Tasting my way through California definitely opened my eyes to a world of wine that isn’t making its way to the LCBO. Beautiful Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and elegant Zinfandel all very reasonably priced. As I said in a tweet halfway through the dinner there is always room in my glass for Californian chardonnay. The dinner was hosted at the Evergreen Brickworks with the idea of sustainability being the recurring theme of the meal.
Bonterra is located in Mendocino County. Even being in the Northern part of California the vineyards haven’t been immune from the effects of the drought. When I visited wineries in Napa/Sonoma the wineries were concerned about the drought but not alarmed. The quality of the fruit coming off the vines is very high, but the dry weather is causing the amount of fruit to drop off dramatically. When I spoke with Dave Koball, vineyard manager for Bonterra he said there is no mistake to be made California needs to get some rain.
The meal was prepared at Cafe Belong by Chef Brad Long. The four courses were all crafted to match perfectly with the wines.
Course 1 – 2013 Bonterra Chardonnay – Vintages 342436 – $19.95 – Duo of Grilled and Ceviche Shrimp with Squid Ink Aioli, Pickled Ramp Beurrse Blanc, Pickled Shaved Celery, Chorizo Oil and Bacon Lardon – This was a perfect match of texture with the Aioli and Chorizo Oil you had an oily texture on your palate which matched perfect with the texture of the Bonterra Chardonnay. The wine itself is already very well balanced with nice acidity on the finish. With this food the wine is stripped back to it’s wonderful fruit flavours of Pineapple, and Orange.
Course 2 – 2013 Bonterra Viognier – Vintages 128900 – $19.95 – Aromatic Red Curry Halibut, Zucchini “Pasta”, Turmeric Oil, Pickled Apple – Curry is always a bit of a challenge for me. The go-to right now for Curry and Spicy Asian cuisine is Gewurztraminer. I am here to tell you there are many more options than Gew. This Viognier was bright and crisp with great acidity that helped cut through the curry with nice orange flavours.
Course 3 – 2013 Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon – Vintages 342428 – $19.95 – Caribou Ragu and Northern Woods Mushrooms with Black Garlic Spaetzle – This wine is terrific value. Full bodied with lots of heavy currant, blackberry, dark plum and smokey flavours. This isn’t a California Cab that you’re going to want to age, but some wines are meant to be enjoyed immediately. This made a perfect mate to the red meat on the plate and I am looking forward to cooking with this wine in my own stews and sauces over the winter.