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Monday, November 7, 2011

Trinchero Wine Dinner at Casa Rustica

Last week I attended a Trinchero Wines dinner at Casa Rustica here on Long Island.  The food at Casa Rustica is consistently excellent and this dinner was very enjoyable.  Some of the wines were very nice as well but some were less than what I had expected.

We began with the Trinchero Mary’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc paired with a mushroom strudel (wild mushroom, puff pastry, and goat cheese).  The pairing was good - the wine is a pale straw color with lots of citrus including lemon and grapefruit and underlying mineral characteristics.  However, I often find that some of the California Sauvignon Blancs are lacking in identity a bit in that I can’t quite pinpoint a particular characteristic that defines them.  While I liked this wine, nothing really stood out about it.
Next was the Napa Cellars (Trinchero’s second label) Pinot Noir, paired with fettuccine with butternut squash and lobster.  The dish was excellent but the wine was unimpressive to me.  Red and showing characteristics of some cherry and very light spice, the wine seemed very thin - the acidity was there but there was almost no texture.  When drinking a Pinot Noir I generally expect a soft, velvety feel to accompany the acidity, and I wasn’t feeling that at all.

We then went back to white with the Napa Cellars Chardonnay, paired with pan seared scallops in a sweet corn puree, and both the dish and the wine were very enjoyable.  The Chardonnay is very much a California wine but done so tastefully and not at all heavy or overoaked.  The wine is a somewhat light golden color with characteristics of citrus and a lot of orchard fruit (apple, pear, and a bit of peach), some soft baking spices, a bit of vanilla, and a smooth buttery texture that keeps the wine feeling smooth yet the acidity comes through and keeps the palate feeling clean, making this Chardonnay particularly food friendly.  Just before the long finish, there is just a slight taste of caramel, one of my favorite characteristics in properly made American Chardonnay.  I would go for this wine again anytime.
In my opinion, the star of the tasting was the Trinchero Meritage, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc, paired with veal tenderloin in a Madeira sauce.  The wine is dark in color with a bit of a reddish rim, and characteristics of both dark and red fruit and lots of blackberry, with soft spices, a very smooth feel, and a wonderful balance of acidity and tannin, with a long and smooth finish.  I was especially pleased by this wine.

We finished the dinner with the Terra d’Oro Moscato paired with a pumpkin creme brulee.  The pairing was fun and delicious and I enjoyed the Moscato.  It’s pale in color with lots of peach aroma and flavor, and nice acidity behind the sweetness.


  1. As always, great post Jac. You sold me on the Moscato and the buttery Chadonnay. BTW, I have to ask...are Moscato and Muscat the similar wines from different countries? Or are they totally dissimilar?

  2. Muscat is a huge family of grapes (relatively the same type) grown around the world, Moscato is basically the Italian member of the family, grows a lot in Piedmont and is used in sparklers like Asti...but Moscato can be elsewhere, e.g. California. They’re lovely and can be a bit more elegant or just a lot of fun!

  3. Really cool post, it was really enjoyable!