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Wine dinners take place in many restaurants. They are events that bring people together for a meal and introduce people to new wines or present sought-after wines. In many instances, attendees are supporters of the restaurant yet unfamiliar with the winery. And a key element of the dinner is that the winemaker, winery owner or a key representative from the winery will attend to be on hand to share the story of the winery and discuss the wines. This person, along with the wines, becomes the focal point of the night. But another significant element is the menu that is created to pair with the wines. Since they opened three and a half years ago, Crossings Restaurant in South Pasadena has been hosting four to six wine dinners a year. Owner Patrick Kirchen, who has been cultivating relationships with wineries since working as General Manager at Arroyo Steakhouse and Nick and Stefs, looks to share these relationships with the community. One of these relationships is with The Terraces, a winery based in Napa Valley and I was invited to attend the recent wine dinner they did at Crossings.
Invited to a wine dinner at Crossings Restaurant featuring The Terraces wine from Napa Valley earlier this week, I braved the heat and the traffic to get to South Pasadena on time. It was pushing 90 degrees, and more than an hour in my car did not have me in the mood for the red wines I was anticipating. But, as we sat down for dinner, the first glass of wine was poured, The Terraces Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg 2016. In general, I am a fan of the easy-drinking chenin blanc with floral and fruit notes and delicate acidity. But, The Terraces chenin blanc blew me away. It is an exquisite wine and hence the Please The Palate pick of the week. The Terraces is located in the eastern foothills of Rutherford in Napa Valley. The vineyard dates back to the 1870s and has, in fact, been producing fruit continuously since then. The winery was started in 1985 and Sharon and Tim Crull purchased the ranch in 1993 and the winery in 1999.