Since the Southern Hemisphere vineyards are six months ahead of ours, I have been sampling their whites and roses for a few months now. But I am just getting my first peek at California's offerings. As previously stated, I consider the 2009 vintage to be the best around the world in my recent memory, and so far the 2010s aren't too far behind.
Alas, one negative aspect of the '11 vintage is its small yield, which has, unfortunately, driven up the price on the two prior years to make up for future lost revenue created by the limited 2011 production.
As for the 2011 quality, we will now begin to assess it wine by wine. My first evaluation is of the white I rank as the most food-versatile over 13 vintages, which is the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier blend ($14.95, 12percent alcohol). The newest release continued the positive pasta trend as a bright combo with spinach and cheese raviolis (three for three) and is the second vintage put to the Mexican fare test; shredded-pork soft tacos garnished with tomato, avocado and jack cheese and a refried bean side yielded enthusiastic results. In addition, the pro-Oriental status continued with veggie egg rolls dipped in sweet and sour sauce. The score is 10 for 10 pairings, predominantly with the Chinese cuisine of the old Dynasty restaurant in Pacific Grove, ranging from hot-and-sour soup and pork-fried rice to Kung Pao chicken and Szechwan prawns. As for beef, poultry, seafood and vegetable preps, yes.
Oh, and by
"That was followed by Crab and Artichoke Bake, which had crab, diced artichokes, radishes and grated cheese baked au gratin style. It was served warm with sourdough bread. Another great white wine was presented. Everyone loved the Chenin Blanc-Viognier blend from Pine Ridge as it balanced wonderfully with the crab and artichokes. Chenin Blanc and Viognier, a great food pairing wine combo, worked perfectly once again.
"And as the artichokes just kept coming, along with a spicy apricot and mayonnaise dip as well as Fried Artichoke Hearts in a crispy delicious crust, the Matchbook Dunnigan Hills Tempranillo became the perfect fit. It tasted so good with just the Artichoke Hearts, but when we dipped them into the peppery apricot dip it was even better! That is called using your taste buds all at once."
Thanks for sharing DM. Awesome as usual.