A Winemaker's Dinner with Vanessa Wong of Peay Vineyards

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 10:01AM
off the vine

Bacar in San Francisco The concept is sound: A vintner brings a selection of current releases and possibly a few library wines and the hosting restaurant’s chef prepares a multi-course dinner to show off the cuisine that pairs well with the wines.

On this occasion, the wine was from Peay and their amazing winemaker Vanessa Wong. Vanessa (Lafite Rothschild, Domaine Jean Gros, Peter Michael), along with co-owner Andy Peay, brought six wines for this event which was held at Bacar in San Francisco. The dinner was the first in a year- long celebration honoring Women in Wine and put together by Bacar’s wine director Haley Guild.

Andy, Vanesa & NickMissing in action was Vanessa’s husband Nick, Andy’s brother. And, as we learned over dinner, they first met while attending UC Davis as they worked toward degrees in Viticulture and Enology.

We started off the evening with several very well prepared
amuse-bouche. A flavorful duck liver mousse, topped with preserved kumquat and hazelnut, was served on toast points. I also loved the risotto balls, lightly deep fried. These were served with the dry, crisp, superb 2007 Peay Viognier. This is a well integrated wine done with restraint and balance. A very small production makes this one hard to find in the marketplace.

the yellowtailNext up was yellowtail grilled over mesquite and a white bean salad done with a
Harrisa-based vinaigrette dressing—sort of like the Tunisian style dish made traditionally with tuna and citrus. The idea was to use the spiciness of the Harrisa to pick up the spice from the 2007 Chardonnay. Not a bad pairing, however, the Chardonnay, made in a wonderful food-friendly style, outshined the food here. Pure, clean, and backed by a mouth watering streak of minerality made this my top pick of the evening.

roasted squabThe main course was an oven roasted squab done with a Michigan cherry chutney and paired with two of the best Pinot Noir’s made on the Sonoma Coast. Both are from the 2006 vintage—we tried the Pomarium and
Scallop Shelf. The first was a touch more fruit-forward and very aromatic; the second was a bit more earthy and paired best with the squab.

Two Syrah’s followed, wines that perhaps Peay is best known for, La Burma and Les Titians. Syrah is hard to grow along the Sonoma Coast but the result is outstanding. Great depth, grip and intensity. Well paired with a deconstructed lamb dish (loin, a pulled sautéed round and sausage).

We finished with a standout pinenut tart served with an olive oil ice cream, preserved lemon and honey mint drizzle. Life is good. Bravo!

 Bacar is located in San Francisco’s SOMA district. Known for its outstanding wine program and stylish contemporary Northern California cuisine.

448 Brannan St (between 4th St & Ritch St)
San Francisco, CA
(415) 904-4100

 Peay Vineyards is planted on 50 acres in a somewhat remote area just north of Point Reyes. The production facility is in Cloverdale. Tours by appointment only. Visit Peay Online - JAS

Article originally appeared on off the vine magazine (http://offthevinemagazine.com/).
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