January Wine Dinner at Randy’s

I’m behind in writing up the January wine dinner at Randy’s Steakhouse, which we attended with some friends. None of us had tried Screen Door Cellars and Ammunition, both from Daylight Wine and Spirits (more). It was great having a rep from the winery as my notes are full of more detail than normal.


Randy’s Hors D’oeuvres

2020 Screen Door Cellars, Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, California

This had a buttery, spicey scent but was acidic on the first taste. Since we didn’t know what it was yet, one of the party guessed Sauvignon Blanc. With the lemon scent I can see it.

The rep said the scent should be lemon and green apple with some apricot. I can see it. And it went well with the spicy cheese, which brought out the lemon and smoothed out the acid. It really brought out the spice of the jalapeño and made the basil spicier. And it was good with the empanada.

My notes say this is from a single vineyard – and spent 11 months aging in 1/3 concrete egg, 1/3 neutral French Oak and 1/3 in new French Barrels. I have a quote down the side of my page that says “This is what Chardonnay is supposed to taste like.” Not sure I agree, but I do agree with the rep that it is very food friendly. It’s a solid Tuesday.

First Course

Gourmet Mushroom Risotto

2022 Ammunition, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, California

This smelled like berries and chocolate. But the scent was bigger than the taste – so a bit of a disappointment. There’s a bit of a bubble gum scent to it – and the scent of French toast. A friend described it as “ripe & juicy.” The balsamic on the risotto brought out the sweet saltiness of the wine. And while the taste didn’t live up to the scent, it was still a good sweet berry flavor with a spiciness to the finish. A solid Wednesday night wine – leaning to Thursday even.

The notes from the rep say this spent 11 months in oak and half the grapes are from Carneros (San Giacomo Vineyards I believe) and the other half from Dawn Ranch in the Russian River Valley.

Second Course

Authentic Carne Asada + Street Tacos

2020 Ammunition, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Coast, California

I was looking forward to this one, and the blueberry scent was promising, but the mixed berry flavor was dry-ish and it fell flat for several of us at the table. We agreed it wasn’t the best pairing.

One friend put it best when she said “Not Memorable.” Agreed, it’s a background wine (more on that in an upcoming post). There’s a yeast scent to it – and it has “jaminess” on the front end of tasting, but tannins on the back end.

The rep noted that it spent 11 months in oak and the fruit was from the Alexander Valley Dry Creek area. And it’s not a true cab – it has a percentage of Petite Verdot to it. I also noted that it’s a Gold Winner at the Houston Rodeo – but actually it won Reserve Class Champion – Gold at 2024’s Rodeo Uncorked. 


Chili-Rubbed Ribeye Steak with Maple-Bourbon Butter Recipe, Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar & Honey

2021 Screen Door, Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, California

The glass closes to the plate is the Screen Door Pinot Noir. This pinot had baking spices and French toast on the scent. It also had an odd scent that none of us could place. It wasn’t unpleasant – just odd. Very berry flavor with a spicy finish that went really well with the sweet potatoes.

It had deeper flavor than the first pinot noir (and a deeper color – see below). It’s a solid Wednesday.

This wine is aged at 45% French oak and 55% in Neutral French Oak and aged for 11 months for each. I have a note that says quote “thinking man’s pinot” and “absolute gem” but I’m not sure to whom I should attribute them – I think it was the rep.


Bourbon Pecan Pie with Cinnamon Ice Cream

Randy’s Perfect Ammunition Old Fashioned

I love a good old fashioned – but before wine, not after. Especially since Ammunition Bourbon Whiskey is greater than 90 proof and has been aged in cabernet barrels. It was good and smooth and went well with dessert.

Final Thoughts

This was the first time our friends had been to a wine dinner at Randy’s and I’m pleased it was a good one and they had a good time.

The rep insisted on getting more of the first pinot noir (Screen Door) and the Cabernet for me to try with the entree. I wasn’t going to argue – it made for a nice picture above. And it meant I had some to try with the pecan pie. The Cabernet went better with the steak and I would have put the Screen Door Pinot Noir with the street tacos (personally).

Overall, I liked the Ammunition Pinot Noir best, despite starting out with mixed feelings about it. I think it was because its typical Pinot Noir. Now that said, I wouldn’t turn down of any of the wines if someone was offering.

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