New Menu at Napa Valley Grille Also Offers Unique Wine Pairings

Located in the heart of Westwood Village, the Napa Valley Grille is frequented by local business people and those affiliated with UCLA. It is not a new restaurant and will not likely be written up by the local food press sources. But, we should not overlook the Napa Valley Grille. Behind the doors is a restaurant that has been served diners for more than 15 years. General Manager Brian Cousins and Chef Kenny Spost are staying current and with the fall season upon us, they have created a new menu and paired the menu with some unexpected wines.

The Napa Valley Grille focuses on California cuisine with an emphasis on wine country. Historically the wine list has been primarily filled with California wines. However, GM Brian Cousins has been adding wines from around the world to the list. While still predominantly California, you can find wines from Italy, France, New Zealand and more. And now, with the new menu, Brian has paired the dishes with wines from Germany and Bordeaux, two distinct destinations, offering surprising styles.

Brian invited a group of LA Wine Writers in to try the new pairings. 

We started with the 2016 Scharzhofberger Riesling Sparkling Wine Brut, Saar. Germany is definitely known for Riesling but a sparkling one? This wine has bright citrus aromas and on the palate, it has racy acidity and a mineral and yeasty finish.

The sparkling Riesling was perfectly paired with a baked oyster with chipotle herb butter. The chipotle herb butter, which includes brandy and brown sugar, has smoky overtones and the sharp acidity of the wine cut through the richness of the butter.

The 2018 Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé, Pfalz, Germany is a pale pink color with golden flecks. It has notes of fresh red cherry, raspberry and watermelon candy. I first tasted the Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé almost 15 years ago. It was one of the first rosé wines I tasted and the reason I fell in love with rosé. Tasting the 2018, I still smile when I sip this wine.

The Pinot Noir Rosé  was paired with the new Fruit Salad made with mixed greens, frisee, toasted turmeric pepitas, pears, raspberries, bubu arare and vanilla bean vinaigrette. I was surprised by how well the fruitiness of the wine paired with this salad. The wine has a sweet note that was tempered by the salad and in exchange, the wine softened the vanilla vinaigrette.

Sylvaner is a white wine grape grown primarily in Alsace and Germany. We had the 2017 Scheferkorf Sylvaner, Franken, Germany which has notes of citrus, peach, quince and subtle herb notes.

We paired the Sylvaner with Turmeric-Crusted Tuna with orange-ginger soy reduction, shaved fennel, black sesame seeds and taro root chips. The acidity and minerality of the wine was in harmony with the rich, sweet glaze on the tuna.

As we moved to red wines, we had the 2016 August Kesseler, The Daily August Pinot Noir from Rheingau, Germany. Pinot Noir, called Spätburgunder in Germany, is grown throughout the country. This Pinot Noir had classic cool climate notes of black cherry and earth and minerality on the finish.

The Pinot Noir with its soft tannins was a lovely pairing with the Colorado Lamb Rack with corn polenta and mint-pomegranate reduction. I especially loved the brightness of the wine with the creamy corn.

Our second red wine was the 2010 Goulée by Cos d’Estournel, Medoc, Bordeaux, France, a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot. The wine has aromas of cherries, tobacco and coffee and on the palate it is full-bodied with velvety tannins.

The Bordeaux red was paired with the Australian Wagyu NY Strip Steak with peppercorn-Cognac jus.

To finish the meal, our dessert was the 2012 Chateau Pineau du Rey from Sauternes in Bordeaux, France. Instead of eating dessert, we drank our dessert. A blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon, this wine has notes of honey, peach and white flowers and a nutty finish.

Check out the new menu at Napa Valley Grille and try some out-of-the-ordinary wine pairings.

Napa Valley Grille
1100 Glendon Ave #100
Los Angeles, CA