Friday, February 1, 2019

January 31, 2019 Lunch - Gabriel’s. Taos Winter Wine Festival Reserve Tasting

I ate yogurt, granola, and Tropical fruit salad for breakfast.

We got ready to leave by noon.

Billy and Elaine drove the Highlander to pick up Mickie and Rebecca at the airport and then drove to Gabriel’s at Nambe for lunch.  Suzette and I followed in the Prius at around 12:30.  Willy left at around 2:30 and drove directly to the tasting at Monte Sagrado in Taos.

When we arrived at Gabriel’s they were just finishing the large bowl of tableside made guacamole.  Soon their orders arrived.  Billy got enchiladas, Elaine got vegetarian tamales, Rebecca ordered Posole and I forgot what Mickie ordered.  Suzette ordered tortilla soup with a side of sour cream and I ordered a Caesar salad with anchovies.  I loved m Caesar salad with anchovies and Suzette liked her soup, but Elaine’s vegetarian tamales were mostly masa, with very little filling.

                                                           Tortilla Soup
Caesar Salad 
The remnants of vegetarian tamales

The rest of the family departed before we did and were at the Posada at around 4:15 when we arrived.  Like so many buildings in Taos, the posada has a very specific history related to the artist community in Taos, specifically the Taos Society of Artists that started in 1897.  The posada is the house E. I. Couse built as a wedding gift for his daughter according to the literature provided on line.  It is a roomy four bedroom house with big kitchen and a huge sala which currently holds with table and chairs set to serve 14.

We did not stay long.  We left at 4:40 for Monte Sagrado and arrived at 4:50.  I discussed the ticket refund with Sam, who is the new coordinator and assured me I would get my refund by Saturday.

We then waited outside until 5:00 in line with the crowd, many of whom were regulars.  I said hello to Byron, who I helped start the 20-30 Equestrian Event probably 30 years ago and is an avid wine guy and a Gene Vance, who is an equally avid wine guy and went to UT law school and is practicing in Albuquerque.

There are two rooms devoted to food and wine at Monte Sagrado.  We went to the coat racks to hang up our coats beside the farthest and smaller room, so we started there, since it was a little more intimate.

Suzette’s instructions were to find a drinkable rose’ for less than $10.00.  My intent was to not drink or eat too much and to try wines I had not had before that were less than top tier.  For example, Mickie and Rebecca went to Ridge immediately to taste their Cab Sauvignon, which is considered one of the best or the best in America, but I never went to Ridge’s table.  Suzette and I usually drink
Champagne, roses, whites, and then reds chronologically.

I was immediately attracted to a table near the door that offered a Calvert rose champagne, one of my favorite categories.  It was manned by a young Frenchman, who poured the champagne and told me it was from the newest appellation in Bordeaux, Cremante Du Bordeaux.  It was lovely. And sitting beside it was a rose I had never seen before from the Taur appellation, which I was told is a small appellation near Montpellier in Southwestern France.  I asked who the importer’s distributor was and he said National and the wholesale price of the rose and he said $7.00.  I immediately found Suzette and brought her to the table.   When Suzette arrived and tried the wines, she loved them.  She tried a white Bordeaux at the same table that was very interesting, also.  Then Suzette’s National representative showed up and Suzette ordered a case each of the white and rose.  I felt a bit like my mission to find a drinkable rose for the Greenhouse Bistro was accomplished, so turned my attention to food and other wines.  Nearby was the Love Apple that was serving a smoked trout rillette infused with caramelized onion and sherry served on a corn chip, which was very nice.  Willy arrived at 5:15 and hooked up with Rebecca and Mickie.  Here is a picture of them.

Mickie asked for a recommendation for a red and I pointed to the Alexander Valley Winery next to the Calvert table.  Suzette and I tried a smoked pork belly garnished with microgreens and a homemade pickle at a new restaurant to me named ACEQ.  This is the fun of the Reserve Tasting.  The discovery of new good restaurants and wines.  Although we ate and drank for two hours, I was completely satisfied in the first twenty minutes.  I found our Argentinian friends who were offering Spanish wines including a Priorat named Nestor than was wonderful in another corner of the small room and suggested that the kids try it since it is a more French style red blend..

Suzette wanted to try Spanish wines and went to the larger room in serve of some.  She soon found the LAN producer with a table of them, where I learned something new.  I usually have thought that the more age the better the wine but LAN turned that assumption on its head.  They were serving luscious single vineyard wines from vines that had been in production since the 1920’s that were labeled Cosecha because they were bottled a year after produced and had not been aged.  I immediately recognized that age does not equate with quality, because I had bought a case of Origon Gran Reserva that requires five years of aging that was a 60% Tempranillo and 40% Syrah that was not very drinkable.  Neither Billy or Suzette liked it.

Here are pictures of two new offerings.

The other new discovery was My Beautiful Winery, which is located in the Willamette Valley in a subregion about ten miles from the Dundee Hills that had a lovely fruity 100% Pinot Noir rose and Pinot Noir.  We ate and tasted for another hour and I ended by trying several old favorites including Beaux Freres Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Cuvee and finally Stoller family’s Pinot Noir with a plate of Lambert’s beef short rib with polenta and a chocolate tart.

I guess another stand out food item of a different nature was Common Grounds’ cheese and kimchi sandwiches on homemade bread grilled in their big grill.  It was cheesy and spicy and bready.  It was not the elegantly refined food I usually prefer but it made a big impression.

I can not tell you everything I ate and drank, but I can encourage you to step inside the vortex of these two rooms where you can satisfy your taste for fine wine and food to your heart’s content.  It is the best food and wine experience in N.M. for $95.00.  Suzette and I have been coming for twenty years and now my family has joined us and we see the same people year after year, although this year there seemed to be a large contingent of younger folks, which gave it a more festive atmosphere, like this young lady who posed for my final photo.

At 7:00 we drove home and Rebecca, Mickie, and Willy went exploring and Suzette and I watched the news and went to bed.

Bon Appetit

No comments:

Post a Comment