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In 2018, Maude Restaurant shifted the concept to highlight wine regions around the world. They covered Rioja, Burgundy, Central Coast, Piemonte in 2018 and started 2019 with Western Australia. When the Maude team picks their next location, the team (chefs and wine team) travel together for an immersive trip. They do this trip in secret as they do not let us, the customers, know what the next region is until one month prior to its launch. To date, most of the regions have been quite a distance from Los Angeles and the team has slipped away for up to a week to explore the region. For the April - June menu, Maude ventured to Sonoma County. Sonoma, with its proximity to the Russian River and sixty miles of California coastline, was the inspiration for the spring menu.The team flew up on a Saturday night after service and spent a whirlwind weekend in Sonoma where they foraged, fished and learned about fermentation. They then created a menu retelling their experience to us. Back in March, I attended an "Off the Menu" meal at Maude which was a sort of research and development of the Sonoma menu. Looking back and comparing the menus, I see the evolution of most of these dishes but for the Sonoma menu, the dishes were perfected and delicious. Our meal began with the Biodynamic Preparation. Inspired by a visit to the winery Littorai, where winemaker Ted Lemon farms biodynamically, there were five small bites displayed on a wood and wire tray, similar to what is used in biodynamic farming. The amuses included an oyster with yarro root, tempura stinging nettle, ramps, soft kogi panna cotta and sourdough bread with oak bark butter.
This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
Describing wine is not the easiest thing to do. When you are starting out, when asked to describe what you smell, you might say that you “just smell wine.”
But as you taste more, study more and hone your palate, you may start to describe sauvignon blanc as “citrusy with notes of lemon, lime and green grass” or pinot noir as “earthy with aromas of dried cherry and mushroom.”
How do we learn to describe wines like this? And once we can describe wines, how do we begin to understand how to pair wine with food? At the Paradise Ridge tasting room in Kenwood, sensory experiences with herbs or chocolates highlight the chemistry and fundamentals behind food and wine pairing. annette-mcdonnell-and-the-sensory-experiences-at-paradise-ridge-winery-kenwood-tasting-room-2
Tasting Room Manager Annette McDonnell joined the Paradise Ridge family in 2008. McDonnell was raised in Sonoma and has worked in the culinary world at Park Avenue Catering under Sonoma County Chef Bruce Riezenman and in catering with Café Lolo. At Paradise Ridge, she has been able to combine her passion for food, wine and hospitality to create a unique way to educate people about wine and food pairing.