David's Birthday!

For some lame reason, David decided to have his birthday on a Monday this year. To alleviate said lameness, we opted to have a weekend-long celebration leading up to his big 2-6. Saturday was a fun-filled day of mini-golf and Universal City Walk; Sunday was a surprise from me to him. Since we got together, we've shared a common interest in learning more about wine. We've certainly drank a lot of it together, but with no real rhyme or reason regarding our choices beyond an attraction to the price and look of the bottle.

So, I started plotting a wine tasting excursion a few weeks ago. I wasn't sure where to go for it--we didn't have plans to go to Wine Country in the near future, so I was on the hunt for something for local. Goldstar Events actually had a couple of tastings offered, but they were upwards of $50/person. I mentioned these to KG, a friend at work, and she steered me towards Silverlake Wine in, you guessed it, Silverlake. She told me that they had weekly wine tastings with food that were really great and informative...and a lot more affordable than the frou-frou tastings I was coming across.

We were a little early arriving on Sunday and had a chance to wander around the shop a bit. It's a small place, and smells just like State Liquor back in Wootown. I'd forgotten what stores that ONLY sell liquor smell like. The wine selection was seemingly impressive, but again, we really don't know anything.

Once all of the attendees had crammed into the store, a bunch of wine store worker bees began serving the first drink: Domaine St. Vincent Brut NV New Mexico. A sparkling wine that reminded my inexperienced tongue of champagne, I found this one fairly refreshing and light. David, who doesn't like champagne, didn't enjoy it as much. 

As everyone was polishing off this drink, someone I assumed was the owner finally actually welcomed us. The theme of the day, he told us, was the wines of a particular Central CA winery, Lioco--with the exception of the first wine, all of selections were Lioco. Accompanying the wines were tapas of sorts by Auntie Em's Restaurant in Eagle Rock, which was particularly exciting, since I've been meaning to check them out. 

As I'm continuing this blog over a week after the actual tasting (slacker!), I am just going to cover a few key points. Besides the Brut, the wines we drank were:
Chardonnay "Stuhlmuller" 2006 Alexander Valley
Pinot Noir "Michaud" 2006 Chalone
Pinot Noir "Klindt" 2006 Anderson Valley
Pinot Noir "Hirsch" 2006 Sonoma
The names in quotations refer to the actual vineyard from which that particular wine's grapes hailed. One thing we novices learned that day was that the most important thing to note when you are buying wine is where the grapes came from. Learn your great vineyards and you'll seemingly never err.

Something else we learned was that wines are treated with lactic acid (I am not clear if that goes for ALL wines or just certain ones...) and so some wines actually taste creamy. After hearing about this, we tasted the Pinot Noir Michaud, and I tasted the buttery notes within it. The taste eventually got a little bitter, but that buttery richness was enough to make me a fan.

The menu to accompany the wines included:
Crab terrine with chives and tomatoes on French bread
Golden beet salad with blood orange dressing, pea tendrils and goat cheese
Mushroom "pate" avec crudites et pain
Beef bourguignon
Thankfully we're not vegetarians...as it was, we steered clear of the beef. The other three dishes were quite tasty, though, especially that mushroom pate--essentially a mushroom and cream dip. Yummy!
Oh! To top the afternoon off, Auntie Em's served their famous cupcakes, bite-sized. We both grabbed a red velvet and were licking our fingers until we got to the car. 

Final note: This was basically a cocktail party where we didn't know anyone and had to pay for admittance. As a couple of minor wallflowers, this was not our ideal situation. I don't want to knock the place or the event. We both had a lot of fun, and I think it's a great environment for someone super outgoing (or on the prowl) or a big group of friends...I would definitely be down to checking it out again with a few more peeps. Any takers? 

Anyhoo, thanks for reading this installment. 


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