Well now, THAT was fun. The 2012 Dark and Delicious, a food and wine event presented by the PS I Love You organization, was on February 17th and we had a great time. We reached our goals of revisiting some old friends, discovering a few new wineries, and eating delicious treats. We’ve already marked our calendars for next year.
First, let us set the stage. The event was at Rock Wall Winery in Alameda, in a barrel room where the barrels had been stacked against the walls (adding to the atmosphere) and the event participants were about 60 wineries and 30 food vendors. Wandering around the room, wine tasting and food nibbling, were about 750 people. The atmosphere was cozy and cordial, sometimes edging towards cramped but never quite making it there. It was all quite civilized.
There was plenty of food as well, a nice feature for an event of this size. Although a few vendors ran out of food about halfway through the event, during the last 30 minutes there was still plenty of paella, pulled pork sandwiches, meatballs, pork crostini, cupcakes, nuts, cheese, focaccia, fudge and other confections available.
So what were the highlights? Let us share….
Favorite Winery Offerings at 2012 Dark and Delicious
Clayhouse was pouring several of their wines, but our favorite was the 2008 Show Pony Petite Sirah. The estate Red Cedar Vineyard has one block of old vine Petite Sirah that produces consistently great wine. That’s partly because of the age of the vines, but also because of soil conditions and pruning (head and cordon training). The vines are also planted on their own roots. Paso Robles, California (805) 238-7055
Concannon Vineyard was pouring their 2007 Captain Joe’s Reserve Petite Sirah, 2007 Nina’s Cuvée Reserve Petite Sirah, and 2006 Heritage Petite Sirah. All three were quite nice but our favorite was the Heritage, their “best of the best” which is only made in the years when the fruit is exceptional. Concannon Vineyard is the home of America’s First Petite Sirah, having introduced the first varietally labeled Petite Sirah in 1964, although we didn’t discover them until their famous 1985 vintage. Livermore, California (800) 258-9866
Mounts Family Winery was sharing their 2007 and 2009 Estate Petite Sirahs, as well as their 2008 PETASERA Reserve Petite Sirah. Of the three we liked the 2009 Estate the most. David and Lana Mounts launched their winery in 2005 in the Dry Creek Valley and now produce almost 3000 cases of wine per year (we’re also big fans of their Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc). Healdsburg, California (707) 292-8148
Robert Biale Vineyards were pouring their 2008 Thomann Station, 2008 Royal Punishers, and 2009 Like Father Like Son (a Petite Sirah and Zinfandel Blend). We liked all three of them, and even have some of the 2008s in our cellar already as we are actually Black Chicken Society (wine club) members at Robert Biale Vineyards. Napa, California (707) 257-7555
Shadowbrook Winery is based in Walnut Creek (of all places). At Dark and Delicious we enjoyed their 2007 Petite Sirah, which was grown in the Mt. Diablo foothills and resulted in only 93 cases. Shadowbrook doesn’t have a tasting room, but members of their wine club are able to visit on event days. Walnut Creek, California (925) 988-9463
Tres Sabores was sharing their 2009 Petite Sirah and it was one of our favorite wines of the evening. Tres Sabores (“three flavors” in Spanish) grows organically certified Zinfandel, Cabernet, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot grapes. They also make a Sauvignon Blanc. St. Helena, California (707) 967-8027
Trueheart Vineyard had their 2009 Petite Sirah available for tasting, which was the first time we’d tried wine from this producer. We liked it a lot and it should age very well. This is a small family vineyard in the city of Sonoma focused on producing a limited quantity of Petite Sirah wine. Released in October 2011, only 208 cases of this wine were made although their 2010 vintage will have a larger production. Sonoma, California (707) 939-1252
Twisted Oak was quite generous in their offerings, having brought their 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008 Petite Sirahs for pouring. Of the four, the 2004 turned out to be our favorite. As at most wine tastings, the Twisted Oak table had a friendly and laid-back server offering the wines surrounded by rubber chickens. Murphys, CA and Vallecito, CA (209) 736-9080
Favorite Food Offerings at 2012 Dark and Delicious
Big Jim’s BBQ/Smokehouse was serving up Pulled Pork Sliders that were warm, spicy, and delicious. San Rafael, CA (415) 203-4744
California Rose was offering a Seared Pork Loin on Sourdough Crostini with Chimichurri Sauce which had people coming back for seconds (and thirds) just for that sauce. Berkeley, CA (510) 644-4473
Coco Tutti is a confectioner with a broad range of caramels, bon bons, and truffles but our favorites were the Liquid Vanilla Caramel, the Lemon Lavender, and the Florentine (citrus scented caramel rolled in roasted almonds). Rock Wall Winery in Alameda, CA and Serendipity Chocolate Shop in San Carlos, CA
DK Catering offered some excellent BBQ Pulled Pork Crostini which had a nice zing due to the cilantro. Rohnert Park, CA (707) 585-2900
Fraiche Catering did an excellent job in coming up with a dessert that went well with Petite Sirah but didn’t overpower the wine – their Chocolate Blackberry Climax Cupcakes were astounding. Danville, CA (925) 683-2800
Fumé Bistro & Bar was plating up a Poblano Braised Pork with Cumin Scented Tortillla Chips all night, and it was hot and scrumptious. Napa, CA (707) 257-1999
Nosh This was drawing them in with their thick, chewy, and delicious Bacon Salted Caramel, a gateway drug to their Bacon Crack (butter-toffee with bacon and almonds) which is available online and in some stores such as Bi-Rite Market and Fatted Calf Charcuterie. San Francisco, CA (415) 570-9701
The Dark and Delicous event is a lovely, comfortably-sized food and wine event which helps fund P.S. I Love You, an advocacy organization whose mission is to promote, educate, and legitimize Petite Sirah. The organization currently has almost 60 winery participants, and accepts public members as PS Groupies, who receive benefits such as early invitations to events such as Dark and Delicious at a discounted rate, VIP entrance to events, Annual BBQ with winemakers, and a T-shirt. Click here to learn more about the organization and how to join.