Today the farm to table concept is the culinary mission for many restaurants throughout the country. Chefs and foodies are always trying to take the idea a step further with many practicing sustainability in the kitchen as well as utilizing every portion of a food staple. Carrying the notion of using local ingredients further wineries are joining by introducing wines that follow this same philosophy. Feedfeed is one organization that is promoting the perception of bringing wine into the picture to round out ones dining experience. Recently Feedfeed joined Austerity Wines for a dinner at Lucques in West Hollywood to showcase both the food of Suzanne Goin and the reasonably priced wines that Austerity offers from three different appellations.
Feedfeed is a network bringing people who love to cook together to share experiences and trends in kitchens around the world. This includes chefs, home cooks, bloggers, food producers and suppliers. The premise is that all are using foods that are locally grown, safe, nourishing and sustainable. Feedfeed’s Kevin Masse hosted this dinner.
Austerity Wines is a winery located in the Central Valley. The definition of their winemaking process is “Wines of the highest discipline”. My interpretation of this principal is having the discipline to let the grapes speak for themselves. They do this by choosing distinct appellations for the wines they make. Austerity Wines is known for their Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Winemaker, Steven Decosta joined us at the dinner. Steven grew up in the Fresno area and at the age of 12 he knew his career path. It came about from the joy he saw at family gatherings where relatives came together over food and wine. He went to Fresno State Enology School. In our conversation I discovered Steven likes to see the evolution of red wine by tasting wine as it develops from cold to warm temperatures. Steven in his spare time can be found making Balsamic Vinegar. To produce this vinegar he takes the pressings from Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Grigio, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
Wine and Cuisine Pairing:
Our dinner began with a salad, Leek Vinaigrette with Prosciutto, Dandelion, Mustard Breadcrumbs & Soft Cooked Egg. Due to allergies I started with a salad of greens with beet puree and blood oranges. The salads were paired with the 2015 Austerity Chardonnay. The grapes come from RLS, a grower in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey County. The Chardonnay is aged for 8 months in 35% new oak with a split of 60/40 between French and American Oak. I found a more viscous wine with flavors of pear.
The entree was Braised Beef Short Ribs with Sautéed Greens, Cipollini Onions & Horseradish Cream. The short ribs where superb, succulent and tender. This course was paired with the 2015 Austerity, Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands. The grapes come from the Smith & Lindley Vineyard. The wine is aged about 10 months in French oak with 60 percent of the barrels being new. The wine is made up of several clones including 777, Swan, Pommard, 667, and a couple of Dijon clones. This was my favorite of the three wines served. The wine it light yet created in a Burgundian style. The flavors are cranberry, mushrooms with hints of smoke. Although the wine was delicate at the same time it had some masculine qualities.
Finishing the tasting was a Chocolate Cremuex Tart with Cardamom Cream. From my dietary cheating taste, I found this dessert luscious, rich and creamy. This dessert was paired with the 2014 Austerity, Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles. The Cabernet grapes come from the Pleasant Valley Vineyards, which is on the east side of Paso in the Estrella District AVA. The wine was higher in alcohol than I prefer, over 15%. It was drinkable but I felt it could use some more aging time. I think this would make the wine more integrated.
For those of use with allergies we received a dish of raspberry and pear sorbet. Although sorbet does not pair well with most wine, I have to say the pear sorbet was the best I had ever sampled. The sorbet had the texture of a pear and tasted like I had just bitten into a fresh picked pear. It was yummy.
What was most impressive about Austerity Wines is the price point. All three wines were priced in the $15 range making them fantastic wines that you could serve daily.
All and all the dinner was quite delicious and was perfect for my first introduction to the Feedfeed network and the Austerity Wines.