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Left Bend Food – Wine Pairing: An Emotional Experience

By Brandy Miceli,

Have you ever tasted something so remarkably delectable that it actually brought tears to your eyes?
I had this exact experience with a course at the last Left Bend Food-Wine Pairing event on May 17. I know, it sounds cheesy—yes, some cheese was involved—but ultimately it was the divine flavor combination between a porcini eclair that chef Molly Bravo of Wylder Space crafted, paired with Left Bend’s 2013 Fellom Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon that incited this emotion in me.
A porcini eclair made with porcini dust, earthy wild mushroom sautée, thyme and Dublin cheddar was the fourth of this five course experience. The rich, salty savoriness of the dish blended incredibly well with the deep cherry, pine and oak notes of the Cab. Que the glimmer in my eye!
The whole experience leading up to the tears buttered me up for some emotions. It started with pure refreshment in the form of a chilled peach and lavender soup, garnished with creme fraiche, candied pecan dust and candied lavender flower. It had a perfect balance between sweet and tart, which combined heavenly with the guava notes and fizziness of the 2017 Vanumanutagi Vineyard Fiz Nat.  
Then came a beet ricotta agnolotti—handmade ravioli stuffed with red beet, thyme, ricotta and onion, served with vanilla saffron cream, creme fraiche and caviar paired with 2017 Redwing Vineyard Riesling. The dish was surprisingly light for having multiple creamy elements.
The third course was a chili-rubbed prawn with orange butter reduction sauce, sweet and savory with undertones of cinnamon & oregano, doused in a sweet, rich citrus sauce paired with the 2016 Gali Vineyard Chardonnay. I chose the vegetarian option, so I had tempeh instead of a prawn. The butteriness picked up the Chardonnay flavors beautifully, and the wine cut nicely through the toothsome creaminess of the dish.
You already know how the fourth course went. I wish I could return to that moment.
The fifth was a thyme, parmesan touille, with la tur goat cheese and rhubarb chutney. As Molly put it: “Sweet, tangy, spicy and salty, crunchy, creamy and rich, in one luscious bite.” Truer words couldn’t have been spoken about this dish. Paired with Left Bend’s 2015 Last Straw, it was notable how the parmesan’s saltiness complimented the wine’s raisin flavor.
Left Bend’s Wine Club receives first access to registration for these Food-Wine Pairing events, and they’re usually filled up before the public gets to know about them. Wine Club member Nancy Fischer—who, along with her husband Ted, has been a member since Left Bend opened—attended both the first and second pairing events and had rave things to say.
“I really like the personal attention to the guests and the short, but helpful commentaries,” she said. “The food this time was particularly delicious. So many different flavors combined to produce exquisite tastes. The pairing of the wine was well done. I’m not good at pairing food and wine, so I really enjoy the tastings.”
Nancy added that the individualized attention they receive as Left Bend Wine Club members is hard to come by.
“What makes them stand out to me is, yes, the wine, but also the personal touches,” she said. They are so welcoming when we come in, and of course greet us personally. They have a unique approach to events. We have been to a couple of the events that are in the location where they source their fruit. Particularly significant was the afternoon at Camel Hill. Not only did we meet the owners, enjoy their lovely home, but we were able to interact with their camels and other animals.”  
“They have done a couple of events where we blind taste their wines and rate them,” Nancy said. “Very fun and unique. I broke my femur last year and Gary heard about it and rode his bicycle to our house and dropped off a complimentary bottle of wine. Nobody does that kind of thing these days. So, we are so fortunate to have these two great guys in our life. They are quite special and unique.”
Left Bend will be taking the summer off from these events, but they’ll resume in the fall. To receive first access to registration for the next one, consider joining the Left Bend Wine Club as a “Trail” or “Tour” member! Find more information about the options at leftbend.com/store. Additionally, Left Bend offers their Food-Wine Pairing experience for private parties of 12-16 people. Inquire about this opportunity by emailing richard at leftbend.com.