Friday night was the “Grand Tasting” part of the 22nd annual Côtes du Coeur, the premiere wine charity event of the season in Dallas. The event supports the work of the American Heart Association in eradicating heart disease.
Ramey 2009 Chardonnay, Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County is representative of the quality level of the wines donated to the Côtes du Coeur Grand tasting which is always on the Friday before the Saturday Auction.
Hundreds of the top level patrons and sponsors gathered at über-cool Design District location eM The Venue to taste the reserve wines of the 30-plus featured wineries. In many cases the wines were poured by the winemakers themselves. I spoke to Andrew Schweiger, owner/winemaker of Schweiger Vineyards on Spring Mountain and he noted that Côtes du Coeur leads to Dallas-area sales throughout the year. Although each winery was only required to pour one wine, he was serving no fewer than four. The 2009 Cabernet Franc from the Spring Mountain District AVA was particularly good and recommended. For Adam Lee owner/winemaker of Siduri coming to Dallas is really a journey home as he and his wife are from this area (and worked wine tastings at Neiman Marcus for a time).
Colby Red is a wine made by respected winemaker Daryl Groom from which all proceeds go to charity. Groom started making the wine after his son underwent back-to-back open heart operations at age nine. It is his way of contributing to finding the cure for heart disease.
Every year Côtes du Coeur honors a top winemaker with the Tête de Cuvée award and this year the winner is John Bookwalter of J. Bookwalter Winery in Washington. This winery has won dozens of accolades in its 30-year history and showed its 2010 “Volume One” cabernet Sauvignon at the tasting. It is an unctuously chewy mouthful that leaves the taster full of anticipation of what it can become after another five or ten years.
Wine-friendly food was provided by Lazaranda and attendees left excited about the biggest event of the Côtes du Coeur: Saturday’s Wine Auction at The Hilton Anatole.