Last evening, my husband and I attended a wine dinner held at the Hyatt in Long Beach, which featured the wines of the Australian producer Angove's. The event was lovely, well attended (over 100 people), and I had a very nice time.
The best part was seeing people from around Long Beach and Signal Hill that I knew in the business, and meeting more people in the business. For example, I saw Dave and Louise from Delius Restaurant (where just 2 weeks ago I hosted a wine dinner along with Argentine importer Mendoza Wines), Gregg from Southern Hemisphere (an online retailer of exclusively southern hemisphere wines), Chris and Stacey from Trinchero Wines (the importer/distributor of Angoves, who invited us to the dinner), Mosha from Estates Group/Youngs (our rep), and Mary from Casa Vino (the owner of Casa Vino wine bar.) After saying hi to these people I know, I met the chef Randy and manager/wine buyer Ryan for new Long Beach restaurant Tracht's, two very nice folks, as well as the Angove's winery representative Matt, who hails from Adelaide.
That already was worth the price of admission, seeing and being seen by the who's who of the Long Beach wine scene! (at least in my mind!)
The wines showed well. There were four. For the reception, they poured 2006 Angove's Nine Vines Viognier, and later, they paired this same wine with a three-cheese fondue served with mini-skewers of mini potatoes, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and bread cubes. This was a cute course. The second course was scallop topped with blood orange slices and a bit of sauce, paired with 2005 Angove's Limestone Coast Vineyard Select Chardonnay. This Chardonnay was excellent, and I don't even like 95% of Chardonnay. At a retail price of $15.99, this is an appealing wine and would be great for Chardonnay lovers and also people who are ambivalent about this variety. I think it would have gone exceedly well with scallops sauteed just in butter and without all the fruit sauce and topping - my pet peeve is fruit on savory food especially when having it with the wine. Leave off the fruit - the wine is already fruit!
The main course was a choice between a filet mignon wrapped in a boar bacon or rack of lamb. I chose rack of lamb, and to be honest this rack did not measure up to my rack of lamb which I make at home! A bit of modesty there for you! Not! The wine with this was 2005 Angove's McLaren Vale Vineyard Select Shiraz, which was very, very nice, elegant for a wine from Australia, not overdone at all, which is consistent with my previous experience with this wine.
There was also 2005 Angove's Coonawarra Vineyard Select Cabernet Sauvignon being poured after the Shiraz, but for some reason, I didn't get any, as I was probably at that point introducing myself to guests around the room, telling them about our fine store and all our fun tastings, and seeing if they wanted to order any of these wines off my order sheet.
Upon reflection, it was a nice event, great to see people, but food-wise, it was okay, not as nice as the Delius dinner from a couple of weeks back, and the wines showed well, but at the end of the day, I supposed I would have rather enjoyed a German Riesling dinner much better...