If you like wine, then to spend an evening with the winemaker, who has poured his/her passion and soul into his/her wine, will leave a lasting impression and make you feel connected to that winery more than another.
When I was invited to Faith & Flower for one of their monthly “Terroir to Table” wine dinners, I couldn’t say no. The theme was a Lyonnais Dinner featuring Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines.
Larry started Tercero wines less than 10 years ago and has built the winery following through grassroots measures. This is why dinners like these are so valuable. Current wine club members attended but also non-members. After a meal with Larry, who is both eccentric and passionate, it is hard not to be converted to a fan.
Based in Santa Barbara County, Larry produces Rhône varietal wines at Tercero. Due to the Rhône’s proximity to Lyon, considered the “world capital of gastronomy,” in France, Faith & Flower’s Chef Michael Hung decided to create a Lyon inspired meal to pair with the acid driven wines.
We were seated at long tables in the intimate back room of Faith & Flower where Larry Schaffer and Wine Director Jared Hopper started pouring the Tercero Mouvedre Rose. We were lucky because in addition to tasting the current 2013 release, we also got to taste a barrel sample of the 2014 rose. Both vintages were a pale salmon color with aromas of red fruit and citrus with a little wet stone. I love the minerality in these roses and could have happily kept drinking the rose throughout the night.
At least we got to enjoy the roses through the first two courses: Duck Liver Mousse Crostini with Citrus Marmalade and Salad of Young Chicories with Poached Eggs, Pickled Onions, Mustard Vinaigrette (a classic Lyonnaise Salad). The dry acidity of the wine was a good contrast with the creamy duck liver and heightened the brightness of the marmalade. And, with the salad, the mustard vinaigrette and pickled onions elevated the acidity of the wine.
The pale yellow 2013 Grenache Blanc, with notes of peaches and stones, has a creamy texture and bright acidity that paired nicely with the Seared Pacific Seabass with Braised Celery Root, Frog Legs and Sauce Persillade.
For the third course, a Whole Roasted Bone-in Pork Loin with Caramelized Shallot Jus was served. The meal is served family style so it made sense for the whole roasted pork loin to be placed on the center of the table. But, there was one of these for every 6 people! The meat was tender and juicy and was paired with the rich Tercero Grenache and the Tercero Syrah.
And a Lyonnaise themed meal is not complete without cheesy, buttery, delicious Gratin Potatoes.
To finish the family style Lyonnaise themed meal, we enjoyed Beignets with Mixed Berry Cream paired with the Tercero 2012 Late Harvest Viognier. The wine is a late harvest wine (meaning the grapes were picked late with high sugar levels) but the wine is not too sweet. It is very high in acidity which masks the sweetness and that is why it paired so well with the sweet dessert. It made everything in balance instead of cloyingly sweet.
There are more wine dinners to come the last Monday of each month at Faith & Flower. They are a great value as you can enjoy a family style meal of 4-6 courses plus wine for $75-$95. And, they are a lot of fun as Chef Michael Hung designs a creative menu to pair with the featured winery.
Upcoming “Terroir to Table” Wine Dinners:
March 30th – Red Sauce featuring Palmina Winery ($75 food & wine)
April 27th – Backyard BBQ featuring Herman Story and Desparada ($90 food & wine)
May 18th – Santa Barbara Bounty featuring Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe ($85 food & wine)
Faith & Flower
705 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015