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Posted July 19, 2011 by samuek in Uncategorized

If You Think Wine Is Stuffy Then Ravenswood Just Blew Your Mind

Wine is wine, right?  Wine is stuffy and boring, right?  High quality wine should only be enjoyed in a suit and once ingested, discussed in detail then spit out, right?  Well, if that’s true then Ravenswood Wine is not playing by the rules.  Note that the Ravenswood slogan is “No Wimpy Wines.”

Ravenswood Wine is one in your face company, selling some top level wines, with an owner who rode a motorcycle across America, with no money…just because.  That’s him on the left.  You know Rob in the middle.  Rob told me to look for 2 new shows he will launch shortly that may not be on Food Network Canada.  Picture of Ian Thornley is on the right.  Check out the video below of Robert and Joel. 

Rock & Roll with wine?  Yeah everyone does that right?  Well at least Ravenswood does.  They also know how to throw a damn good party.  Like getting Rob Rainford, the host of License to Grill on the Food Network, to design a tasting menu to pair with their wines.  Like having Rob Rainford walk around and discuss food with anyone who had questions.  Like entertaining all the invitees, who were sampling some great food and drinking some great wines with the likes of Ian Thornley.  Ian Thornley is no joke.  But this is a food and drink site right?  So what about the food and wine?  I am getting there, be patient.  Ok, now I am ready.

Not my fav’ pairing but the portobello dish was earthy and surprisingly light for a pesto dish.  Arugula is a such a cool ingredient and whole pesto nuts should be mandatory. The Vintners Blend Zinfandel by itself however was just fine.

Grilled quail paired with one of my favorite wines from Ravenswood, 2007 Old Hill Zinfandel.  The quail was good but the beets were the real star, boasting dill and red onions.  The beets were “al Dente” and deserved a picture all by themselves.

Venison is a great ingredient that we should all embrace.  This is arguably a top exotic ingredient that can be sourced locally yet it is only found in a handful of butcher’s establishments.  I spoke with Rob Rainford about his venison dish and he felt it was one of his favorite dishes.  Loving venison, remember he is a grill guy, he educates me that venison is delicate and should be cooked on high at first to caramelize the exterior then brought down to go low and slow.  How romantic right?  Start fast to impress then go slow to get the right result.  He should really be a relationship coach.  

 Jerk chicken eh?  Yeah, I have a long standing vendetta with all things West Indian in this city and Jerk is the top 5 offender.  The term jerk gets thrown around like online degrees at interviews.  Was this Jerk?  I would say no, but it was a tasty chicken dish, cooked perfectly for breast meat, with a nice hint of spice, sitting on one of my top ingredients jicama.  Rainford paired this dish with a single vineyard Ravenswood Zinfandel labeled Barrida.    


Cumquat is hands down the worst name for anything.  Clearly a the marketing director for this fruit was fired.  Having trashed this fruits name, it is also happens to be one of the tastiest fruits out there.  I was told by a little bird to ask for a chop medium rare as most of the lamb was not coming that way.  Good advice as medium rare lamb is, well, you should already know this.  The quinoa was complimentary except for these little grains that tasted like dreid apricot or fig seeds.  You know that feeling when it is a tiny seed but grainy?  I know you do.  

Braised is a naughty word in my dictionary.  Short ribs, also pretty hedonistic.  Carmelized?  Well that’s just crass.  I however embrace the carnivore, fat laden gravy, devilish delight that is braised short ribs.  Sit-ups?  Maybe.  Indulge?  Absolutely.  Then, Rob Rainford had the audacity to pair this with the Ravenswood 2007 Teldeschi Zinfandel which was also a bad little boy deserving to be punished.  Teldeschi is a wine after my heart. 

So this was some good mofo dessert.  Fresh strawberries, in season, with a Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel infused Sabayon, topped with whipped cream.  Yikes, someone get me 15 of these.  Not too sweet, yet decadent, awe inspiring little shot glasses of heaven.  I have decided that when I go out that my shot glasses should be filled with this dessert or El Mayor Blanco Tequila and I will be forever good. 

Rob Rainford & Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson with the Wine ladies.




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