headerleft.jpg headercenter.jpg headerright.jpg
navspacer.jpghome.jpgnavspacer.jpgnavspacer.jpgnavspacer.jpgnavspacer.jpgnavspacer.jpg
spacer.gif^ Livermore, CA | Paso Robles, CA | San Luis Obispo, CA | Santa Barbara, CA       >> Tasting Dispatches
yellow_spacer.jpg
yellow_spacer.jpg tastingpic.jpg

GET MORE INFO







yellow_spacer.jpg
curved_top_left.jpg curved_top_right.jpg
road_paso_header.jpg
FEBRUARY 2010: A Night in Provence via the Tavern Wine and Cheese Club

tavernwinecheese.jpgAs a devoteé of all things wine, I am on the constant lookout for events that allow me to expand my palate without hurting my pocketbook. It's rare to find me at large "Grand Tastings" because I find it difficult even with pouring/spitting to get my $50-$100 worth and still be able to function or remember what I drank. Living in Los Angeles, "bang for the buck" wine-centered evenings are few and far between so when I heard about the Tavern's bi-weekly Wine and Cheese Club, I was immediately in. The Larder, where the tasting takes place, is the casual cafe attached to Tavern, which is Suzanne Goin's latest restaurant venture. Even though I've never been to her reknowned wine bar A.O.C. – it's horrifying I know, I'll get there, I promise – I knew this was going to be good. It's what she does. Plus, four wines paired with cheese and nibbles for $29? There's nothing wrong with that equation. Except the drive, which thankfully for us was against traffic.

tavernglasses.jpgThe evening is very casual, though there is some "education" about the wine region being featured, the backstory behind each wine and why it was selected, as well as what they hoped to accomplish with each pairing. It was probably 5 minutes of information before each course, leaving you plenty of time to socialize with your dining companions while savoring the pairings. Questions are encouraged, but not necessary to the enjoyment of the evening. Caroline Styne, the restaurant's co-owner and wine director, usually runs the event, but she was ill that evening, so Amy Christine, one-time sommelier at A.O.C. and currently a winemaker (Black Sheep Finds) and importer, stepped in to lead the evening.

tavernolivesdates.jpgWe were a bit concerned about the amount of food – we like to eat – so we arrived a bit early and took advantage of the small bites at the modern, yet cozy Tavern bar. The warm olives and bacon-wrapped dates were great and really hit the spot. They were also needed since this was not a full dinner. We also had a glass of wine...before the wine tasting. I know, what can I say? We were just hedging our bets against small pours or wines we didn't like. If anything, it helped us pass the time.

Since 90% of what I drink at home is California wine, I try to explore other regions when I venture out. Thus, a night of wines from Provence. While I'm a big fan of the Rhone Valley, just up the road from this region, I haven't had a lot of experience tasting Provencal vino, except for the occasional rosé. I was happy to find the pours to be quite substantial (at least 3-4oz), which gave the geeks like me plenty of time to swirl and take notes. I loved that they provided not only a menu of the evenings pairings, but a little booklet which described each wine and cheese and gave ample room to add your own musings. A classy, thoughtful touch and something that I greatly appreciated. I apologize in advance for the quality of some of the pics. I took them with my iPhone. So here's what we had:

taverncheese2.jpg
Tome de Bordeaux with baguette & Hazelnuts
with 2008 Domaine Gavoty Cuvée Clarenden
tavernmussels.jpg
Mussels & Clams with Aioli Toast
with 2009 Domaine Gavoty Tradition Rosé

tavernmeatballs.jpg
Lamb Meatballs with Feta, Currants & Pinenuts
with 2008 Mas de Gourgonnier
taverncheese1.jpg
Romao al Romero with Black Olive & Marconas
with 2007 Domaine du Dragon
Cuvée St. Michel

All in all, it was a delightful evening, that definitely delivered a touch of Provence to a cold winter night. The pairings were spot on, adding dimension to the wines – none of which blew me away, but all well-crafted and enjoyable examples of what the region has to offer. The wines and cheeses were also available for purchase after the event. With plenty of snobbery in the wine world, this was a fun and unpretentious way to learn. Now if only they would post their upcoming schedule on their website, so I could plan where I want to "visit" next.

Every first and third Monday of the month from 7–8:30pm. Call the restaurant for reservations and schedule. (310) 806-6464.

Tavern, 11648 San Vincente Blvd., Los Angeles





curved_bot_left.jpg curved_bot_right.jpg
yellow_spacer.jpg
yellow_spacer.jpg
HOME | On the Road | Tasting Notes | A Foreign Affair | Wine Basics

About DWD | Wine Links | Contact Us

©2011 Daily Wine Dispatch