Friday, April 15, 2011

Wine Tasting at McCormick & Schmick's

My husband and I love McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant.  This is a chain restaurant but you would never know it by its wonderful service, fantastic fresh food and lovely ambience. You can book your reservation through Open Table. This reservation system allows you to make special requests directly to the maitre d'. McCormick & Schmick's tries to honor these requests if possible. We have a special booth that we like to sit in, so I will request it and almost always get it. Once it was our wedding anniversary and they printed out a special menu congratulating us on our special day. I also asked to be put on their email list to find out about special events. One day in early March I got notice that they were having a cocktail dinner featuring a four course meal plus appetizers and deserts and wine parings for $60.00 per person including tax and gratuity!!! We usually pay at least that much for a bottle of wine, so we knew this was something we would not miss.

On April 8, 2011 we arrived for our 6:30 reservation. We were seated in a private dining area with about 30 other patrons. The winery hosting the event was Murphy-Goode a winery located in the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County.  The winery was founded in 1985 by three good friends and later sold to neighbor Jess Jackson in 2006. Although they have changed owners, according to their website "...the [original] tradition continues: friendship, hard work, a wicked sense of humor and, of course, a good bottle of wine."

We were quickly introduced to the wine representative, my apologies for not remembering her name, and McCormick's & Schmick's young sous chef Mr. Avery Blair. This was his first night to have total control of planning and supervising an entire menu and also talking before his patrons. By evenings end he seemed at ease and throughly delighted the dinners with his charming personality and good food.


Welcome Canapes
Lobster Mouse
Stuffed  Pea Pods
Mini Sushi Bites
Assorted Cheese and Crackers

This was paired with Murphy-Goode Gaga Blanc a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier with aromas of apricot and vanilla with flavors of crisp pear.

First Course
Ahi "Proscuitto" Wrapped Sea Scallop with Gorgonzola Grits
and Chardonnay Butter

This was paired with Murphy-Goode Chardonnay with aromas and flavors of red apple, pear and tropical fruits with streaks of lemon creme and hints of vanilla.

Second Course
Wild Boar Ravioli with Herbal Tonic, Field Mushroom Cake and Pinot Noir Syrup

This was paired with Murphy Good Pinot Noir with aromas and flavors of black cherry, dried sage and sweet vanilla.

Parsley-Lemon Granita

Fourth Course
Pan Roasted Airline Chicken Breast Stuffed with a Zinfandel Jardanier and Lacquered with Orange and Zinfandel, Paired with a Timbale of Herb Potatoes

This was paired with Murphy-Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandel which had tastes of the rich fruit flavors of black cherry and blackberry jam with soft tannins that perfectly balance the sweetness of the fruit.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Torte 
Nocello Au Lait-Hazelnut Brittle

This was paired with Murphy-Goode Cabernet Sauvignon that has bright flavors of black berries and cherries.

What fun we had. If you ever have the opportunity to go to one of these events you should. We were not familiar with the Murphy-Goode brand, but it will now be one we will keep an eye out for. All the wines we tasted that night were in the $14 to $15 per bottle range with the exception of the Zinfandel priced at $24.00. All the wines were good, but I have to say the Zinfandel was my favorite.

I tip my hat to sous chef Avery Blair and his kitchen and wait staff.  As always McCormick & Schmick's put on a fabulous dinner.

PS - The Nocello Au Lait-Hazelnut Brittle is to die for! 

Life is good - enjoy!

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