Wine dinner at Zely & Ritz, Raleigh - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 03-01-2007

Nancy (co-owner of the restaurant) celebrates her birthday with her favorite dishes and wines. We sat around a tall communal table on tall bar chairs or stools and were greeted with an eminently gulpable, quaffable DEGIORGIS MOSCATO D'ASTI, Piedmont, Italy. Nancy told us the story of her introduction to this wine at a tasting at 9:00 in the morning. It was slightly sweet and slightly effervescent.

First course was tuna carpaccio with arugula and passion fruit sauce. The wine was 2005 DOMAINE WEINBACH RIESLING, RESERVE PERSONNELLE, Alsace, France. Medium straw color--darker than the Moscato. Appleskin nose. Apple and pear flavors with a steel structure. Leggy. Very nice and possibly my first Weinbach wine.

Second course was Mushroom Hill Wontons with shitake mushroom sauce, the shitakes coming from a local grower. Scrumptious! Yum!
Served with 2004 DOMAINE SERENE PINOT NOIR, Willamette Valley, Oregon, from the Evenstad family. The grapes are from several Yamhill vineyards. Light scarlet or crimson color. Very aromatic with cherry or cherry brandy dominating. Palate flavors echo the cherries. Slight clove spice note. Velvety texture with some grip beneath the velvet surface. I saved some for the duck dish and liked that match better than with the mushroom wontons. My wine of the night and I purchased two of the six available bottles at $36 each (I know at least two more were purchased.)

Third course was roast breast of duck with dried cherries and sweet mashed potatoes. Loved the crisp duck skin and medium rare flesh and the gorgeous fruit sauce. This was paired with 2004 EMILIO MORO RIBERO DEL DUERO, Spain. This wine tasted a little heavy after the Pinot Noir but was well made. 100% Tempranillo. Maybe a year in French and American oak. Pleasant.

4th course was small servings of rack of lamb with creamy risotto and blackberry sauce. The lamb is from Virginia. The wine was 2003 DOMAINE GARDIES TAUTAVEL, Cotes Du Rousillon, France. Nancy said the winemaker is a rugby player (in France?) and a wiry guy but with burly tastes. The wine was burly and too heavy for my optimum pleasure but good for its type. A peasant wine perhaps. Frothy when first poured. Heavier than the Spanish wine. The wine is from organically grown grapes and the vigneron uses no machines. He plows with mule-pulled plow or pulls it himself. It was the wine of the night for the man on my right whose favorites are Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz wines. I asked if the wine included Mourvedre grapes and Nancy said it did. I didn't get the specifics but it may have Mourvedre, Grenache and Syrah.

Dessert was a favorite at Zely and Ritz being both sweet and savory, the caramelized pinenut tart with rosemary and caramel pecan ice cream. Nancy says the tart with rosemary just reminds her of the south of France and I can see the connection. The wine was a RAMOS PINTO 20-YEAR TAWNY PORT which matched nicely with the tart. I was not up to taking notes on the Port but thought maybe it suggested dried prunes and nuts. I liked it but prefer Cockburn, Sandeman and Niepoort tawnies.

Great meal. Others around the table included a graduate student at University of North Carolina studying pharmacology, a retired teacher and school adminstrator who moved to NC from Brooklyn and his wife, a resident of Atlanta who works in the food industry and has worked with Pillsbury and Kraft and pizza chains, etc.

- dananne - 03-01-2007

We love Domaine Serene and we are just loving those Oregon '04s. Much better across the board quality when we tasted through the Willamette Valley last summer than the '03s that most folks were pouring the year we were out there and met you. Nice notes (as always), and thanks!

- wondersofwine - 03-02-2007

Dan, I anticipate bringing a Domaine Serene '04 to the offline.

- TheEngineer - 03-02-2007

Thanks for the notes on the Domaine Serene. I've got my patiently waiting for a bit.