Taste of Wine

Go ‘West’ for harvest of fresh food, fine wines

It was billed as Oktober West and the celebration was on to toast the harvest of the West Steak and Seafood Carlsbad Organic Farm. I was greeted at the tented entrance by a smiling group. No, actually a happy-to-see-you family: owners, management, an executive chef, kitchen and wait help, all with a big contribution to this amazing world-class rustic farm-to-table feast. They included the other two hospitality favorites Bistro West and West Inn & Suites.
All were excited about Executive Chef Eugenio Martignago’s six generous food and wine pairings on this sun-filled fall day. The small bites offerings included red and gold beets napoleon layered with truffle goat cheese, baby greens tossed with basil, pesto and balsamic honey glaze. Then there was coconut shrimp with mango and horseradish cocktail sauce. 
But the two that made my day were butternut squash ravioli with prosciutto, zucchini flowers, cherry tomatoes, fresh sage and white wine sauce; and New York steak pomodoro with asiago cheese, garlic and basil.
Chef Eugenio did not disappoint with his selection of wines. The standout was Banfi of Montalcino Tuscany and its value selection, Centine. This is a beautifully crafted Sangiovese, Cabernet and Merlot, blended to produce a smooth, fragrantly satisfying wine with Italian character. Banfi dates back to the 11th century when it was known as Castello di Poggio alle Mura. It has been owned by the Mariani Family since 1978 and officially known as Castello Banfi with 7,100 acres.
For more on West, check outweststeakandseafood.com, and bistrowest.com.
Wines to know for the holidays
The excitement is building at the biggest wine trade publication in the world, Wine Spectator. They have revealed four of their top 10 wines for 2010. They have reviewed nearly 16,000 wines from all over the world in blind tastings. About 3,900 received classic or 90-plus ratings. Spectator observed an increase in expensive, limited production wines. Average price of the top 100 is $48.
Here are the number 10 through 6 rated wines:
— 10: Clos des Papes, Chateaneuf-du-Pape White 2009. France, $100.
— 9: CARM, Douro Reserva, Red 2007. Portugal, $27.
— 8: Fontodi, Coli della Toscana, Flacianello, Sangiovese Red 2007. Italy, $110.
— 7. Schild, Shiraz Barossa, Red 2008. Australia, $20.
— 8. Paul Hobbs, Pinot Noir Russian River Valley, Red 2008. Sonoma, $45.
Next week I will reveal the rest of the top 10, plus my recent picks in more than 70 tastings I have attended since my last “favorites” column in September.
Wine Bytes
— The Grand Opening of the Tamber Bey Tasting Room in St. Helena, Napa Valley, was held recently. Vintner Barry Waitte, a leading young owner, has it open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and wine club members are free plus up to four guests. Call (707) 968-5345 for details.
— Bacchus Wine Market in the Gaslamp District of San Diego has a Pinot Noir event, from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 26. Cost is $20 each. Pinot from New Zealand to France and California will be tasted. Call (619) 238-0005 for details.
— The Wine Loft in Carlsbad presents Kobalt by the ounce from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 27.  Details at (760) 944-1412.
— Wine Steals in Cardiff and Point Loma is popping their annual Bubbly Tasting Event from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 1. The fee is $15. Event will feature 10 great bubbles brands. No RSVP needed. Just show up.
— Le Salon at Addison, Grand Del Mar Resort is the setting for a Red Burgundy tasting conducted by wine expert Jesse Rodriguez with all Grand Cru pours, from 6 to 7 p.m. Dec. 1. Cost is $30 per person. Call (858) 314-2000 for details.