Boulder Creek Winery hosted its annual barrel tasting dinners, an excellent opportunity for wine lovers to sample the newest releases from winemaker Jackie Thompson, paired with the cuisine of chef Willem DeFroy. The dinners sell out quickly, and this year was no exception. Once wine lovers have discovered these dinners, they tend to become an annual event. A topic of conversation at our table was the number of Boulder Creek Winery barrel tasting dinners everyone had attended, since few were novices.
Boulder Creek Winery owners Jackie and Mike Thompson welcomed everyone with a glass of their newly released 2013 Dry Rosé. The festively hued glass of fuchsia wine was made from Syrah grapes due to the bad winter in Colorado’s Grand Valley, where the Merlot grapes froze. The spicy, more intense rosé was a departure from the pale pink Provence-style rosé for which Boulder Creek is known. The rosé made an excellent aperitif.
The first white wine selection of the evening, the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, was a light and breezy accompaniment to Shrimp “Ceviche” in Phyllo Cups with Cilantro Oil. The wine was refreshing and minerally and tasted of ripe pear. A real porch pounder! The acidity cut through the fat in the dish nicely. The duo made for an excellent pairing.
The 2013 Viognier and Herb Braised Chicken came next. Served cold, the julienned chicken was mixed with Asian Pear Slivers, Dried Cranberries, and Sunburst Yellow Tomatoes, and served over Belgian Endive Spears. The richer, denser white wine offered good balance to the dish and brightened the fruit elements, while the food softened the wine.
On to the reds. The 2011 Syrah was first, tempting everyone with its superb nose. It was spicy and inviting, and the diners were more than happy to sit and chat until the pasta arrived: Angel Hair Pasta Tossed in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Roma Plum Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic, Basil Chiffonade, and Reggiano Cheese. The pairing was simple, clean, and delicious. The Syrah held up well to all of the butter. Thoughts of dying and going to Heaven…?!
When Jackie Thompson was settling on her red blend to bottle, she asked for input from Boulder Creek Winery VIP Wine Club members. Mike Thompson described the results as a tie vote between the two finalist samples. A tiebreaker gave the first sample the honor of being named Consensus IV, while the second-place finisher was called the 2011 Reserve Claret. The wines were poured side-by-side to sip and sample with Pan Fried Pheasant Breast drizzled with Truffle Oil, served over Wild Mushroom Compote and Braised Fennel. A glance around the room found many diners tasting one, then the other, then tasting the first one again to pick a favorite with the pheasant. Both were lush red blends that paired very well with the entrée. The compote and fennel were crowd favorites.
Consensus IV represents the best of the best barrels of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. The unfiltered wine was aged for 24 months in French and American oak. It offered rich flavors of cherry and currant in a complex blend that continued to open up in the glass.
The 2011 Reserve Claret is a Bordeaux Blend of 60% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 16% Cabernet Franc. This wine offered luscious fruit in good balance with acid and tannins. It was easy to see why this wine was one of the top two finishers. Our table placed it above the Consensus IV as the favorite for the night.
After the main course had been cleared, diners signed a set of wine bottles that would be given to lucky diners in a drawing that evening. Diners wandered up to the front of the room to visit with Chef Willem, who was stirring – and stirring – and stirring! – the Sabayon for dessert.
The evening concluded with “Sabayon” poured over seasonal berries drizzled with Zinfandel Port, paired with a glass of Zinfandel Port. Chef Willem said the dessert is old-fashioned and is not a regular menu item at most restaurants because of its labor-intensive preparation. Egg yolks, butter, sugar, and white wine were whisked – and whisked – over heat to reach the perfect consistency. It was an elegant ending to an evening with abundant good taste.
Until our next adventure in wine and food…
Boulder Creek Winery
6440 Odell Place
Boulder, CO 80301
Boulder Creek Winery owner Mike Thompson.
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