Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Epicurean Bistro spotlights 'upstart' California winery

LATHAM -- It was nearly 40 years ago that the California vineyard Chateau Montelena surprised the world of wine aficionados by upsetting some of the best of the then-iconic French wines in a blind taste test.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, October 15, the Epicurean Bistro & Wine Bar will hold a four-course winemaker's dinner pairing Chateau Montelena wines with food from owner-chef Claire Pogue. Abel Gonzales, French portfolio manager of VTS Wines, will host the event.

The 1976 California-France faceoff became known as the "Judgment of Paris," propelling American wines to a much higher consumer level than they had reached until that point.

As noted on the website Calwines, "A tasting panel of eight French men and one French woman was assembled to judge the competition. Six California Cabernet Sauvignons were pitted against four of the top red wines from Bordeaux and six California Chardonnays competed against four highly regarded whites from Burgundy ... . As the tasting began, people who witnessed the competition realized that something was amiss as the judges couldn’t tell which wines were from California. One judge noted, 'That is definitely California. It has no nose.' " However, in reality, "He was speaking of the 1973 Batard Montrachet which at the time was regarded as one of the finest wines in the world. "

Reservations for the dinner, priced at $80 per person, may be made by calling 786-8272. Seating is limited. The Epicurean is located in the north end of the Latham Farms shopping complex.

The menu:

FIRST COURSE
Velouté de Fenouil, Huîtres Saffranées 
Velvety fennel soup, oysters poached in saffron-apple cider infused cream
Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Napa Valley 2011

SECOND COURSE
Tarte flambée aux champignons sauvages & romarin 
Wild mushroom tart with goat cheese, wild mushrooms and fresh rosemary
Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga 2012

THIRD COURSE
Filet mignon, chou braisé & demi-glace 
Grain crusted filet mignon of Australian grass fed beef, red cabbage braised in raspberry lambic beer, demi-glace sauce
Chateau Montelena Zinfandel Calistoga The Montelena Estate 2012

FOURTH COURSE
Tarte Alsacienne à la mode 
Warm Alsatian apple pie à la mode
Chateau Montelena Riesling Potter Valley 2014

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