One of the best wine-tasting events in town is the monthly offering by Uncorked Denver/Denver Wine Meetup. Organized by Stacey Gilbert, Uncorked Denver hosts a winemaker or other winery representative who shares his or her thoughts on the wines being sampled that night. Stacey works with a chef at the venue to design hors d’oeuvre pairings for each wine. At a cost of less than $30 per person, attending one of Gilbert’s events is a budget-friendly way to learn about wines and how they pair with foods.
On Thursday, February 6, Bliss Family Vineyard’s Ryan Brutocao, grandson of founder, Irv Bliss, poured a number of his family’s wines he described as affordable, everyday-drinking wines. If the Brutocao name sounds familiar, it may be because of the family’s other winery, Brutocao Family Vineyards. Both wineries are based in Mendocino, California, in the Anderson Valley.
Now, is “Bliss” a cool name for a wine or what?!
Above: Ryan Brutocao and Stacey Gilbert
The tasting took place at Sonoma’z Wine Bar & Grill the wine bar inside the Marriott Denver South at Park Meadows. Chef Patrick Miranda, new to Sonoma’z and formerly of Euclid Hall, presented the evening’s pairings.
A glass of 2011 Bliss Family Vineyards Estate Sauvignon Blanc welcomed all wine tasters in from the cold. This wine was fresh and cheerful with hints of lime. Our group of tasters tried the Citrus-Apple Braised Pork Belly with Honeycrisp Apple and Chutney with the Sauvignon Blanc. Even though the pairing was designed for the Chardonnay, it paired very well with the Sauvignon Blanc and made the fruit and acid really pop.
The Bliss Family Vineyards 2011 Estate Chardonnay paired well with the pork belly, but was perhaps more dramatic with the Sauvignon Blanc. The word “estate” in the name of the wine refers to whether the wine is produced using the vineyards’ grapes rather than buying grapes from another producer.
The 2011 Bliss Family Vineyards Pinot Noir was paired with Seared Steak, Shallots, and a Taro Chip. The meat was prepared tartare style and was a savory complement to the red fruit in the wine.
The 2011 Bliss Family Vineyards Estate Zinfandel was paired with Parisian Gnocchi and Fra Diavolo Sauce in a nice power match. The gnocchi and sauce were served in tasting spoon.
The 2011 Bliss Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon was paired with a Cured and Savory Lamb Crostini with Raspberry. The crunch of the toast points and texture of the meat paired well with the tastes of berries and chocolate in the wine.
The 2011 Bliss Family Vineyards Schoolhouse Red, Estate Bottled, was a smooth complement to the Black Fig and Ancho Chocolate Beignet. The dark chocolate filling paired well with the rich berries on nose and palate. The wine is a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot. The wine won a gold medal at the San Diego International Competition.
Until our next adventure in wine and food…
Sonoma’z Wine Bar & Grill
10345 Park Meadows Grill, near I-25 and Lincoln Avenue
Lone Tree, CO 80124