Monday, October 5, 2009

Mirassou pairing dinner

Last week I was invited to an event hosted by Mirassou winery, which has been around for 150+ years. The event was at Mia Rosa, a restaurant north of The Hill. They traveled around the country, visiting 5 different restaurants to come up with a wine pairing cookbook (some recipes posted online here) and invited various media/bloggers to the events. Evidently my blog and “association” with the St. Louis Wine Club made me a good candidate for an invite; luckily Mr. Lush was able to come as well. The attendance was smaller than I anticipated-only 8 plus the winemaker and marketing person. What else surprised me was that the other attendees were more “foodies” than “winos”. However, I was totally ok with this, because it allowed me to sit directly across from the winemaker, David Mirassou, and I pretty much had him all to myself to ask questions about the wine!

We started off with the Pinot Grigio. Normally I’m not a big fan of Pinot Grigio (or Sauv Blancs), but it wasn’t as acidic as others might be. Then we had the Sauv Blanc, paired with a garlic tomato flatbread. The Sauv Blanc was perfect with the flatbread, but I didn’t love it (or the Pinot Grigio) as much on their own. The wines were fine – although neither were the highly grassy acidic profile I expected, they just aren’t my preferred style of wine. Then we moved on to the Chardonnay with gorgonzola polenta fries. Oh, lovely Chard, it was so welcome after the other two! Now, for my non Chard lovers out there, only about 5-7% of the wine sees oak- the rest is all stainless steel fermented. This leaves a crisper, but still round in body Chardonnay. Its not a butter oak bomb, but it has a nice round mouthfeel. I didn’t love the polenta fries, nor did I love the pairing as much as the other, but I liked the wine a lot.

Then we had probably our favorite course of the evening – a smoked scallop Carpaccio drizzled with basil oil paired with the Pinot Noir. Oh….my…gosh. The dish was so good, the smoked fish went perfect with the Pinot.

We also had a warm beet spinach salad with goat cheese with a Merlot and veal madallions on garlic mash with the Cabernet, finishing off with a chocolate puff with the Reisling. It was a lot of food and a lot of wine!

I’ll leave it up to the “foodies” to really evaluate the food – almost everything paired wonderfully with the wine, but honestly other than the scallops I wasn’t crazy about anything I had and I won’t be rushing back to the restaurant. What about the wine you ask? Well, Mirassou makes their wine to be consistent year after year, so the grapes come from all over the state. The good news is that if you liked it last year, you can feel confident you’ll like this year’s vintage as well. The bad news is while there’s no bad year, there’s no great year either. But, in the spectrum of the wine world, I like to have some stable choices in addition to those stellar vintages, and its not like I have one winery I drink from exclusively, so I think that’s ok. I prefer a bit more oak and body in my Cabernets and Merlots, and the Mirassou ones are a bit soft – he uses almost exclusively not new oak. However, that’s just personal taste – once again the good news is you can buy it today and drink it tonight and not have to lay it down. Mr. Lush and I really liked the Chardonnay and liked the Pinot as well – we were lucky enough to each get a signed bottle of Pinot in our “media kits” and we’ll certainly have to have it with something smoky because it was pretty fruit forward. I also liked the Riesling, and will probably pick that up to pair with something spicy.

All in all, it was a great time and it was wonderful meeting the winemaker:


LucyinStLou said...

Wow Miss Media Mogul! Too bad to hear about Mia Rosa. We were thinking of trying it. A "soft" Cab, eh? Hmm, sounds interesting. Not sure if I'd love it, but I'd like to try it.

WineLush said...

He (David, the winemaker) said he feels that some cabs are too big for a lot of food, often only big rare steak, so he tries to make his wines so they will pair with a variety of dishes. Personally, I like a big cab with a big rare steak, so for me, they were a bit soft. That's me though.