Last year, I attend a wine dinner hosted by Terlato Wines in Los Angeles where vintner John Terlato talks about his family’s various labels and how they are best paired with food. On that occasion, we enjoy the wines with Chinese food at the famed Mr Chow in Beverly Hills.
Recently, we are once again graced by Mr Terlato’s presence at another wine pairing dinner, this time in Orange County, at Cucina Enoteca in Fashion Island, with a different assortment of wines from Mr Terlato’s family vineyards.
We begin with Terlato 2015 Pinot Grigio Friuli, a delightfully crisp white wine which is ideal with our appetizers. Veal Carpaccio ($14.50) with smoked tuna aioli, roasted fava, confit shallots, and crispy salsify is a light starter possessing a mix of textures and flavors.
The house signature Stuffed Fried Squash Blossoms ($13) is always delightful, with delicate squash blossoms enveloping a herbed ricotta, on a plate dotted with opal basil pesto and lemon aioli.
Grilled Octopus ($16) is perhaps my favorite appetizer of the evening with ceci bean, fingerling potatoes, citrus greens, and a little acidity from the dehydrated tomato.
Our second course of salads is accompanied by Chimney Rock 2013 Elevage Blanc and Sanford 2013 Chardonnay. I love how the initial sip of Elevage creates a myriad of sensations on the palate.
With these two wines, we are presented with Beet & Avocado ($12.50) radicchio, pine nuts, crispy quinoa, sesame and feta crema, possessing flavor profiles of bitter, sweet and tart.
The Chopped Salad ($11.50) of escarole, radicchio, Casalingo salumi, caciocavallo, and pickled shishito can be described as a cacophony of salty, bitter and tart, working in harmony with the Chardonnay.
In fact, any of the salads, including Arugula + Heirloom Tomato ($9) with shaved parmesan, radicchio, and 18-year aged balsamic will pair nicely with these two wines.
Our entrees are accompanied by a bevy of incredible offerings including Sanford 2012 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills; Rutherford Hill 2013 Merlot; 2012 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon; and 2012 EPISODE. The red wines are unique in their own way, however, I’m partial to the 2012 EPISODE, which is a deep, bold red wine with a silky long finish.
Straciatella Agnolotti ($18.50) with asparagus, radish, pickled red onion, and pea butter is a house-made pasta which, although is vegetarian, is on the heavier side. It pairs well with the Sanford Pinot Noir, as well as the Merlot.
I especially enjoy all the reds with Pappardelle ($21.50) dotted with short rib, cremini mushroom, carrot, and parmagiano.
If you order an entrée such as Roasted Half Chicken ($23) with toasted farro, mushroom, leek, and drizzled with marsala rosemary jus, you might enjoy the Pinot Noir and Merlot with it because they are a little lighter than the Cab and EPISODE. However, as with all wines, it is a matter of personal choice and taste. Drink whatever you like with your food – that’s what I do!
My experiences with Terlato Wines have always been very positive. The wines are small batch and you can taste the care in every bottle. With the variety of wines they offer under their umbrella, you’ll definitely find a wine to suit your palate. I have a handful of them which I know will never let me down.
For more information on Terlato Wines, please visit their website.
951 Newport Center Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660