Super-Tuscan Extravaganza

Last night I was priviliged to be among the guests invited to a spectacular wine tasting dinner. The meal, prepared by Chef Craig Strong (Executive Chef, Studio, Montage Laguna Beach), was paired with three decades of each of the four Super-Tuscan wines: Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Solaia, and Tignanello.

The dinner was donated by philanthropists Hal and Sharon Lampert as a live auction item at the Vintage Hollywood event, with the proceeds going to OPCC. The winning bidders were kind enough to include my husband and me on their guest list, and that’s how I came to be part of such an extraordinary evening.

To my surprise, I conistently favored the Ornellaia, even in a blind test (we weren’t told which wines were which for the pasta and lamb courses until after we’d tried them). Having said that, all the wines were absolutely spectacular, and the food was delectable from start to finish.

Here’s the menu:

Hors d’oeuvres
Mini Caprese
Saffron Arrancini
Country pate on crostini
Mini onion and carraway tart
Brandade croquette with basil aioli
Paired with: Krug Grand Cruvee NV

Tableside presentation of Japanese Hamachi
Himalayan pink salt with caviar lime dressing
Didier Dagueneau Silex 2004

Farm-raised rabbit in prosciutto
Tuscan white beans, tomato, fine herbs
Antinori Solaia 1988
Antinori Tignanello 1988
Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 1988
Teunta dell’Ornellaia Ornellaia 1988

Hand Rolled Pasta with Wild Mushrooms
Fresh Australian black truffles, foie gras butter sauce
Antinori Solaia 1998
Antinori Tignanello 1998
Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 1998
Teunta dell’Ornellaia Ornellaia 1998

Superior Farms Grilled Lamb
Fava beans, baby fennel, artichoke ragout, lamb jus
Antinori Solaia 2004
Antinori Tignanello 2004
Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 2004
Teunta dell’Ornellaia Ornellaia 2004

White Chocolate Amaretto Mousse
Apricot and lemon verbena ice cream