I apologize for photo quality - all I had was my phone as I left my camera at home by accident. Really, the photos don't do the wine or food justice at all.
First Course - 2008 Symphony served with Spicy Tuna Tartare with Edamame Hummus
This first course blew me away - great pairing due to great components. The wine was subtly sweet with tropical flavors while producing a clean finish. The hybrid grape is a flavor that I've never experienced, and this could easily be shared by all wine lovers for any occasion. Plus, the simplicity of the bottle marketing created enough interest that I couldn't wait to try. Paired with the wine, a siracha-infused tuna tartare that was freshened with cilantro and lime sat on top of the best hummus I've ever had. A wasabi-edamame hummus was at a perfect level of spice without the expected horseradish taste. I can't describe how much I wanted a bowl of this right then and there, not to mention the next morning for breakfast. Providing a further bite crunch and spice to the tuna were cayenne roasted cashews - I could have eaten these by the handful. A ginger soy glace brought all these great components together with a salty finish. Fried rice noodles finished the dish with a perfect crunch. If this is wrath, I'll take it any day. A shout out to the new culinary woman in the kitchen - she did a great job and I look forward to seeing more from her in the future.
Second Course - 2009 Seven Heavenly Chardonnay served with Caramelized Pear Tart
This wine was the redemption to the brother's 7 Deadly Zins, and a very pleasant one at that. Full bodied, the wine was creamy in all the right ways of a Chardonnay with tones of oak. Slight vanilla flavors also played on the tongue, and with the subtle oak, was a perfect combination. I may have found a new Chardonnay for my collection. The pear tart really cleaned and balanced the wine, bringing the two together for a great pairing. Roasted anjou pears were rustic in flavor and lightened with some lemon and sugar. Subtly sweet caramelized onions were layered on top of a creamy and dominate Taleggio cheese layer of flavor. The puff pastry, always rich and buttery, was the vehicle for the cheese and layered with a nutty, gruyere heavy arugula-comte' pesto. Overall, the tart was rich and savory, cut with the sweetness of the pears - perfect for the creamy Chard and perfect for envy.
Third Course - 2008 Incognito Red Blend served with Sausage and Quail Gumbo
I've tasted the Incognitio blend before, and it was as delicious as I remembered. Sharp in taste and fruit forward (blackberries and blueberries on my tongue) with sweet tannins. Delicious blend of grapes, once again, paired with a spicy Southern dish. The gumbo was rich in the anticipated creole flavor, subtle in spice and thick with sausage - three varieties to be exact. Duck, buffalo and turkey flavors mixed perfectly with the basil steamed Basmati rice. A rue and the holy trinity of cajun cooking (diced onion, celery and carrot) were the basis of this dish and proved great things can happen with the combination of paprika, garlic, thyme and other herbs and spices in this style of cooking. On top, a beautifully crisped fried piece of quail breast. Perfectly tender from buttermilk and salty like fried cooking should be - I'd be proud of this dish too.
Fourth Course - 2008 Earthquake Petite Sirah served with Chocolate Braised Pork Belly
Almost purple in color, the Sirah was perfectly dry in the center of the tongue. A stunning label, this full bodied style of wine had a touch of berry and floral taste. It couldn't have been matched any better than with pork - especially pork belly. This fine piece of meat was a slow braised Berkshire Farms pork belly - the best of the best. Slightly seasoned, the meat spoke entirely for itself. The fat added some amazing flavor to perfectly cooked meat - it really was divine and didn't need anything. But of course Steven didn't disappoint by presenting it with an amazing sauce to slather the meat in - a chocolate-blackberry BBQ sauce. The dish smelled of dark chocolate, so I was very surprised to taste a smokey and sweet BBQ flavor. A touch of honey, balsamic vinegar and blackberry jam were added to a basic BBQ sauce to give it all that flavor before dark chocolate was melted into the mix. Oh my, divine. This was all on a bed of velvety Seahive Cheddar grits. Best dish ever. Period. I'd be a sloth in a minute if I had this pork belly.
Fin - 2007 Earthquake Zinfandel served with Stuffed Doughnut Bread Pudding
Another fantastic label, this Zinfandel was a surprise to me. It was intense in fruit with smokey and spicy notes. Bold and intense,like a good cup of coffee with a sweet dessert - nothing what I was anticipating but everything that would make me come back for more. And when you have a bread pudding made out of cinnamon and powdered sugar doughnuts, the wine was everything I needed to cut that sweetness. Imagine sitting in your favorite donut shop (why hello Dunkin!) and enjoying your favorite donut holes (or munckins) by dipping them in a beautifully warm vanilla-cream cheese glaze. That is what this dish was, but you were given a bit more flavor with a blueberry and cherry filling. Glutony at its finest.
Amazing and satisfying, I couldn't have been more happy when we were finished (that is, unless I could repeat it all over again). As always, service was fantastic, food was epic and the wine was an utter indulgence. We were able to stay a bit longer and sip some more, and I think I found my favorite Michael David - Petite Petit. Exploding with black fruit flavor, the purple colored wine was a fantastic ending to my evening. It was dense with flavor and full bodied - truly a great mix of sirah and verdot. I've never left Tastings as satisfied as I did on Wednesday, and I'll be checking shelves for the Petite Petit next time I'm in the wine aisle. Not to mention, I would plan a visit to Lodi, CA just to visit and sip my way through that vineyard.
Thank you Tastings (Steven - you and that pork belly - nom!) and Michael David for a truly epic evening.
Tastings: A Wine Experience
50 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Michael David Winery
4580 West Highway 12
Lodi, CA 95242
One last note, I'm shifting restaurant reviews over to my new blog, City Nom Noms! I hope you join me as I nosh through the city one bite at a time! One of these days, I'll nosh on Tastings small plates from their menu and City Nom Noms is where that review will be!