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Wine News And Notes

By Steve Palopoli


TWO SILICON VALLEY food and wine talents have joined forces for a dinner event on July 31 at La Hacienda in Los Gatos. Chef Justin Perez of Restaurant O Catering will create a four-course menu paired with a range of wines from Los Gatos' Black Ridge Vineyards. Perez is known for his eclectic use of ingredients and fondness for chocolate, nuts, berries and wild game in the creation of savory dishes. Black Ridge Vineyards produces small lots of estate wines from its 22-acre vineyard overlooking the Lexington Reservoir.

The menu includes:

• 2007 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, paired with cherrywood smoked quail stuffed with figs and Cambazola cheese and a pinot noir glace.

• 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains, served with pan-seared big-eye tuna with truffle sage beurre rouge reduction and huckleberry sauce.

• 2006 San Andreas Red, Santa Cruz Mountains, with grilled filet mignon with pan-seared foie gras and sautéed summer nectarines and fresh currant sauce.

• 2006 Merlot, Santa Cruz Mountains, with chocolate and hazelnut baked Alaska with blackberry and chocolate drizzles.

The dinner starts at 6pm and costs $125. For more information and reservations, contact Jennifer Flippen at 408.354.3131.

Unwined Wine Bar and Shop is hosting two upcoming tasting events worth checking out. July 29 from 6:30 to 8:30pm, Chris Dearden will be pouring wines from Napa Valley's Benessere Vineyards. Dearden is the general manager and winemaker for the winery and specializes in Italian varietals, including sangiovese, sagrantino, trebbiano and muscat di canelli, as well as more familiar varietals, such as zinfandel, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. The event is $30 per person.

Fans of Silver Oak Cellars won't want to miss the release of the 2005 Alexander Valley cabernet sauvignon. A representative of the winery will be pouring the newly available wine Aug. 12 from 6:30 to 8:30pm. The tasting is $25. Unwined is located at 6946 Almaden Expwy., San Jose; 408.323.WINE.

At its most robust, tannat is an acquired taste. As its name suggests, it has an astronomical tannin content that inspires oh-so-delicate wine descriptors like "unapproachable." For years, only time could mellow tannat into something quaffable, and a lot of it, at that. However, micro-oxygenation and other modern winemaking techniques have sped up the process and allowed vintners in Uruguay to put out complex and interesting wines with regularity. Earthy and spicy, tannats are like the pu-erh tea of the wine world—something that adventurous (and sometimes jaded) palettes can recognize as extraordinary.

The showcase of wines from Uruguay runs from 5 to 11pm at Morocco's, with a complimentary nut and cheese sampler as accompaniment.

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