01 November, 2011

All Saint's Day = Santa Julia Wine DInner

It might be All Saint's Day today, but I wanted to focus on one special saint, Santa Julia.  I was lucky enough to get to go as Luscious Lush Thea's plus one (always fun! you can read her notes here:)  to one of my favorite SF spots, Destino,  and then we got to sample delicious cocktails made with a fortified wine called "Malamado", We tried the Malbec Malamado expertly cocktailed up by the talented team at Pisco.  So delicious! I had a "Caipiramado" which was a caipirinha style drink made with Malbec Malamado instead of cachaca. Malamado is a fortified wine with porty characteristics, but lighter and less alcoholic and retaining all of the charm of the wine at its base.  It was tasty on its own, but when expertly prepared into imaginative adult beverages,  I could have knocked back four; standing and walking seemed overrated compared to the delights of the drink.  Especially when used to create a unique pairing experience by melding the liquor with the sauce on grilled sweetbreads.  Yum!  And then on to the some lovely courses of dinner paired with the awesome QPR Santa Julia wines.  The standout pairings for me were:
1 ) '10 Santa Julia, Torrontes, Mendoza Argentina : A crisp fragrant wine that stood up to the spices in the homemade empanada.  Delish! At $10, a steal!
2)  '09 Santa Julia, Reserva Malbec, Mendoza Argentina: With the grilled leg of lamb it was magical, and I am not a lover of lamb, but will frequently try it and seldom like it.  This was a great dish elevated by a great pairing.  Yummy notes of cherry and dark spice elevated the succulent lamb.  For $12, even better!
3) Santa Julia Tardio, Late Harvest Torrontes. Mendoza Argentina: Transcendent flavors of stone fruit and hope.  Not cloying, but super sweet.  The tender puff pastry brushed with dulce de leche was a great match and something I want to try at home.

Plus we got to sit with Julia Zuccardi, the namesake and leader of this line.  The family Zuccardi is committed to sustainability but also makes sure to include a social component to their efforts.  All workers get subsidized health care and free education, to make Santa Julia not just a great place to work, but a good place, too.
Many thanks to Kate Regan and Lee Schlesinger for a great event and Julia Zuccardi and Chef Ana Rodriguez Armisen for the yummy work product!  And of course Thea for the invite!
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