Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Vine & Wine Dines

If that headline has you puzzled, it was done purposely. The MRG (Middle Rio Grande) chapter of the Vine & Wine Society held a wine dinner recently that celebrated New Mexico wines and wine makers. A number of organizations hold wine dinners for fund raisers or a thank you to members for their volunteer work. Few can do it with the style and enthusiasm of those in the wine industry. The Vine & Wine Society proved that once again.

The dinner was held in late November and featured the wines of Casa Rondéna. Since I’m also a society member, it only took me a millisecond to decide to RSVP. Casa Rondéna is one of the premier wineries in New Mexico, and John Calvin the owner also has the most beautiful premises for a winery in the state. The dinner was held in the Hyatt Tamaya Resort in Bernalillo at the Corn Maiden restaurant. If the wines served hadn’t enticed me, the venue sure would.

The appetizers included some outstanding cheeses before we sat down to dinner, and each course was well prepared, particularly the veal chop for the main course. The only problem was the wines were slightly out of synch with each course. The 2008 Viognier would have gone perfectly with the cheeses, but they were just a memory on my tongue by the time this wine showed up. That did not deter the enjoyment of each wine John had brought, however.

The 2005 Founder’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was big and rich enough to stand up to the best Napa Cabs. Even better, John lined up the 2006 Clarion blend of Temperanillo and Syrah with a dash of Cab, another favorite of mine, and his 2006 Meritage blend that wins converts all the time. Three very good reds for the main course presented an embarrassment of riches, but I managed to bear up. The dessert was topped off with the 2006 Animante, a ruby port made with the Cabernet Sauvignon grape rather than the ubiquitous Zinfandel of most California ports. Perhaps now you can see why I attended.

In case you aren’t familiar with the Vine & Wine Society, we provide support for both grape growers and wine makers. The annual NM State Fair wine competition is sponsored and judged by us. We are all wine lovers and enjoy the company of others who work with the grape and the vine, and a wine dinner is a great way to have that all come together. We seize any opportunity that includes sharing food and wine and the expertise that makes those possible. Please check out the link above for more information on our organization.

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