2010 California Sauvignon Blanc: the first wine we tasted and the overall favorite of the evening. It was light and crisp with hints of grapefruit, mandarin orange and pear. It also had a bit of a buttery overtone, not surprising since it had been aged for six months in American Oak. Ginger prepared a beautifully presented orzo pasta salad to accompany this wine. The salad’s ingredients included tomato, artichoke hearts, garbanzo beans, feta cheese and a nice piece of baked parmesan-coated chicken. Most of us loved this wine and felt the pasta salad complemented the wine since the pasta was not highly seasoned. Cost: $22.
2010 South Coast Viognier: a light Viognier with smooth buttery notes and a lingering floral finish. This wine was matched with Todd Montgomery’s shrimp/pineapple skewers marinated in an Asian sesame, ginger sauce and were dramatically presented on a bed of cilantro with sprigs of aromatic rosemary. Most of us agreed that this dish was an even better match with the Sauvignon Blanc than with the Viognier. Ginger cookies also enhanced this wine. Cost: $22
2009 Ramona Valley Tempranillo: an estate Tempranillo with a nice, mellow nose and tastes of cherry and raspberry. Robine Dohrn-Simpson had prepared a beautifully arranged charcuterie platter with paté, cornichons, white cheddar, herbed beef and sausage. Although these treats were wonderful, this particular, soft Tempranillo seemed to go best with the desserts, such as the ginger cookies and chocolate caramel turtles. Cost: $26
2007 Ramona Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: an extensively barrel-aged cab with a tart cranberry nose. Roger Paige had creatively prepared a platter of pastrami on sliced French bread topped with red pepper tapenade, accompanied by a cheese roll and the ginger cookies. The pastrami went well with the wine as did the white cheddar from the other platter. And, again, the ginger cookies were a great match. Cost: $29
2007 Private Reserve South Coast Syrah: a dark peppery wine with a deep berry nose and strong hints of mint. Janene Roberts had created an aromatic and delicious pizza with herbs, garlic, thyme and oregano that was a good match with the Syrah but also went well with the Tempranillo. Cost: $27
2008 Picpoul Blanc Dessert Wine: a delicious white dessert wine that could have been called a white port if it had been named before the 2006 TTB (Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax & Trade Bureau) law banning all fortified wines from being called port if they were made outside of the Porto region of Portugal. Our group really enjoyed this wine with a variety of desserts brought by Linda Kissam, including macaroons, chocolate caramel turtles, stilton cheese with apricot, small tiramisu candies, and walnuts. It also went well with the white cheddar. Cost: $32
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Dessert Wine: another delectable dessert wine with hints of chocolate and cherries. This wine also went well with the desserts and cheeses and was a nice way to finish the evening of tasting and pairing wines. Cost: $34
All these wines are available in the Eagles Nest tasting room, located at 18261 Chablis Rd. in Ramona. The tasting room is open most of the time; however, you should call first to let them know you are coming. Phone number is: 760-505-8229. For more information go to their website. Group photo: Roger Paige Other photos: Todd Montgomery