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.
Food and wine pairing is like a good marriage. It is about balance, harmony and complimenting each other, although it is never perfect. At Primo Italia in Torrance, husband and wife team Lou and Grace Giovannetti share their passion for Italian food and wine offering monthly wine pairing dinners in one of their private rooms.
Opened in 2016, Primo Italia is a collaboration and partnership. Lou is the restaurateur and Grace is the sommelier. They have created a restaurant that is warm and inviting and in a way, an invitation into their home. From their Campania and Sicilian roots, Primo Italia is an homage to Grace's Italian family heritage with family photos that line the walls. And their wine dinners are an opportunity to share their passion for food and wine.
Their most recent wine dinner was with Tenuta San Guido, as estate located in Maremma, a coastal region in Tuscany. Tenuta San Guido is the estate that produces the iconic Super-Tuscan Sassicaia, as well as other wines.