Julie Miller, Wine Education Manager of Treasury Wine Estates delighted us with her knowledge of her portfolio including Beringer, St Clement, Etude, and Stag’s Leap at a recent wine dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Dallas. She greeted each of her guests with a smile. Her approach to the room was also comprised of interesting facts and of eye contact. While soaking in information, you really lose sight of her physically as she paints a picture worth more than a thousand words.
In a tour of the Napa Region via the sound of her voice, with intrinsic detail on the history of estates built, to fungus on dessert grapes, allowed for a virtual visual only a creative mind could absorb and appreciate. Ruth’s Chris and Julie Miller joined forces for a Tasting Dinner paired to perfection. The ambiance of Ruth’s Chris, combined with the efforts of Executive Chef, Thomas Holt explaining the prep for each course, gave way to a seamless setting. Beautiful people meeting for the first time, left with embrace and statements of “here is my number let’s get together soon.” This could only take place if the mood was properly established.
Our first fork raise was pure pleasure. We enjoyed arugula, roasted asparagus with herbed goat cheese, paired with Beringer Napa Valley Sauv Blanc. Besides the Filet, it was the plate I wanted to continually eat. However, of the whites, I preferred the St Clement Napa Valley Chardonnay. Buttery in taste, and creamier in texture. As a Region wine, less water is introduced to the vines, therefore a better quality grape is produced.
Our table raised a glass prior to the third course, because at this point we were old friends, all of us praised the Etude. A Pinot Noir from the lower southwest region we learned is higher in elevation, giving quite a zest of tobacco. The cooler climate grapes balanced our warm Crimini Mushroom Tarts and held its own comparatively to the balsamic beurre blanc over our spring veggie chutney.
As the depth of both earthy flavors, work my senses, I see the fourth course. Trying to not channel Pavlov, my ears perk as Julie taps her glass to announce our main attraction. As she got down to business, the singing sensation of the night arrived. Oh how I wished this dish was on an “all you could eat” menu. But let’s face it, Ruth’s Chris is an upscale place. Brian, our attentive server, chuckled. I still dream about this course. Filet Mignon Medium Rare with Cabernet Onions, sizzling in butter and parsley.
We prepared our palates with a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stag’s Leap Winery Napa Valley. Noted as being from the Stag’s Leap District, a valley with lots of light, allowing for a robust flavor. Robust with a finesse finish. Neither over powered the other. It was a hand in hand romantic walk under the moonlight. Everything was smooth, sexy, tantalizing, and by far the pairing of the evening. So I had two glasses. Cheers!
This course quickly became my dessert course, also. Thomas Holt kept the attention of the room with his cheesecake brulée. I opted to pair my second glass with the sweet potato casserole. The remainder of the room went with the Beringer Nightingale Semillon- Sauv Blanc. Julie approached our table and explained the process with passion, stating the Nightingale is a dessert wine from raisin grapes that are processed for the lack of water, giving a higher concentration of sugars. Together we tipped our glasses back. The texture is syrupy and assumed a role all its own as a dessert. I went back to the Cabernet. Then went and bought a bottle of the Nightingale to enjoy on its own at a later date.
The wine and food gods collided. Our appetites were quenched and nurtured.