Today the farm to table dinner concept is the culinary mission for many restaurants throughout the country. Chefs and foodies are always taking the idea a step further by practicing sustainability in the kitchen as well as utilizing every portion of a food staple. Carrying the notion of using local ingredients, further wineries are joining by introducing wines that follow this same philosophy. Feedfeed is one organization that is promoting the perception of bringing wine into the picture to round out one’s dining experience. Recently Feedfeed joined Austerity Wines for dinner at Lucques in West Hollywood to showcase both the food of Suzanne Goin and the reasonably priced wines that Austerity offers from three different appellations.
Feedfeed is a network bringing people who love to cook together to share experiences and trends in kitchens around the world. This network includes chefs, home cooks, bloggers, food producers, and suppliers. The premise is that all are using foods that are locally grown, safe, nourishing, and sustainable. Feedfeed’s Kevin Masse hosted this dinner.
Austerity Wines is a winery located in the Central Valley. The definition of their winemaking process is “Wines of the highest discipline.” My interpretation of this principle is having the discipline to let the grapes speak for themselves. They do this by choosing distinct appellations for the wines they make. Austerity Wines is known for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Winemaker, Steven Decosta, joined us at the dinner. Steven grew up in the Fresno area, and at the age of 12, he knew his career path. It came about from the joy he saw at family gatherings where relatives came together over food and wine. He went to Fresno State Enology School. In our conversation, I discovered Steven likes to see the evolution of red wine by tasting wine as it develops from cold to warm temperatures. Steven, in his spare time, can be found making Balsamic Vinegar. To produce this vinegar, he takes the pressings from Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Grigio, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc.
Wine and Cuisine Pairing:
Our dinner began with a salad, Leek Vinaigrette with Prosciutto, Dandelion, Mustard Breadcrumbs & Soft Cooked Egg. Due to allergies, I started with a salad of greens with beet puree and blood oranges. The salads were paired with the 2015 Austerity Chardonnay. The grapes come from RLS, a grower in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey County. The Chardonnay aged for eight months in 35% new oak with a split of 60/40 between French and American Oak. I found a more viscous wine with flavors of pear.
The entree was Braised Beef Short Ribs with Sautéed Greens, Cipollini Onions & Horseradish Cream. The short ribs were superb, succulent, and tender. This course was paired with the 2015 Austerity, Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands. The grapes come from the Smith & Lindley Vineyard. The wine ages about ten months in French oak, with 60 percent of the barrels being new. The wine is made up of several clones including 777, Swan, Pommard, 667, and a couple of Dijon clones.
This Pinot Noir was my favorite of the three wines served. The wine is light yet created in a Burgundian style. The flavors are cranberry, mushrooms with hints of smoke. Although the wine was delicate at the same time, it had some masculine qualities.
Finishing the tasting was a Chocolate Cremuex Tart with Cardamom Cream. From my dietary cheating taste, I found this dessert luscious, rich and creamy. This dessert was paired with the 2014 Austerity, Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles. The Cabernet grapes come from the Pleasant Valley Vineyards, which is on the east side of Paso in the Estrella District AVA. The wine was higher in alcohol than I prefer, over 15%. It was drinkable, but I felt it could use some more aging time. I think this would make the wine more integrated.
For those of us with allergies, we received a dish of raspberry and pear sorbet. Although sorbet does not pair well with most wine, I have to say the pear sorbet was the best I had ever sampled. The sorbet had the texture of a pear and tasted as if I had just bitten into a freshly picked pear. It was yummy.
What was most impressive about Austerity Wines is the price point. All three wines were priced in the $15 range, making them fantastic wines that you could serve daily.
All and all the dinner was quite delicious and perfect for my first introduction to the Feedfeed network and the Austerity Wines.