We got this email about this special dinner the day before it was scheduled, so obviously they hadn't done a good job keeping their Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Club members informed, BUT we noticed that Nicki Pruss, the head winemaker, was hosting the dinner. Nicki is an old friend of a good friend of ours, so we just had to go, even on a Thursday night! He hadn't seen her in over 20 years, so it was fun to take her unawares and surprise her.
We love Stag's Leap Wine Cellars AND Stags' Leap Winery... usually there is lots of confusion about two wineries with almost the same name, but look again at the names, noticed the difference in the apostrophe? Stag's Leap is the actual name of the area, called an AVA (American Viticulture Area) and both wineries are, of course, located there. Stag's Leap Wine Cellars is the more well known winery as they won the 1976 Paris Tasting (ya know, from the 'Bottle Shock' Movie?). They have a great tasting room right on the Silverado Trail Road, friendly people, which includes Nicki!
We first became aware of the "other" Stags' Leap Winery, when we splurged on our first "expensive" bottle of wine at dinner one night, and instantly we fell in love with the wine, a Petit Syrah! Stags' Leap Winery is located on estates that have been producing wine since 1888 and the winery includes an incredible manor house and gardens. This winery isn't open to the public with tastings, you need to make a reservation to visit and get your taste, and only about 20 people a day can be accommodated. It takes over 2 hours and it is worth every penny.
El Gaucho, an iconic Seattle Steak House, and executive chef Matt Brandsey, did a great job with the dinner. The function was in their Wine Cellar Room which was a great room for an intimate gathering of the 14 people at the dinner. We met some great people, including a couple QFC Wine Stewards and their spouses. I love that QFC is so aware of what is out there for great wines for their customers. Talk to your wine stewards folks, these guys are very knowledgeable and LOVE to talk wine (or Port!!!) with you.
P.S. did I mention the chef, Matt Brandsey, was about twenty something and completely gorgeous AND nice? Well, he was...
Here's the menu that we enjoyed at :
Grilled Weathervane Scallop Duo-
Thai chili-cilantro cream-wasabi tobiko and the other "Rockefeller style"
Served with 2008 Stag's Leap Sauvignon Blanc
Braised Shellfish- Lobster, crab, prawns, mango, avocado, lemon butter
Served with 2008 KARIA Chardonnay
Grilled Angus Filet Mignon with roquefort, grilled tevsio, with
hand formed gnocchi and beurre noisette
Served with 2007 FAY Estate- Grown Cabernet Sauvignon
Grilled Lamb Loin with minted lentils, cippolini onions and dijon demi
Serve with 2007 SLV Estate- Grown Cabernet Sauvignon
Cheese Course- Blue Cheese, dates and crackers
Served with 2006 Cask 23 Estate-Grown Cabernet Sauvignon
Mini cream brulees, mini chocolate ganache squares, mini apple bread puddings.