An Evening With David Mirassou: Pairing Wine, Food, and Good Company

by Julie Cohn

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Photo courtesy of Mirassou Winery

{Disclosure:  I was invited, as a guest, to a private Mirassou food and wine pairing dinner, but received no monetary compensation for this review.  My opinions are 100% my own.}

An Evening With David Mirassou: Pairing Wine, Food, and Good Company

Some people dream of having dinner with Mick Jagger or Paul McCartney.   Me?  I dream of having dinner with wine makers.  It’s not that I’d turn down a dinner with Paul McCartney, mind you…it’s just that I am a true oenophile, and wine makers/growers are my rock icons.  Last week, I had dinner with one of the biggest wine rock stars of them all…David Mirassou!

David Mirassou represents the sixth generation of wine making for the Mirassou wine family, the oldest wine-making family in America.  David’s great-great-great grandfather, Pierre Pellier, brought over grape clippings from France, which he kept alive on the ship to the United States, in cut potatoes.  Did you know that the Mirassou family was responsible for bringing Pinot Noir to California, and that they were one of the first wine-making families to discover the benefits of growing grapes in the Central Valley of California?  Over the years, Mirassou wine has become known for high quality wines.  Today, David is the face of the proud face of the Mirassou brand.

David Mirassou was in town for the Bloggy Boot Camp conference; Mirassou Wines has been a long-term sponsor of Bloggy Boot Camp (BBC), and in fact, I first met David three years ago at BBC San Diego.  I was invited to a private dinner David was hosting while in Phoenix, in a private room at the Graze Desert Grill, the restaurant at Zona Hotel and Resort, where the conference was taking place. When I received the invitation to the dinner, I was honored to be invited, and knew I would not miss it for anything!

When I arrived for dinner, I was greeted by Mr. Mirassou and Liz Conant, one of Mirassou Wineries PR reps extraordinaire.  There was nine of us at the dinner, including David and Liz, as well as some wonderful bloggers, such as Sara from Mom Endeavors, Wendy from Around My Family Table, Kimberly from A Night Owl, and Ann from Not A Super Mom.

As we chatted before dinner, we were invited to try the Mirassou Moscato.  I’ve been a fan of the Moscato since BBC San Diego, and currently have several bottles of it in my house, so I was not going to turn down a chilled glass of moscato, handed to me by David himself.

The dinner was especially prepared by Graze executive chef, Keith Myers, with an emphasis on pairing unique flavors with the five varieties of Mirassou wine, which would be served at dinner.  Having sampled Mr. Myers cuisine before, I knew we were in for a treat.

We sat for dinner, and the first course, Grilled Firecracker Shrimp with Avocado Cream, was served, along with the Mirassou Sauvignon Blanc.   The spice in the shrimp brought out the crisp fruit flavors of the Sauvignon Blanc.  I noted flavors of sweet grapefruit, mango, and a light hint of berry; it was a full-bodied wine that paired well with the shrimp and smoothed out nicely with the avocado cream.

Our second course was the Pacific Rim Braised Pork Belly with a Ginger Soy Glaze, paired with the Mirassou Chardonnay.   Crisp and clean, with a nose of apricot and apple.  The chardonnay ended with a buttery smooth finish, complimenting the ginger, peanut, and soy flavors of the pork belly.

The third course, Southwestern Grilled Chicken Ravioli with a Duet of Red and White Wine Sauces, was paired with the Mirassou Pinot Noir.  The Pinot Noir has been a long time favorite of mine (I’ll have to tell you a story about it sometime), and the lush flavors of berry, cherry, and vanilla popped with the sauces that accompanied the ravioli.  There was little tannins to this wine, making it very drinkable.

The star of the fourth course was the Mirassou Sunset Red, which was paired with a Beet Jam Crostini with Fig & Goat Cheese and Balsamic Reduction.  The Sunset Red was my favorite wine of the evening, and I practically swooned over the full-bodied aroma of dark cherry, cola,  and currant.  I noticed a hint of clove when paired with the fig and goat cheese. Though it was medium-bodied, the Sunset Red finished into a smooth, silky caramel.

Our final course was the Triple Chocolate Cake with Ghost Chile Chocolate Cream.  Chef Meyers outdid himself , as the rich dark chocolate and the smoky spice of the ghost chile balanced themselves out in each incredible bite.  The wine paired with this course was the Mirassou Cabernet Sauvignon.  The chocolate brought out the blackberry and hint of oak flavors of the Cabernet, while the ghost chile balanced the bold spice of the Cabernet.  This dessert, and the Cabernet that accompanied it were ambrosial!

As much as the food and wine, I loved the company.  David told us stories of the history of his family winery, about his family, and of his love of working in the vineyards.  A devoted family man, I enjoyed hearing stories of his wife and children, and appreciated that he was down-to-earth and approachable, and enjoyed talking about our families, as well.  I felt he truly appreciated being in our company, as much as we enjoyed being in his. I was honored to share dinner with him and the other guests, and to learn more about the Mirassou winery.

Before we knew it, the night was over.  We had filled our bellies with delectable food and wine,  our minds with stories that weave strangers into friends, and our hearts with laughter and good cheer .  Ironically, we had to leave the private room we were dining in, because The Doobie Brothers were going to have a late night dinner in the same room!

Mirassou Wines featured a wine reception for all the bloggers of Bloggy Boot Camp the following day, but I had to sneak out early, to attend my sons state Latin competition.  Since David is a family man, I knew he would understand.  I hope to visit his winery this summer, and see experience, first-hand, the history of Mirassou Winery.

For more information about all the wonderful Mirassou wine varieties, please visit their website.  You can also find them on Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Mirassou Winery

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