Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel holds a magical experience that looks and tastes like a vino wonderland. At a recent media tasting at Napa Rose Restaurant, sommeliers and culinary masters walked us (ahem, drank us) through a wine tasting that included masterfully paired wines and bites.
The tasting was beautifully executed as we sat down to five glorious glasses of wine and a slate filled with five different cheese and meat options. The tasting was hosted by Napa Rose’s General Manager, Philippe Tosques who has a swoon-worthy hospitality resume that includes upscale restaurants like Prime Steakhouse at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Everest in Chicago, and Gaston Lenotre in Paris.
The wines are of a global variety covering regions in Spain, Italy, Portugal, and of course California. The meats and cheeses are sourced from local California and west coast farms.
A glass of Conde Valdemar Tempranillo from Rioja region of Spain, 2011. This wine has strong notes of cocoa, currants, and balsamic. Very well rounded and balanced – a long and persistent finish. This is paired with house smoked Maple Leaf Farms duck breast, blonde morel mushrooms and kumquat.
Stolpman Vineyards Estate Syrah from Ballard Canyon, Santa Barbara County 2014. This is an enjoyable estate-grown Syrah that makes for a pleasant palate. It is paired perfectly with lamb and kalamata olive paté with mustard accents.
This was our favorite pairing of the evening. There are no words to describe the perfect marriage of the cheese and the wine
– as if they were created for one another. The goat cheese is from Laura Chenel Crottin, a local cheese from Sonoma, California. It’s soft and ripened and formed into soft buttons known “crottins”. The cheese is aged from the outside leaving a creamy fondue on the inside. The wine was an earthy Riesling with hints of white tree fruit. A aromatic blend of white and yellow peaches, apricot, red raspberry, and tangy lime makes this a perfect springtime vino. The Riesling is a 2006 Reinhold Haart, Spatlese, Piesporter Goldtropfchen GG, Mosel < a mouthful, but it definitely tastes better than it does to pronounce.
The tasting continued with a complex and superbly structured 2011 Brunello from Tuscany (Castiglion Del Bosco). This Italian wine is made from Sangiovese grapes grown in a 42-hectare Capanna vineyard facing the Mediterranean Sea. It is fragrant and beautifully balanced. The glass is paired with a Bandage Cheddar cow’s milk cheese from Modesto, California. The dairy farm has been producing quality dairy products for the past 100 years. The cheddar has a natural sweetness that gives it a faint fruity taste. It is aged for 30 months much like a traditional English farmhouse style cheese – wrapping the cheese in cheesecloth like a bandage.
The final tasting was a sweet-dessert like finale with Graham’s 10-year Tawny Port from Douro Valley in Portugal. Graham’s is an elite Port house Portugal founded in 1820. The port retains a deep tawny color and profile and hints of fresh fruits even at its modest age. You can taste hints of nuts and figs which is a representation of Graham’s style of richness and versatility. The wine is paired with a bold Rogue River Blue Special Reserve blue cheese from Oregon. The cheese is macerated in Clear Creek pear brandy and then covered in Shiraz vine leaves, matured for 15 months. It is moist and creamy in texture with subtle notes of grape, hazelnut, and black truffle.
Guests can join in on the very informative and enchanting wine and food pairing experience on Saturday afternoons – offering an intimate and personal experience with the Napa Rose staff and Disney sommelier. The tasting includes five different wines paired with cheeses and charcuterie. For reservations please visit Napa Rose Food and Wine Pairing Experience. You may also call to make reservations at (714)781-DINE from 8:00am to 9:00pm.