Our first wine was the 2009 Stuhlmuller Estate Chardonnay Alexander Valley. Stuhlmuller Vineyards is located at the southern edge of the Alexander Valley, just north of the Russian River Valley appellation. The 150-acre estate vineyard borders the Russian River and has a predominance of alluvial gravel-type soils as well as some rocky soils in the hillside sections of the vineyard. The wine was fermented with 100% indigenous yeasts. Aging occurred in both barrels (94%) and larger casks (6%), all of which were French oak (8% new). 85% of the wine underwent indigenous malolactic fermentation.
The wine had a bright nose of citrus and stone fruit. On the palate, it was crisp, elegant with a distinct mineral quality. The wine worked really well with the various hors d'oeuvres as well as with our first course, the crisp Tempura Tiger Prawns served over a bed of spring mix salad.
Tempura Tiger Prawn Salad
There was a second Chardonnay for the remaining courses, the 2009 Crossbarn Chardonnay Sonoma Coast. Crossbarn is winemaker Paul Hobbs' second label. The wine was produced from selected vineyards within the Sonoma Coast appellation. 60% of the wine was fermented in tank, 40% in oak barrels using native and commercial yeasts. It was aged five months in French oak barrels where it underwent malolactic fermentation.
The wine had a nose of spiced apple and pear. On the palate, it was quite full and nutty with a creamy texture. Quite a typical California Chardonnay and a good accompaniment to the moist and flaky Baked Honey Glazed Soy Sea Bass.
Baked Honey Glazed Soy Sea Bass
Our red wine was the 2008 Chappellet Mountain Cuvée. The Chappellet Winery is located in Napa Valley, in the eastern hills between Yountville and St. Helena. It has been producing wines since 1967 and was one of the first wineries to be established in the Napa Valley after Prohibition. Mountain Cuvée is a winemaker's blend of Bordeaux varietals made for early consumption. It is 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Malbec.
The wine had a nose of dark fruit and coffee. On the palate, it was medium to full-bodied, with a round mouthfeel and a well balanced finish. It was very food friendly and worked particularly well with the Skaking Filet Mignon, cubes of filet mignon sautéed with lemongrass, onions, and garlic.
Skaking Filet Mignon
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