Hungry Lobbyist – Sonoma County Winegrowers Shine at Charlie Palmer Steak

Sonoma County is recognized for its stunning views, immaculate landscaping, and iconic wine. However, did you know it is nearing 100% sustainability by the end of 2019? Last week Sonoma County Winegrower’s President Karissa Kruse led a small luncheon at Charlie Palmer Steak with vineyard owners to share their vision for the future of Sonoma wine.

The intimate event started with what else, but bubbles! Iron Horse’s 2014 Wedding Cuvée is a blush, sparkling wine with notes of raspberry and citrus.

From Charlie Palmer’s pre-set menu, we were able to select our appetizer and entrée. I started with the Tuna Tartare, presented on a bed of smashed avocado, chili ponzu, and sesame flatbread on the side. The chili ponzu is a Japanese, citrus-based sauce with a tangy, rich flavor that complimented the fresh tuna perfectly. Paired with the tuna was a flight of Sonoma white wines: Matanzas Creek 2017 Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Davus Bynum River West 2016 Chardonnay, and Sonoma Cutrer Founders Reserve 2016 Chardonnay. The Founder’s Reserve Chardonnay was superb, with notes of apple, hazelnut, and piecrust. It was full-bodied and creamy with underlying hints of roasted nuts.

Next came my entrée of a European-cut filet mignon, accompanied with the jumbo asparagus in citrus butter, sautéed mushrooms with caramelized onions, and Yukon gold potato puree served family style. Our next flight was a group of full-bodied Sonoma County reds. The Dutton Ranch 2017 Pinot Noir, Dry Creek Heritage Vines 2017 Zinfandel, and the Alexander Valley 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon all paired nicely with the filet. The one that stood out for me was the Heritage Vines 2017 Zinfandel. Silky and robust, this wine had notes of cranberry, cocoa powder, and nutmeg with lingering hints of black pepper and coffee.

The meal concluded with a selection of four kinds of cheese served with fruit, spiced nuts, bread, crackers, and house-made preserves. We happily grazed as a Sonoma vineyard owner discussed the sustainability he strives for with his 7th generation family farm. Another winemaker shared the story of her retirement venture vineyard purchase in 1998.

Both winegrowers are committed to the Sonoma County Winegrower’s mission to increase awareness of the quality and diversity of Sonoma County’s grapes and sustain the land for future growers. They also hope to reach the new generation of wine lovers through tastings and educational programs. Check out their website, download their new augmented reality app, or plan a visit to any of their 425 Sonoma County wineries!