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Uptown Kitchen hosts wine club dinner featuring Eric Kent Wine Cellars

We all enjoy wine in many different settings. One of my favorites is at a wine dinner or tasting.

For me, wine dinners bring together some important elements: the wine, friends both old and new, and food. When food and wine are artfully paired, you can have a delightful experience. This experience can be increased greatly by the addition of good friends.

Last week I wrote on the Penfolds wine dinner I attended on Wednesday, July 29. The very next night Tiedemann On Wines Wine Club hosted its own dinner with wine club partner restaurant Uptown Kitchen

Both of these events brought together all three elements I mentioned earlier: good wine, good food and good friends. If you enjoy wine and haven’t attended these types of events before, you are really missing out on a wonderful opportunity to enjoy yourself and taste some good wines.

Our Thursday evening event featured Eric Kent Wine Cellars wines, two whites and three reds. This is the second event the wine club has hosted featuring Eric Kent wines. Back by popular demand, as they say.

The evening started with a short reception period where we all enjoyed a chilled glass of 2012 Casteggio Moscato white wine. I always enjoy these reception periods, as it gives me the opportunity to mingle and chat with everyone attending. This evening I got to chat with old friends and meet some new ones including the group that Jeff and Tish Wilsey brought together for the evening’s festivities.

Jonathan Lutz and Chris Oliver of the Uptown Dining Group did an excellent job of selecting food to pair with the Eric Kent wines. What follows is the evening’s pairings.


The first two courses featured white wines, both chardonnays. The one from Sonoma Coast was softer than the Russian River chardonnay.

I drink white wines year-round but tend to prefer, at least in chardonnays, the less oaky ones in the summer such as the Eric Kent Sonoma Coast chardonnay served in the first course. In the chillier months I tend to prefer the bolder and more oaky, buttery chardonnays as is the profile of the Russian River chardonnay served in the evening’s second course.

The last three courses featured red wines: a syrah, a pinot noir and a grenache. These are all wines with flavor profiles that fit the summer months and were perfect for an evening’s meal.

First Course
The first course consisted of baby red potatoes stuffed with goat cheese and paired with the 2009 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Sonoma Coast chardonnay. On the nose the wine had aromas of lemon and green apple. While on the palate there was plenty of fruit and some floral notes. The wine was balanced and had a nice bright, lively and refreshing finish.

Second Course
A sautéed scallop with sweet mango salsa was paired with the 2009 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Russian River Valley chardonnay. On the nose the wine had hints of poached pear, apple and tropical fruit and a little spice. The palate offered sweet apple, lime and a touch of oak. The finish was rich and of a good length with a good mouth feel as the finish faded.

Third Course
I believe this was my favorite pairing of the evening. A Dijon covered baby lamb chop served with a red currant-mint sauce paired with the 2008 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Dry Stack syrah. This wine is really drinking well now. On the nose there were layers of aromas starting with black fruits, followed by layers of coffee, smoke and then some earthy tones. On the palate there were dark fruits and spice. This is a full bodied wine with a finish of ripe tannins, a little spice and a pleasant mouth feel. I highly recommend this wine.

Fourth Course
Bacon-wrapped dates (one of Jonathan Lutz’s favorites) were paired with the 2010 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Small Town pinot noir. This wine is also drinking really well and offered a nose of spices, dark fruit and hints of herbs. On the palate the dark fruit showed as black cherries and perhaps some truffles all together creating an excellent palate. The finish was long, lingering and well balanced.

Fifth Course
The final course of the evening was some lovely chocolate dipped strawberries, paired with the 2011 Eric Kent Wine Cellars The Barrel Climber grenache. This is only Eric Kent’s second bottling of grenache ever and its first red grenache. I believe it is a delightful wine. On the nose there was a bouquet of red and black fruits and hints of spice. The excellent palate continued the great concentration of fruit, which lead to a light and superb finish. This was a risky pairing as this wine might be more in its element with grilled meats and tomato-based dishes. However, it paired nicely with the rich strawberries and really was a delightful wine to finish the evening with.

This was absolutely a fun filled evening, one that left everyone asking, “When is the next tasting?”

I would like to thank everyone who attended and especially Jonathan Lutz and Chris Oliver for being our hosts for the evening and to the team at Eric Kent Wine Cellars for producing lovely wines.

As always I appreciate your support of our wine blog and encourage you to share it with family and friends. If you care to share your comments on this blog posting or other topics please do so in the comments section below.

Until next week,

For more wine tips and recommendations from Carl Tiedemann, visit Plus, find out how to join the wine club for exclusive local discounts.

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