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O U R P A N E L I S T S ' C H O I C E S:
Gazpacho garnished with jumbo lump crabmeat,
chives and sour cream
K R I S
WINE: Navarro Gewurtzraminer, Anderson Valley, California, $20
My theory is that those who are not drinking this varietal choose to do so for fear of mispronouncing the name. Are they to blame? No. Are they missing out big time? Yes. This is a racy, brisk and slightly exotic wine with just the right hint of spice for this robust starter.
MUSIC: Pearl Bailey, It Takes Two to Tango

L I Z & M A R K
WINE: Jermann Pinot Grigio, Friuli, Italy, $32
Considered to be one of the best estate wines from Friuli, this multi-layered Pinot Grigio is extract-loaded and elegant, with intense flavors, and great complexity and structure. The wine ages well. We couldn’t pass up another wine, which we thought would complement this dish nicely: Teruzzi & Puthod, Terre di Tufi, Tuscany, Italy, $21. Enrico Teruzzi, professional skiier by trade, was the first to cold ferment Vernaccia, the grape variety of Terre di Tufi. The result is a fresh, crisp and perfectly balanced wine (like Enrico’s wife, ballerina Carmen Puthod). This full-bodied rich wine has hints of lime and a touch of bitter almond on the finish.
MUSIC: Buena Vista Social Club (Liz); Gato Barbieri, Caliente (Mark)

A N N
WINE: Adelsheim Pinot Blanc, Oregon, $14
Why did I choose this wine? It’s good. Do I need any more reason that that?
MUSIC: John Scofield, Bump

G R E G
WINE: Ca’ del Solo Il Pescatore, Santa Cruz, California, 1997, $16
This wine is Randall Grahm’s California homage to the varietal blends of the Friuli region of Italy. Its bright fruit and nice acidity will complement the gazpacho and stand up to the rich crabmeat.
MUSIC: DJ Andy Smith, The Document

Sushi-grade tuna on mesclun greens with wasabi cream
K R I S
WINE: Trimbach Riesling, Cuvee Frederic Emile, Alsace, France, 1995, $30
Riesling, one of the most unvalued wines of our time, would be a great match here. Brilliant aromas of mint and fresh flower backed by a steely, lean finish should help to assuage that wasabi burn.
MUSIC: Louis Prima, Oh Marie

L I Z & M A R K
WINE: Reinhold Haart Estate Riesling, Mosel River, Germany, $14
This tiny estate of approximately 12 acres produces some of the best Rieslings of the Middle Mosel. The family has been making wine for more than 300 years in the town of Piesport, on the Mosel River in Germany. Worth seeking out, this Riesling has pure, ripe classic peach fruit with a cassis nuance.
MUSIC: Laura Martier and Woody Beckner (Liz); Led Zeppelin, Whole Lotta Love (Mark)

A N N
WINE: Grove Mill Marlborough Riesling, New Zealand, $15
I think the New Zealand style of Riesling complements the Asian flavors of this dish. This well-rounded, lush wine has hints of citrus and a crisp finish.
MUSIC: Chris Spheeris, Dancing With the Muse

G R E G
WINE: Kuentz-Bas Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France, 1997, $14
I have liked Alsatian Riesling with sushi for years, but just started pairing Pinot Blancs with these flavors. This wine tastes like liquid honeysuckle with a hint of minerals and a crisp palate-cleansing acidity, but with this dish it develops an oily richness that is quite appealing.
MUSIC: The English Beat, Wha’Ppen?


Tenderloin fillets stuffed with bleu cheese,
with dried cherry demi-glace and grilled onions
K R I S
WINE: Peter Lehmann, Clancy’s Red, Barossa Valley Australia, 1997, $19
I know, I was supposed to keep it under $15, but this wine is so perfect with this dish that I couldn’t help but spend the extra $4. It’s a nod to Bordeaux from Down Under at a fraction of the price. This is a blend of mostly Syrah, along with the classic counterparts Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It’s a stunning wine.
MUSIC: Jimmy Durante, As Time Goes By (Then play it again…of course.)

L I Z & M A R K
WINE: Marietta Syrah, Geyserville, California, $18
Chris Bilbro, proprietor and winemaker, makes only red wines, from grapes picked at full maturation. His wines are lush and full bodied, and the Syrah is always rated above 90 by Robert Parker. We also want to recommend the Robert Pecota Cabernet Sauvignon, Kara’s Vineyard, Napa Valley, California, $40. This vineyard is located next to Chateau Montelena in Calestoga, an area that produces some of California’s top Cabernet Sauvignon. Named after Pecota’s daughter, Kara’s Vineyard produces approximately 2,500 cases annually. This wine exhibits a dense deep color, intense layers of fruit flavors, oak, vanilla and ripe tannins.
MUSIC: Faith Hill, Breathe (Liz); Iron Butterfly, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Mark)

A N N
WINE: Peter Lehmann, Clancy’s Red, Barossa Valley, Australia, $19
This Australian Meritage has spicy intensity with a velvety texture – full of blackberry and currant – that I thought would go very well with the meat, bleu cheese and the sauce. And yes, I chose it because it’s GOOD.
MUSIC: Ronny Jordan, A Brighter Day

G R E G
WINE: Cline, Big Break Zinfandel, Sonoma, California, 1997, $21
This Zin has ripe blackberry fruit with a sweet smokiness reminiscent of slightly burnt cobbler crust accented by light Asian spice. All of these components work wonderfully with this course.
MUSIC: Jeff Beck, Blow by Blow (Need I explain?)

Grand Marnier-injected strawberries and Amaretto-injected pineapple dipped in melted Lindt chocolate
K R I S
WINE: Chateau Rieussec, Sauternes, 1989, $50
So much is going on within this dish…I’d say drink what you like. For many the choice would be Port. For me, it would be an ultra-rich, oily Sauternes; the Chauteau Rieussec would do just fine.
MUSIC: Forget the music. After this meal with these wines and the lights out…I would think it very wise to begin paying serious attention to my dinner companion.

L I Z & M A R K
WINE: Ca’ del Solo, Moscato Fior d’Arancio,Bonny Doon Vineyards, Santa Cruz, California, $10
From the infamous Randall Grahm, this is an orange muscat fortified with aged brandy. It’s Bonny Doon’s version of a Muscat Beaumes de Venice, with a twist of orange, and intense, lingering flavors of Acacia honey and dried apricots. The wine is made from select bunches of exposed berries. (Expose yourself!)
MUSIC: Barry White, Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe (Liz); Rolling Stones, Brown Sugar (Mark)
We’d like to make an additional suggestion of a triple espresso and a shot of grappa…

A N N
WINE: Champagne Pommery, Reims, France, $35
This is just really, really good Champagne, with hits of citrus and a crisp finish.
MUSIC: Yo-Yo Ma, The Cello Suites

G R E G
WINE: Heidsieck & Co., Monopole Diamant Bleu, Epernay, France, 1985, $70
If a hurricane is coming and you have 15-year-old luxury cuvee in your hands, drink it.
MUSIC: Ornette Coleman, Tomorrow is the Question!

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