I’ve had the idea to do this blog for a while, and have been writing comments on the monthly wine dinners to friends, or sending emails to colleagues about a wine I tried. So, here are some past comments to get us started on this journey together.
In April, our local steakhouse hosted its monthly wine dinner, and my monthly date night. The chef (Randy) is a character, but he makes, according to my husband, a “damn fine steak.” He does a pretty good job at matching the food and wine.
For those of you unfamiliar with Stags’ Leap, it’s in Napa Valley, California. A friend suggested this post for more information on the Cabernet Sauvignon.
Stags Leap, Chardonnay
This was paired with “Randy’s Hors D’oevres.” In other words, whatever he felt like making to keep diners occupied while the kitchen gets going and we wait for those individuals who don’t understand the concept of arriving to dinner late is not fashionable.
The starters are always interesting. Tonight was something akin to spanakopita – phyllo dough with a comforting filling of spinach and cheese. There was a wrap made with phyllo dough, ham and pickles. My personal favorite was the grilled steak and onions with cheese on toasted French bread.
Honestly, the wine was forgettable. Which is sad to say about a wine that scored a 92 (Wine Enthusiast) and is priced at a Thursday price point (~$30/bottle).
Stags Leap, Sauvignon Blanc
Sadly, the Creole Corn & Crab Bisque was more memorable than this wine. Again, a sad commentary on a wine that, depending on the year of vintages, scores between 86 and 91, firmly putting it in the Wednesday and later days of the week category.
However, this is a solid sauvignon that makes a good gift. Drinkable, pairs with spicy food, so will go equally as well with the grilled salmon and quinoa being served on Tuesday night.
Stags Leap, Petite Sirah, 2018
This was paired with the braised short rib with polenta. The picture does not do it, or the wine, justice. Truthfully, this was my favorite of the night.
Imagine my surprise when I went to buy a bottle to discover it was in the Saturday night range (~$125), and I thought it was just a good solid Thursday night wine. I considered it for a dinner party, but while the 94 score from Wine Enthusiast meant it was sure to impress my friends, the cost was above their palette. But this is an excellent date night wine if you want to impress. Or a great dinner for two at home for a special occasion like birthday, Valentine’s, or job promotion. It’s definitely one that if I see it on “special” at the liquor store, I’m grabbing a bottle or two.
Stags Leap, Cabernet Sauvignon
This was paired with my personal favorite from the normal restaurant menu (in other words, not just made for this wine dinner), the Blackberry Filet with Sweet Potatoes and Asparagus. Truthfully, I enjoyed the Petite Sirah more with the filet than the cab, but I have to be in the mood for cabs. The cab scores really high in the number ranking, but for me, I’d put it at a Tuesday. It’s good and a solid cab. Could serve it for a Holiday Dinner, if you want to impress the in-laws. Would make a great gift for someone you really liked (at ~$125/bottle).
Sometimes the wine dinner has a dessert wine, and sometimes it’s just a spirit. Technically the Penfolds Club, Tawny Port is in the wine category, but it’s not from the Stags Leap vineyard. But it always goes well with the Bread Pudding with Jack Daniels Sauce & Ice Cream. There’s always enough Jack Daniels in the pudding and the sauce if you really need it. I don’t advise it for breakfast unless you’re working from home. Normally, this comes in a nice au gratin dish, but I’m guessing this was easier for the kitchen (which was short staffed that night).
I probably had more commentary on the wine during the dinner, when my husband could hear me. The entire restaurant was packed with more than 100 people at the dinner. Normal dinners average between 30 and 50. And who knows where I put my notes. Needless to say, while Stags Leap has the name and is an impressive winery – now knowing the prices, the gifts we received of it won’t be drunk on Tuesday like they were before. I hold on to them for at least a Thursday.