuleto Native Son. Chocolate and red wine, can be a challenging task. But look at this drool-inducing cake, how can one resist it?
At first glance, one can’t help but wonder how to eat this ginormous portion? Based on personal experience – Christner’s freshly made cakes will vanish right before your eyes and you will not care to share this luscious yet light, sublime slice of heaven. Yeah, it’s that GOOD!
The creamy chocolate cake paired wonderfully with the dark jammy fruit flavors and dusty tannins of the Native Son. This was the perfect finale to our extravagant evening.
I can’t wait to see what’s next in line for Christner’s Cutting Board Series. To reserve your name for this limited seating on their lavish wine dinner, contact Christners@Rockawaypr.com.
Mille grazie (thousand thanks) to everyone including Foley Wines, Kuleto, and the entire staff at Christner’s for orchestrating this delightful event. Yes, Christner’s is, incontestably, my favorite steak in town.