Rodney Strong Vineyards hit Twenty-Five Years, a Silver Anniversary in the wine world. To celebrate, a James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour was hosted in four cities! Here Rodney Strong Vineyards supplied bloggers and amazing home chefs, including myself with cookbooks, bottles of wine, and plenty of incentive to buy amazing food and ingredients to create a one of a kind wine pairing dinner with friends.

IMG_6879      This Somm hosted a dinner with some very interesting, comforting, and fun pairings. To start, I opened up the 2013 Rodney Strong Estate Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is perfect for passed hors d’oeuvres, so Cheeses and Beet Tacos hit the table before the first course. The Roasted Beet and Butter Seared Scallion Wonton Tacos were striking with the fruit forward Sauvignon Blanc. With the first course came the 2012 Chalk Hill Chardonnay. Paired were IMG_7006Baked Saffron and Chorizo Arancini’s over a Smoked Paprika and Bacon Tomato Jam. The smooth and buttery chard complimented the smokiness in the sauce and the rich, bold flavors in the arancini.

IMG_4586The second course, a whole wheat, goat cheese, and spinach pizza was called for with the 2012 Rodney Strong Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Pizza is always a match with Pinot Noir, and can be a fun, social, and easy way to feed a lot of people without spending your entire night in the kitchen plating something delicious.

IMG_7070        Bucatini, Bacon, and Portobello Mushrooms V.S. Pot Roast with slow cooked vegetables were for the third course. Why two? Because this was where two wines were paired with a course… and I could not choose just one pairing. I decided making two very opposite dishes would express different notes in each wine, and we would all be able to join around the dinner table and compare, pair, and have fun analyzing which was the better pairing. The 2011 Rodney Strong IMG_7009Symmetry, Alexander Valley Blend, and the 2010 Rodney Strong Brothers Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, were the two heavy hitters of the night, so they deserved meaty, hearty, and enjoyable dishes. The Symmetry was a success with the Bucatini as the bacon and mushrooms brought out bright, luscious notes in the wine and smoothly, but boldly made this pairing very sexy.

The Pot Roast was comforting and perfect for a California Cabernet. It was a cool night, and pot roast is always a winner at the dinner table, so it was no surprise to some that this was their favorite pairing.

IMG_7050         Dessert: the grand finale. The 2008 Rodney Strong “A True Gentleman’s Port” hit the table. Paired: a White Wine and Licorice Poached Pear, layered with Grilling Cheese, Candied Pancetta, and Citrus Falksalt. This dessert was creamy, sweet, and salty, which was perfect with this True Gentleman’s Port.

Thank you to Rodney Strong Vineyards for one incredible evening of food, wine, and friends. There will be more to come, as you know this Somm certainly had some other daring pairings on the menu, which I will share with you happily this fall! I don’t like to give away all my surprises and secrets in just one feature…

    Always remember, eat what you like and drink what you love, and please pair responsibly.