Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Devilish good time at California Café 5 Bites Friday with Travieso Wines

Palo Alto’s California Café 5 Bites Friday recently featured Campbell’s Travieso Winery.  For the very reasonable price of $20 each, guests sample five Travieso wines that were paired by the chefs at California Café with five small plates while the winery representatives tell you about the wines.

Travieso wines have received 90+ point ratings by Robert Parker as well as winning Gold medals and Double Gold medals at other competitions.  It is a hidden gem right here in Campbell in Silicon Valley.  Fans not only remember their intriguing labels and names, but the wonderful wine held within. 

Both founders Ray Sliter and Mats Hagstrom were there to share their wine with the diners at California Café.  Travieso was started in Ray’s living room in 2000. Ray is a marine geologist and Mats is a doctor. By 2003 they teamed up with John Pinder at his small winery in Campbell and by 2005 Travieso was a fully bonded winery. They work closely with premium vineyards around California and focus on quality wine production using 30 to 50 percent new French Oak barrels to age the wine for 2 – 3 years.

At California Café the 1st bite was a grilled mango salad with pickled radish/lime and mizuna.  It was paired with Travieso’s 2009 “La Llorona” white blend from Sonoma Coast that consists of 45% Viognier, 45% Chardonnay and 10% Roussanne.  The acidity of the wine worked well with the salad, with the radish and mango flavors helping the fruit of the wine shine.  The mizuna was a bit bitter for the wine, but still was tasty. 

The 2nd bite consisted of shrimp Carpaccio with sliced red onion and lemongrass oil.  It was paired with the 2007 Travieso “The Other Program” Dry Creek Valley Sangiovese.  This Sangiovese delivers lots of bold fruit and spice, including dark cherry and raspberry.  The dish helped soften some of the spice of the wine, but making them bolder. 

On the 3rd bite we were treated to a crispy pork belly with a pineapple-Thai chili and wine soaked apples.  They paired this dish with the 2009 “Traviesito” red wine. Traviesito, “Little Trouble”, a 2009 blend of Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Mourvedre, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  It has an intense nose of smoke, jam and black fruit.  On the palate you will enjoy the flavors of blackberry, blueberry, plum and a variety of spices.  The tannins lead to a pleasant finish.  In this pairing the chili added to the boldness and length of the wine.  In particular, the bacon flavor of the pork belly boosted the finish and length of the wine.

With the 4th bite we were served a bacon blackened salmon with grilled asparagus and avocado chermoula.  Travieso provided their 2007 “El Chupacabras” red wine from Santa Barbara County.  It is a blend of Syrah from two vineyards plus Grenache and Viognier.  El Chupacabras delivers great aromas and flavors of dark ripe fruit including black cherry and blueberry with a medley of spices such as pepper, clove and cinnamon.  The nose has a very pleasant smokiness that is evident of the French Oak that blended all those spices and flavors into such a well-balanced wine.  This salmon dish really brings out the fruit in the wine.  It was surprising how the avocado chermoula really enhanced the flavors of the wine.  

The final 5th bite was delicious with wild blackberries in a chocolate-coffee pudding sauce.  It was paired with Travieso’s 2007 “El Rey” Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  It is a rich quality Cab loaded with smoky cedar, dark fruits, cassis, cranberry and spice.  The wine really opens after some time in the glass, delivering the same dark fruit with cinnamon, clove and all spice.  The wine is aged for 24 months in 50% new French oak resulting in a great California wine with quality you can expect from a fine Bordeaux wine.  In addition to the 24 months of aging, four barrels received extended aging for an additional 12 months.  This was a particularly delicious pairing and a perfect finish with the ripe blackberries, chocolate and coffee enhancing the spices and flavors of the wine, especially boosting the cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and chocolate qualities of the wine.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve! I found this because I was looking for info on the Traviesito (it's no longer on the Travieso website). We are starting up 5 Bite Friday again! For March we will host Ventana Winery. Would you like to come as our guest? It's all on us!

    Lisa J Doughty
    Restaurant Manager
    California Cafe - Palo Alto