Attendees of the eighth annual Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale fundraiser at Calistoga’s Diamond Creek Vineyards last week helped raise more than $1.5 million for research into the cause, care and cure for Parkinson’s disease. The money benefits the only non-profit Parkinson’s clinical center in the country that provides treatment for neurological movement disorders.
Diamond Creek founder Al Brounstein contracted Parkinson’s more than 30 years ago and passed away in 2006. His wife, Boots, continues the fundraiser.
Al planted First Growth Bordeaux clones – brought through Tijuana in suitcases – in 1968. The vineyard features three microclimates, bottled separately. Their names represent the soil description: Volcanic Hill, Red Rock Terrace and Gravelly Meadow. When an exceptional vintage occurs, there’s a Lake Vineyard bottling – otherwise it is blended.
Charlie Trotter, one of the great chefs of the world, has written 14 cookbooks and has hosted “The Kitchen Sessions,” a nationally syndicated cooking show, for four years. Prestigious institutions, including the James Beard Foundation, the Wine Spectator and Mobile Five Star, recognize his Chicago restaurant as the best wine and food experience in America.
Our cook for the evening, Trotter prepared many courses, but not large ones, featuring his famous layers of flavor and superb and unusual ingredients.
Trotter wrapped a Tasmanian Ocean Trout and a section of grapefruit in edible gold foil. The dish was pretty and tasty, as was its partner: a 2002 Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut.
He paired a Rabbit Terrine with fennel and dehydrated cured olive with Cosentino Winery’s “The Novelist” 2007 Meritage. This was a Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon partially oaked blend that didn’t taste like either varietal.
The most unusual course of the evening was a roasted Turnip with Thyme and Red Cabbage, baked in a clay ball, cut open and served with a wonderful 2009 Sonoma Coast Lewis Chardonnay.
The Diamond Creek wines were paired with a Portuguese Turbot with crispy buckwheat and Chantrelle mushrooms.
The 2003 Red Rock Terrace red wine overwhelmed the turbot, but it was a great glass and will survive for many decades.
A 2005 Volcanic Hill took a while to open up and was a good match for the Ravioli of Pig’s Tail with Black Garlic. The Volcanic Hill was also paired with a Pont l’Évêque cheese with mustard and stewed date, which worked well together.
The best match of the night was a chocolate pastry with nutmeg and coffee bean with a 2005 Far Niente Dolce dessert wine. Sweet on sweet … like the evening – sweet!
It was a night to remember and for a worthwhile cause. Hats off to Boots Brounstein and Charlie Trotter.