I attended the 2016 Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association; Taste Our Terroir – The Quest For Pairing Excellence back in July. I intended to blog about it before now. You see how that went.
What is Taste Our Terroir?
Taste Our Terroir is Livermore Valley’s preeminent food and wine festival. The affair, held each July, spans four delectable days. It features a diverse selection of events hosted by wineries across the region such as interactive DIY food and wine pairing, progressive dinners, a cooking competition, wine seminars, vineyard tours and winery lunches and dinners.
In other words, it’s nirvana for foodies and wine lovers!
Check out the video below for my visual recap of the event!
The Quest for Pairing Excellence
The four-day event kicked of with “The Quest For Pairing Excellence“. It’s a walk-around tasting of small bites created by local chef’s who are paired with 18 participating Livermore wineries.
Each attendee is given two chips — one for best white wine food pairing and one for best red wine pairing. After tasting through the wine and food pairing we cast our vote. The votes are compiled and a “People’s Choice Award” is awarded in the two categories (white and red wine pairings)
At the same time, a judging panel of pros does the same behind closed doors. However, while the citizen judges know the winemakers and chefs behind the pairings, the pros are tasting the wine and food pairings blind. They know neither the wine, nor the chef who created the dish.
My favorites were:
- White: 2015 Occasio Malavasia Bianca paired with Posada Applewood Smoked Salmon with Basil Pearls
- Red: 2012 McGrail Vineyards & Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Beets Hospitality Group 12-Hour House-Smoked Dry Rub Brisket with Homemade Smoky Paprika Pimiento Cheese in Crispy Risotto Shell
Best Classic Pairing: Rodrigue Molyneaux and Gan Restaurant
Wine: Rodrigue Molyneaux 2013 Chateau Molyneaux Merlot, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Garry Rodrigue)
Food: Beef “Wedding Cheeks” with Charred Korean Pepper Soubise, Crisp Potato and Pickled Red Daikon (chef: Peter Jee-Oh Chung)
Most Innovative Pairing: Dante Robere Vineyards and Lazy Dog
Wine: Dante Robere 2013 Roberitage, 50% Syrah 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley (winemakers: Dan Rosenberg and Bob Bossi)
Food: Minced Chicken in Lettuce Spears with Sweet Hoisin Sauce (chef: Adrian Rodrigues)
Judges’ Best Pairing: Wente Vineyards and The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
Wine: Wente Vineyards 2014 Small Lot Serenity, Livermore Valley (winemaker: Karl D. Wente)
Food: Berkshire Pork Sausage with Bing Cherry Mostarda and Riesling-Fermented Kraut (chef: Mike Ward)
Taste Our Terroir is the best food and wine pairing event I’ve attended. Here’s why:
- I appreciated the “doable” scale of the event that enables one to taste all 18 of the food and wine pairings
- The food offered was fantastic. I appreciated both the creativity and diversity of the pairings. It was obvious a lot of effort went into offering gourmet quality food and wine pairings. There wasn’t a dud pairing in the event for me.
- Save room for dessert! There was a Dessert room which featured wines from Cedar Mountain Winery & Port Works, Charles R Vineyards, Fenestra Winery, Les Chenes Estate Vineyards, and The Singing Winemaker and a remarkable assortment of delectable desserts.
- After tasting through the food and wine pairings I ventured out into the Casa Real patio where delightful wines from Darcie Kent Vineyards, Ehrenberg Cellars, Lone Dove Wines, Murrieta’s Well, and Vasco Urbano awaited.
- When you consider the quality of the food and the wines offered, the event offers very good value.
I wish I’d attended some of the other events! I highly recommend Livermore Valley Winegrowers “Taste Our Terroir”!
Sources: Judges Awards – The Mercury News – Livermore’s Taste Our Terroir Winners
Disclosure: I attended the event as a media guest. Opinions are my own
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