Friday, August 3, 2012

"A Moveable Feast" with Napa's Truchard Family!

Cheers!
We're back from California and a journey packed with many memorable vinous experiences!

While there's many new discoveries and things I look forward to sharing with you, I'd first like to tell you about an amazing evening spent among the vineyards in Carneros with one of Napa's pioneering wine families. Our friends Monty & Sara Preiser kindly invited us to "A Moveable Feast" at Truchard Vineyards. The evening was part of an auction package they'd purchased at the 2012 Boca Bacchanal, an event Steve and I chaired. We were honored and delighted that they included us.

While looking forward to the evening, we really had no idea of the adventure in store for us! This actually turned out to be the first time the Truchards had done this particular format of dinner, which made it that much more special.

Upon arriving at Truchard Vineyards we were greeted with a lovely reception featuring sparkling wine from Domaine Carneros and delicious passed hors d'oeuvres. Our resident hosts were Dr. Tony and Jo Ann Truchard, patriarch and matriarch of this wonderful family which has played a significant part of Carneros history since the 1970's. Also representing the Truchard family was son Anthony and his lovely wife Suzanne. The Preiser's son Justin and daughter-in-law Stacy were also in attendance and celebrating Stacy's birthday which further contributed to the festive feel of the evening. It was a cool, clear beautiful night and the setting was charming, enhanced not only by the Truchard family pet cats but also their adorable pet goat Rocky. Soon after making everyone's acquaintance and sipping and savoring the welcoming offerings, Anthony Truchard revealed the master plan for the evening. Before long we were being whisked up winding vineyard roads in a convoy of SUV's to our first "course" - it was a "Moveable Feast" after all!

Dr. Tony & Jo Ann Truchard
Steve and I were very fortunate to ride with Jo Ann Truchard behind the wheel, and with the golden, wine country sun making its descent on the horizon, we got to hear firsthand how the Truchards, Texans prior to moving to California, happened into the wine business. "I slipped on a grape at the grocery store and broke my leg when I was nine months pregnant with my second child!" Jo Anne said. "Tony [an Army physician] was supposed to ship out to Korea but he couldn't leave after that. I gave birth a few days later with a full cast on my leg." Instead of going to Korea, they ended up stationed in Herlong, California and eventually purchased their first 21-acre plot of land in Carneros. Soon after they realized growing grapes was going to be much more than just a weekend project! Since then, Truchard Vineyards has grown to 400 contiguous acres and is one of Napa's most diverse estates growing 10 different grape varieties. The family keeps only 20% of their fruit to make their estate wines, and sells the other 80% to 20 of Napa's most well-respected producers. Listening to Jo Ann talk about her family's history in this very special part of the world was certainly a treat for us as her passion was clearly evident.

Scallop & Spot Prawn Salad with Vanilla Essence
Soon the convoy was parking and we were delighted to hear our first stop was among the Roussanne vines. Roussanne is a white grape variety primarily grown in France's Rhone Valley yet does remarkably well on the Truchard land as well. As we disembarked we could see a clearing in the vineyard set with lovely high top tables. The view of the rolling hills in the distance, the Roussanne grapes hanging on the vine, and the sun in the distance was truly breathtaking. The "Roussanne Vineyard Course" featured a delicious Scallop and Spot Prawn Salad with Vanilla Citrus Essence which paired beautifully with the 2010 Truchard Vineyards Roussanne. It was a magnificent start to our feast!

Anthony Truchard
Our next stop took us through even more scenic, winding roads to a clearing in the vines overlooking more beautiful vineyards and Boot Lake, so named for its shape. As we emerged from the trucks, we were guided to a beautiful table decorated with assorted squash and gourds from the Truchard's garden. While enjoying the fabulous company and a picture-perfect Carneros sunset we enjoyed two more delicious courses. "Pork and Pinot" featured Pork Three Ways served with Rancho Gordo White Beans and Salsa Verde that paired beautifully with the 2009 Truchard Vineyards Pinot Noir in addition to some other special bottles the Truchards had brought. This dish was also accompanied by freshly baked bread served with the Truchard Vineyards Extra Virgin Olive Oil made from olives grown on their property as well (Martha Stewart has nothing on the Truchards!). Next was the "Lamb and Cabernet Sauvignon" course featuring perfectly charred, juicy Dixon Spring Lamb Chops with Caramelized Garden Beets, Black Olive Sauce and Blood Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This dish made my husband Steve particularly happy and the lamb paired famously with the 2008 Truchard Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. I have to mention the amazing food for the evening was prepared in sight by the fabulous folks at Smoke Open Fire truly extraordinary!

Once the sun had set and the crescent moon made its appearance in the sky it was time to head back to the estate. Our evening wasn't over yet though - far from it in fact! Back at the estate we were guided into the impressive Truchard wine caves where another beautiful table awaited with our dessert course. A selection of delicious Northern California Cheeses, fabulous handmade cookies, and decadent chocolate strawberries were served with the 2007 Truchard Vineyards Roussanne Botrytis and French Press Coffee. Needless to say all in attendance were sufficiently satiated and awed not only by the wonderful and unique experience but also by the charm and graciousness of the Truchard family. I also have to give a special mention to Linda Carr who has been with the Truchards since 1998. Linda played an intrinsic role in the planning and execution of our evening and I just had to sincerely applaud her efforts.

Monty & Sara Preiser
Following dessert the Truchards fired up the traditional Texas fire pit and invited the Preisers to make some selections from the family's wine library. As we enjoyed the warmth of the fire and lovely aromatics of the burning Eucalyptus wood we enjoyed some more very special wines that had, like this amazing family, thrived with the passing of time.

A big thank you to Monty and Sara Preiser for including us in such a special evening and to the Truchard family for their gracious hospitality!

Cheers,

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