Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kendall-Jackson And Dusit Thani Bangkok Team Up For Great Dinner

Kendall-Jackson wines were the star attraction at a recent wine dinner held at the Dusit Thani Bangkok’s Il Cielo Italian restaurant in February, one of the hotel’s seven top-quality dining outlets. Jeff Cook, General Manager of Jackson Wine Estates International for Asia and Japan represented Kendall-Jackson and presided over the event which was attended by over 70 people. Mr. Cook made the effort to visit all of the tables of attendees and imparted a great deal of knowledge about the operations of Kendall-Jackson, as well as wine-making in general, to an interested audience.

The five course dinner featured five Kendall-Jackson wines, all from the Vintner’s Reserve label of the winery, and included a 2007 sauvignon blanc, a 2006 chardonnay – the best selling chardonnay in the United States for the last 16 years—a 2006 pinot noir, a 2005 zinfandel and a 2004 meritage. Each of the wines has received very high rankings from a number of respected wine writers and have won a number of awards between them.

The dinner started with a marinated red tuna tartare that was made with avocado aioli and 10-year balsamico along with other ingredients and was paired with the sauvignon blanc whose varying fruit flavors, from fig to lemon and others was a perfect accompaniment. Indeed, all of the wines this evening were well-matched to the dishes showing a high degree of preparation for this dinner. The chardonnay was the next wine to be showcased and its companion dish was a lobster tortellini with Nori caviar and a frothy green pea broth. The chardonnay’s varied flavors were well-suited also to this dish that included the saltiness of the caviar and the delicate sweetness of the lobster.

One characteristic of each of the Vintner’s Reserve wines that were served at this dinner is that they were all made from grapes that come from different vineyards in the Kendall-Jackson holdings. Some of the grapes are from Sonoma, some from Mendocino, some from Santa Barbara and several other regions and therefore each of the different grapes contribute their own flavors to the wines giving them such varied tastes and nuances.

The pinot noir that came next with the pork tenderloin course, which was smoked and slow-cooked, had just a dash of the syrah grape added to it which affected the mid-palate taste of the wine and complemented the smoky taste of the meat. And the lamb course which followed – a roasted lamb saddle with plums and line nuts served on a light blue cheese risotto – had two wines poured with it. The zinfandel and the meritage both graced this dish and it was hard to say which was the better of the two as far as compatibility with the lamb. Blackberry and cherry are the two flavors most mentioned when describing the zinfandel and the meritage also has these flavors along with slight traces of cassis and coffee. The contrasts of these fruit flavors, especially with the slight saltiness of the risotto, made for an excellent contrast in tastes.

This dinner was one of several that the Dusit Thani Bangkok presents every year and it is one of the few hotels in the city that both makes the effort to do so and is also successful at attracting enough food and wine lovers to make the events such as this viable on a regular basis. Part of the success is due to picking good wine partners, as Kendall-Jackson has certainly proven to be, and the rest is due to great chefs, careful planning and the attention to detail that marks all top-notch food and beverage operations.

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