Darren Delmore, the wine specialist from Tablas Creek joined executive chef Laura Crucet and guests at the Pig + Fig Cafe for a five-course gourmet meal on Thursday, September 28th.
Each course was created to compliment the Tablas Creek Wines.
The first course was “Tuna Salad” pan seared albacore tuna, hard boiled quail egg, grapefruit aioli, piquillo peppers, cornichons paired with the 2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Vermentino. The second plate was the “Yardbird Gumbo” smoked ostrich, duck sausage, dark roux, veal stock, blackberry maque choux paired with the 2014 Tablas Creek Vineyard Mourvedre. The third plate was “Pork + Beans” braised wild boar shortribs, flageolet beans, roasted fennel paired with the 2014 Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit de Tablas Rouge. The fourth plate was “Yogurt Parfait” fromage frais, citrus poached bosc pear, candied pecans paired with the 2014 Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit de Tablas Blanc. The fifth plate was “Chocolate Cake” flourless chocolate torte, mint chocolate ganache, fig and raisin compote paired with the 2014 Tablas Creek Vin de Paille Sacrerouge.
During the dinner Delmore explained some of the qualities that make Tablas Creek special. The chalky clay soils and its climate similar to the Rhone Valley in France. The Tablas Creek winemakers have imported their vines directly from France to grow them in their organic estate vineyard located on a 1600-foot elevation site in the Paso Robles Wine Country in California.
Crucet honored special requests from her guests and staff
This wine dinner happened to fall on Phyllis Smith’s birthday, and so she asked Laura if she would serve the Vermentino. Phyllis has served over 100 wine dinners for the Pig + Fig and has tasted many outstanding wines, and yet she chose the Vermentino. The grapes for the Vermentino originally came from the Rhone Valley, and the wine has a crisp lemony finish.
Tom Hill, one of the behind the scenes masterminds of the wine dinners, has requested ostrich, and tonight got his wish. Smoked ostrich was included in the Yardbird Gumbo, paired with the Mourvedre.
According to Delmore, the word “Mourvedre” means “dog strangler”. (No dogs were harmed in the making of this wine!) and “Vin de Paille” means wine of straw. To make this wine 1 ton of Mourvedre grapes are placed on a bed of straw and allowed to dehydrate for two weeks. By the end, the fruit weighs only a half-ton and has a higher sugar concentration. It is then foot stomped and turned into wine.
After dessert (the name “chocolate cake” does not begin to do it justice) two more wines were served. The 2014 Tannat and the 2015 Terret Noir, which is made from grapes that are nearly extinct.
The Pig + Fig Cafe occasionally hosts dinners to honor outstanding wine and beer makers. Sometimes these events raise money for local non-profits. The best way to secure reservations to these events is to sign up for their newsletter at www.pigandfigcafe.com.