Paired wine dinners have become very popular over the last few years. Generally, there are…
It’s really nice to know important people! Then you get invited to really great events! We were very excited to get an invitation to join my friend for a wine dinner at the Ledges featuring wines from the Wagner family.
If you think you aren’t familiar with the Wagner family – you are probably wrong. The family has been in the Napa wine business for 100 years, starting just before prohibition. The current patriarch of the family – Chuck Wagner – was 19 when he and his parents founded Caymus Vineyards in 1972. Today, Chuck and three children run a variety of wine labels in the Wagner Family of Wines. We had the opportunity to try many, many of them during the dinner. Son Joe started focusing on Pinot Noir wines and runs the Bell Glos brand. Son Charlie had focused on Chardonnay (Mer Soleil) but introduced the Conundrum Red Blend 10 years ago. The last family member to join the business is daughter Jenny who founded the Emmolo brand producing Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. As a note, Jenny married Eddie Clark of Amizetta (See the post on our Amizetta wine dinner.)
Fortunately or unfortunately, many of the wines we had are not available and several folks went to great lengths to make sure we had them to enjoy for this evening! When we arrived, we tasted 4 different wines during the “Reception” time. We started with the Bell Glos Rose. Next was the Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay. Next was the Conundrum wines – both White and Red. I’ve had the White Conundrum many times and have enjoyed that wine at the house. This was the first opportunity to taste the Conundrum Red. As a blend, I really enjoyed this wine. It was a great way to start the evening.
After the reception, we were seated to being the five course meal with paired wines. The first course was Tuna Carpaccio, Marinated Melon, Miso and Toasted Hazelnut. We were served the 2013 Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc with the tuna. I enjoy very good tuna – and this was VERY good tuna.
Next up was Poached Lobster, Bruleed Foie Gras, Five Spice Blackberries and Watercress. The served my favorite Belle Glos Pinot Noir – the Clark and Telephone (2013 vintage). It is a single vineyard Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Valley. What else can I say about lobster and foie gras?
Next up was a grilled duck breast with heirloom polenta and cherries. This was served with the 2011 Emmolo Merlot. I had never tried that Merlot, but Lori loved it and I’m sure we will end up getting this one in the future. I love duck and this Merlot was a perfect pairing.
If that wasn’t enough, next up was an Oven Roasted Ribeye, Bone Marrow, Smoked Potato, Black Garlic Vinaigrette and a herb salad. This course was served with the most well known wine from Caymus – the Napa Valley Cabernet. The one we had was a very special release – the 2012 40th Anniversary Napa Valley Cabernet. This is an absolutely awesome wine showing why Napa Valley Cabernets have such a following. The roasted ribeye was basically a fabulous prime rib. Even with as much food as we have had so far, I was a member of the “Clean Plate Club” the entire evening.
Dessert was an interesting selection of Ginger Cheesecake, Carrot Sorbet and Raisin Chutney. As far as wines, they save the best to last – 2009 Caymus Special Selection. In fact – this one was the most difficult to procure and they managed to get the Wagner family to provide this from the Caymus wine cellar specifically for our dinner that evening. All I can say about this wine was “WOW” – it is an amazing wine to finish the evening. Now, the dessert was an interesting combination and I will say that the ginger cheesecake with the raisin chutney was absolutely fantastic. The carrot sorbet was interesting, but my least favorite food we were served for the evening.
Overall – the food was simply amazing. Every time I have the opportunity to attend a dinner at the Ledges it is always spot on and fantastic. This one was no different. Since we aren’t members, I look forward to the invitation to join for these special events.