Robert Summer is a music industry executive who's past achievements have been president of RCA records and Sony music International. Robert and his wife Susan are avid art collectors and own the Vineyards at Strawberry Ridge in New England.
In in the 1980's that Susan and Robert Summer enjoyed the luxury of a residence in Tuscany and traveled frequently to the adjoining Chianti region. In 1992, as open land became available on a property adjoining their home in Warren, Connecticut the idea of starting their own vineyard was becoming a reality.
A French chardonnay clone was selected to start them off on their objective to produce a high quality wine that would meet the standards of discerning wine lovers.
The Vineyard at Strawberry Ridge is located on 22 acres of hilly terrain overlooking Lake Waramaug in northwestern Connecticut. Until September 2007, production was limited to the award winning "Ascot Reserve" Chardonnay, a wine styled after the great white wines of the Burgundy region of France, and the "Ascot Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon that derives its special quality from a blending of west coast and east coast cabernet. They have also just released their "Ascot Reserve" Merlot produced from selected grapes of the 2005 Napa Valley vintage. They keep everything hands on as they conduct crush, barrel aging and bottling at a facility in North Stonington, Connecticut.Now, more than 10 years later, this very special project has matured and Ascot Reserve Chardonnay is receiving national recognition. In 2005 the vineyard introduced the first vintage of Ascot Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Distribution has now extended beyond Connecticut to 9 states, and the wines can be found on the wine lists of prestigious restaurants throughout the country.
Jr and award winning Executive Chef Carla One of these prestigious restaurants is now RAOs Las Vegas located in the legendary Caesars Palace Resort. Frank PellegrinoPellegrino were ready with open arms and great food to launch RAOs signature wines produced by long time friend and diner Robert Summer.
The three signature wines , RAOs 2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay, RAOs 2006 Napa Valley Merlot and RAOs 2006 California Cabernet Sauvignon were paired with a classic southern Italian multi-course dinner by Sommelier Krista Rediske and prepared by Chef Carla Pellegrino
Antipasto Della Casa
Polipo in Padella
RAOs 2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay
Penne alla Vodka
Linguine con Gamberi
RAOs 2006 Napa Valley Merlot
Veal Chops with Cherry Peppers
RAOs 2006 California Cabernet Sauvginon
RAOs Restaurant Dessert Sampler
When the Appetizers were delivered to the table we were amazed at the size of the dish. That was our first clue that we had better pace ourselves considering we had many courses to go. RAOs is known throughout the world for their dishes and we were anxious to get started.
The RAOs 2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay was made in the style that is a personal favorite for a Chardonnay. This lovely Chardonnay was crisp, medium bodied and finished with citrus notes and light tannins. The paring of Sommelier Krista Rediske was right on with all four appetizers.
The PASTA course was one that we were looking forward too simply because of those RAOs meatballs made famous at the legendary RAOs in New York. The meatballs are probably the largest we have seen and could be an Entree on their own.
Krista's pairing of the RAOs 2006 Napa Valley Merlot went well with the Penne alla Vodka , Linguine and the meatballs. This Merlot was a real stand out for us and our pick for the best of the three wines.
We had enjoyed all of these dishes created by Chef Carla Pellegrino and still had the Entree and Dessert to go. RAOs 2006 California Cabernet Sauvignon was paired with a four course entree of Lemon Chicken , Veal Chops, Steak and grilled vegetables.
Considering the diversity of the entree , this was the most difficult pairing of the evening. Krista Rediske , Sommelier showed why she is one of the women sommeliers that are moving into very prestigious dining venues in Las Vegas. Her pairing using the RAOs California Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 went well with the entire entree.
Finishing up this dinning experience was a dessert sampler where Cheescake and Teramasou were the stars of course with some lovely coffee
This dinner was an example of what you can do when you bring together award winning wines, a prestigious Chef and the expertise of a Sommelier to produce a work of art.
These signature wines will not only be available at RAOs but you can find them at Whole Foods as well. And we have learned there will be some events with Chef Carla Pellegrino at Whole Foods so stay tunned !
Join Scott from VINO LAS VEGAS as he speaks with Strawberry Ridge winemaker Robert Summer about his wines, RAOs and Las Vegas