Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Prima Pinot Dinner a hit

By Jessica Yadegaran
Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 11:46 am in Corkheads.

Heavenly Pinot Noir winemakers’ dinner on May 19 at Prima in Walnut Creek. Wine director John Rittmaster always offers impressive line ups. His palate’s on the pulse, so to speak.

Prima Ristorante

Seven A-list domestic Pinot Noir producers, including Failla Wines and Etude Winery, poured wines that  showcased their Burgundian roots and yet brought the Cali thunder.

I was already familiar with Ehren Jordan’s wines and have long bowed at the altar of Etude’s Estate Pinot Noir, but was pleased to taste the balanced and truly lovely Estate Pinot Noir of White Rose, which produces around 2,500 cases from the eponymous vineyard located high in the Dundee Hills of Oregon.

The 2006 White Rose Estate Pinot Noir ($68) has a lot of depth of fruit, particularly dark cherries, but it finishes smooth and long, with a lot of cedar and earthy notes. Bust this baby out in two years and I think it’ll be stunning. They only made 198 cases of this wine, and I’m pretty sure Prima’s got most of it.

The best part of the evening was the food, courtesy of executive chef Peter Chastain. Each one was a home run, from the roasted Sonoma Duck Breast and Grape Salsa to the smoky agnollotti filled with ricotta and prosciutto. I know Prima’s an Italian restaurant, but Peter’s inspired and rustic slow-simmered Niman Ranch pork shoulder took me back to the Loire Valley and the fantastic saucy foods I enjoyed in Saumur and Vouvray.

OK, I was in the Loire last month so it wasn’t that long ago. But I’m telling you, it rocked. I hope he does more dishes like this in the future.

The next Prima winemakers’ dinner is on June 10 and focuses on Tuscan food and Chianti. The wines of  Querceto di Castellina in the heart of Chianti Classico will be showcased. It’s five courses for $88 (can’t beat that) and Peter’s making rabbit.  I seriously suggest you check this out. Call 925-935-7780.

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