Last evening I attended a wine dinner at KroMel's Restaurant at 407 Main Street in Stoneham.
The menu was:
Caymus Conundrum 2005
Ahi Tuna Sashimi, Crispy Sushi Rice Cake, Melon Salad, and Kaffir Lime
Duckhorn Goldeneye Pinot Noir 2004
Tea Smoked Salmon Rillette, Gingered Strawberry Compote, Crispy Baguette, Beet Greens
Buehler Napa Cabernet 2004
Spring Greens Tossed with Great Hill Blue Cheese, Fresh Blackberries finished with White Truffle and Honey Vinaigrette
Caymus Cabernet 2004
Pan Roasted Beef Strip loin, Yuka and Potato Rosti, Rainbow Carrots, Red Wine Jus
Vanilla Chai Crème Brulee, Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
I began the night with high hopes as the wine choices were exceptional and the dinner choices were quite intriguing. So, would those expectations be met?
As we were seated, we were given a glass of the 2005 Caymus Conundrum (about $30 retail). I must note that this is one of my favorite white wines. It is an alluring blend of several different varietals, presenting a harmonious melding of various citrus fruit flavors. It is crisp and has a slight tinge of sweetness. A very pleasant way to begin the evening. We soon were served a bread basket containing three different types of bread, all very fresh, and several thin, crunchy breadsticks.
Our first dish then arrived, the ahi tuna sashimi. This consisted of a thin slice of fresh ahi tuna, atop shredded melon pieces sitting on the sushi rice cake with some lime at the very bottom. This was quite an interesting and very tasty dish. It was a good mix of flavors and textures, from the silky smooth tuna to the crunchy rice cake with the crisp melon and lime. I could have eaten several of the rice cakes. The dish paired very well with the Conundrum.
The second wine of the evening was the 2004 Duckhorn Goldeneye Pinot Noir (about $50 retail). I am also a big Pinot Noir fan and knew a bit about this wine though I had never tasted it before. It is considered an excellent Pinot. I most definitely agree. It is a full bodied Pinot Noir, much darker than most Pinots. It had some earthiness too it, as well as flavors of dark berries, and a nice, lingering finish. A phenomenal wine!
This was paired with the salmon rillette. This dish consisted of a bed of beet greens, with a mound of the tea smoked salmon rillette, accompanied with three, long crisp baguettes. There was also a bit of gingered strawberry compote. There was plenty of salmon and it had a very nice smoky flavor. It spread well on the baguettes and paired excellently with the Pinot. This was another very tasty dish.
Our next wine was the 2004 Buehler Napa Cabernet Sauvignon (about $25 retail). This wine had the misfortune in some respects to be sandwiched between the Pinot and the Caymus Cabernet. It is not in the same league as those two wines, but it is impressive in relation to its peers. It is a very good Cabernet, especially for the price. It is very smooth with a decent finish and the tannins are not overpowering. At this price point, the Buehler should be near the top of the list.
This Cabernet was paired with our salad dish, a bed of spring greens with the addition of blue cheese and blackberries. All topped by a white truffle and honey vinaigrette. The blue cheese was flavorful without being overly pungent. The blackberries were fresh and sweet. And the vinaigrette was mild, adding flavor without detracting from everything else. The Cabernet went well with the different flavors of the salad.
The final wine of the evening was the 2004 Caymus Cabernet (about $70 retail) which is another one of my favorite wines. This famed Cabernet justifiably earns its high reputation. It is a superb wine with many layers of complexity. And it was paired with the entrée, a beef strip loin, which is a perfect choice.
The strip loin was quite tender, juicy and flavorful. It was accompanied by a intriguing yuka and potato rosti, kind of like hashed browns. It had a very nice taste with a good crunchy feel. There were also rainbow carrots. I finished everything on my plate and there was plenty of food.
Finally, for dessert, we had a Vanilla Chai Crème Brulee with two chocolate shortbread cookies. This crème brulee had a very unique taste with the chair flavors and I enjoyed it very much. It had the typical crusty layer covering the smooth and creamy interior. That alone would have been sufficient for dessert but the cookies were a nice touch.
Service was excellent, and we had several individuals serving us over the evening. The good staff of Rapid Liquors was present and Doug discussed each of the wines when they were served.
Overall, this was an excellent wine dinner, and well worth the price. We both were sated when we left. My initial high hopes were met and I am very glad I attended the dinner. I do look forward to their future wine dinners.
I should also note that I went out today and purchased some of the Duckhorn and Buehler wines as they both impressed me.