Tavola 2006 Pinot Noir
(Willamette Valley, OR)
Caution: The following blog post may arouse feeling of jealousy, envy and/or an insatiable desire for Oregon Pinot Noir immediately upon reading. You've been warned.
Last weekend I joined a group of party people to Las Vegas to celebrate a friend's milestone birthday. It was an occasion to be remembered, full of good food, slot machines and several hilarious rounds of off-camera Fashion Police in the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace. (Nothing works up an appetite like giggling over neon spandex and knee-high black socks with bermuda shorts all day.)
Our favorite meal by far was had at DB Brasserie, Daniel Boulud's chic-but-caszh eatery inside the Wynn Resort and Country Club. It's not formal by any means, but crisp table cloths, sumptuous surroundings and impeccable service raise this restaurant to heights above and beyond grill and bar territory. Our party was seated right in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows that comprise one wall of the dining room. We were able to gaze directly out on a tranquil pond surrounded by evergreen-lined cliffs, which created a natural theater for a twice hourly show of holograms, music and lights. Every so often we would be treated to a fanciful mini-show - a tree frog singing Louis Armstrong or a disco-style dancing montage to the tune of Lady Marmalade.
None of this eye candy was any match for the menu, however, and we all hand-picked from the list of classic French and American bistro favorites to create our own dream meal of salads, soups and creatively comforting main dishes. I (bien sur) was tasked with choosing a wine to pair with this over-the-top meal and I must say that I've never been presented with such a unique challenge. What to match with Judy's Pate de Campagne, as well as Larry's Roasted Chicken and J.R.'s Crispy Duck Confit? The birthday boy himself was indulging in Loup de Mer in a very rich sauce, and is not a fan of any sort of overly bold, assertive wine (no heavy tannins for Mr. Gray, thank you very much).
Once it hit me, I knew the way to go, and selecting this Ponzi from the restaurant's list of Oregon Pinot Noirs was a breeze. I liked the friendly price-tag and Ponzi has a long history of doing great things in the Wilamette Valley, a region renowned for its production of precious Pinot. It turned out to be an excellent match for just about everything on the table. I savored it with mouthfuls of Scottish Salmon and Morel Cream, probably making little humming and purring noises without even knowing it. My attention was pulled from the show on the water; this wine was a performance in itself. Chocolate and spice and ripe fruit danced center stage against a luscious velvet curtain in the background. The aroma was like perfume and the color was garnet, with a touch of raspberry.
We all left sated, ready for a night on the town - especially the birthday boy himself. Money was won and more cocktails were had, and there was even a little dancing and a tank full of piranha at one point (ask me later). It was Vegas, baby, but this is a discovery that you can enjoy any night of the week.
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