Cuda Ridge Wines and Zephyr Grill & Bar Combine for Gourmet Wine Pairing Dinner

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A standing ovation would not be sufficient to show the attendees appreciation for the gourmet food and exquisite wines paired last evening. Zephyr Grill & Bar restaurant in Brentwood (also Livermore & Smith’s Landing in Antioch) under the ownership of Randy Tei and his staff went all in to prepare unusual and elegant food pairings.

Photo ©Michael Kelly

Larry Dino, owner and winemaker for Cuda Ridge Wines and his wife Margie showcased why he has become one of the premier winemakers in Livermore Valley. Tonight was to highlight some of his “Bordeaux regional” wines including Sémillon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and his newest Carménère.

Photo ©Michael Kelly

The tables were set impeccably and ready for the sold out feast to begin for forty plus individuals.

Photo ©Michael Kelly

First up for the evening was a seared Halloumi cheese salad topped with fennel, cucumber, asparagus, crusty capers and pomegranate seed with a pomegranate molasses dressing! Paired with his 2018 Sémillon with fruit flavors of lemon, apple, pear and green papaya. The presentation and wine complemented each other and appeared more like art than food!

Photo ©Michael Kelly

The second course was perhaps one of the best short ribs I have ever experienced. It was rubbed with cocoa and braised in Cabernet Franc. Served with celery root puree, mustard greens and a Cabernet Franc reduction sauce. Paired with the award winning 2018 Cabernet Franc with notes of pepper, tobacco and raspberry with a beautiful nose of violets. The short rib peeled off with just a fork and with each caressing sip of the wine, pure enjoyment overwhelmed the palate.

Photo ©Michael Kelly

Next up was in stark contrast being a duck Bolognese. Traditional sauce featuring vegetable mirepoix, Portobello mushrooms with fresh herbs and spices. Tossed with Ziti noodles. The duck was luscious and not gamey and the dark color 2018 Malbec softened and encased the duck sublimely with fruity flavors and velvety texture.

Photo ©Michael Kelly

The fourth course was perhaps the favorite of the evening. A filet mignon which you cut with only a fork, filled with fresh gorgonzola cheese and served with a Luxardo cherry demi sauce. Accompanied by a sweet potato mousse and seasonal vegetable Brunoise. Paired with his stellular and strong 2018 Petit Verdot with leather and aromas of field of violets.

Photo ©Michael Kelly

Before we come to the final course, the portions on each dish were a meal unto themselves! The pictures do not capture the enormity of the size. Now for the final pairing which was dessert. It was a deep brooding chocolate ganache tart served with pecans, poached pears, vanilla bean whipped cream. The description is only half the story as it capped off a two and a half hour meal. Served with a 2020 Carménère from the Insel Family Vineyards with a cavernous dark crimson color with cherry and earthy notes. Hints of dark chocolate and tobacco added to the dessert.

Photo ©Michael Kelly

Everyone at our table agreed gold medals should be awarded to the Executive Chef Jesus Martinez and his staff for his creativity and excellent food pairings. Perhaps all the attendees should also be given awards for completing the meal!!

For a delightful and beautiful meals, Zephyr Restaurant is a coveted destination, be it in Brentwood or Livermore. The exquisite wines last evening left no doubt of Larry Dino’s quest to be one of the top wine producers in Livermore.




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