Tuesday, April 4, 2006, Casey and I had the pleasure of attending the Amizetta Wine Dinner at a local restaurant named the Blu Bistro.
The Blu Bistro (Yahoo! Map) is a local fine dining restaurant owned and operated by Michael and Catherine Blucas. I was introduced to the place by my friend Dwyer who has known Michael for many years.
The wine dinner is something that the restaurant puts on occasionally in which they have a menu custom tailored to the wine selections and have a representative of the vineyard on hand to speak about the wines themselves during the meal.
The winemaker on hand was Spencer Clark owner of Amizetta Vineyards. Spencer (whose vineyard was named after his wife) began making wine in 1979 after deciding to settle down from a successful rock and roll music career. He has a fascinating story about how he came into the industry that you can see on his site. During the meal he told us about each of the wines that we were tasting and also treated us to his singing and guitar playing (nice added plus to having your winemaker be a musician).
The menu on hand was as follows:
Poached Lobster and Spring Greens with Tomato Caper Relish and Sweet Corn Vinaigrette
Wine: Amizetta Rock’n White 1st Take
Smoked Pork and Caramelized Onion Ravioli with Ancho Chili Mushroom Broth
Wine: Amizetta Rock’n Red 1st Take
Certified Angus Beef Pure Cut Ribeye with Horseradish Smashed Potatoes
Crispy Shallots and Garlic Wilted Spinach
Green Peppercorn Glace de Viande
Wine: Amizetta Complexity, Napa Valley
Chocolate Espresso Mousse
Wine: Amizetta Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Price: $65/person + tax and gratuity
We were lucky enough to share a table with our friends Dwyer and Tammy Duke which made for a very fun evening. The starting salad was absolutely divine with the lobster (which I don’t get to have very often) being wonderfully tender and delectible. The Rock’n White wine was quite good. I do not really like white wines very much but I enjoyed this one thoroughly and hope to experience it again in the future.
The ravioli appetizer had a wonderful flavor and fair amount of spice (due to the ancho chili no doubt). The smell was a bit strong for me (maybe the broth?), but aside from that the flavor was just heavenly. The Rock’n Red wine that went with this course was my favorite of the night. It had an oak (or something woodsie) flavor, which I’ve never liked before, but in this wine I really enjoyed it. It also had a spicy aspect to it which I had never experienced to this degree in a red wine. It really went well with the spice in the ravioli.
The entree of ribeye was pure heaven. I did almost have to restrain Dwyer when Casey and Dwyer’s wife Tammy requested their ribeyes well, well, done, but he was able to keep his inner Bruce Banner in check. Some people like their meat like hockey pucks, but Dwyer and I enjoyed a nice medium rare steak. The meat was tender and full of flavor and I do believe I could have eaten my weight in the horseradish smashed potatoes. But of course I had to save room for dessert. The wine that went with the entree was a blended wine called Amizetta Complexity. It was a very good wine but I was still sold on the Rock’n Red. I would like to try the Complexity again sometime and see how it tastes minus all of the other flavors I had experienced beforehand.
Dessert was a wonderfully creamy chocolate mousse that was as smooth as can be. It was a fantastic way to finish off the meal and went really well with the Amizetta Cabernet Sauvignon (another wine I would like to try on its own in the future). Of course after all of that food and four(ish) glasses of wine I do believe I achieved Nirvana.
After the meal, we had the opportunity to purchase the wines that were presented during dinner, and Casey and I decided to pick up some of the Rock’n Red (and even got Spencer to sign a bottle for us. Thanks Spencer!)
A fantastic dining experience overall. The waitstaff of the Blu Bistro were prompt and courteous. The chef (Michael Blucas) did an amazing job on the menu and preparation (and presentation also, absolutely beautiful dishes). Spencer Clark from Amizetta Vineyards was a super nice guy. He came around to all of the tables and we got to chat for a bit along with a Q&A session he did. I would highly recommend attending the Blu Bistro wine dinners if you have the chance. I believe they happen quarterly and are by reservation only.
The Blu Bistro is also open for lunch Tuesday through Friday and for dinner Tuesday through Saturday and they have their current menus posted on their website BluBistro.com
I would also recommend checking out the Amizetta Vineyard wines at your local wine shop. If they don’t carry them, ask them to order some for you. Spencer also said he was finishing up recording an album in Austin, Texas with his band called the Noble Rot but I couldn’t find any information online about them. Maybe they will go on tour and come to your town.