Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ancient Peaks winemaker dinner with The Range in Santa Margarita shows some of the areas best as we SAVOR the Central Coast with Sunset Magazine

SUNSET Magazine's 1st SAVOR The Central Coast featured the best everything the Central Coast of California has to over from world class wines , sustainable and organic seafood , grass fed beef and free range chicken as well a fascinating history that pre-dates the United States. Winemaker dinners were held all over the Central Coast.   We joined winemaker Mike Sinor at the Range in Santa Margarita for a dinner that still has our mouths salivating for more.
The daily topic as guests attended the many SAVOR events was "where are you going to eat tonight ? "  We answered we were going to The Range in Santa Margarita for a dinner under the stars .  The reaction was always the same.  " The Range ?  You will LOVE  it !  "  We have felt that we know this area pretty well but , The Range is the best kept locals secret we have found in this area for a very long time.



Jeff and Lindsey Jackson offer an old west , casual atmosphere and feature a menu that is constantly changing.   The menu shows Chef Jeff's  inspiration to source products from small local producers many of which produce organic and sustainable goods.  His wine list of course features the best of the central coast as they are located right in the middle of it.  This restaurant is small and keeping with its old west decor and atmosphere , no reservations or credit cards are accepted.  First come , First serve is their motto so our suggestion is to get there early.

As the appetizer of Bloom Micro Greens  and Ancient Peaks Sauvignon Blanc 2009 was served , winemaker Mike Sinor explained the wonderful history of Ancient Peaks Winery. Millions of years ago the ocean floor rose and  the earth's coastal plates  collied and  formed tall peaks that surround their organically farmed Margarita Vineyard near Paso Robles.  Ancient Peaks has produced wines that have caused  quite a stir in the world of wine.  For example , the Oyster Ridge 2006  earned 90 points from Wine Enthusiast , the Zinfandel 2006 scored a very nice 93 points from Wine Spectator and the Merlot 2007 earned 90 points and was Editor's Choice of Wine Enthusiast.
This family owned winery specializes in estate-grown fruit and is owned from three long time winegrowing famlies the Filipponis , Rossis and Wittstroms. Mike Sinor is a hands on winemaker and makes sure the vineyard's true character is reflected in his wines made  with Sustainable viticultural practices.  The Margarita Vineyard has earned the very difficult SIP  ( Sustainability in Practice ) certification that shows the quality of the winemakeing that is done in the vineyard .



First Course :
Babe Farms organic parsely root bisque with hazelnut sage brown butter
Ancient Peaks Sauvignon Blanc 2009 
The fresh sage and parsley  paired with the crisp Sauvignon Blanc provided  notes that showed off the dish and its natural flavors and aromas of the area.
Course Two:
 Roasted Cal Poly Organic Free Range Chicken , Kendall farms creme fraiche and shitake mushroom stroganoff in puff pastry.
Ancient Peaks Malbec 2007
We had many great dishes over this one of a kind weekend , but this dish is most likely THE BEST dish we had the entire time we were in this very special area.  The chicken was moist , full of flavor as the shitake mushrooms added body and earth elements that paired well with the Malbec.

Course Three :
Santa Margarita Ranch Grass fed beef daube , Babe Farm celeriac root puree , baby carrots and Oyster Ridge brasing jus.
Ancient Peaks Osyter Ridge Cuvee 2007
This dish provided the guests a feel for what this area is all about.  The vast and historic Santa Margarita Ranch is literally located right out side of  the windows of The Range.  The ingredients combine for a taste of Santa Margarita itself with Chef Jeff using the Oyster Ridge Cuvee provided  a nice touch.


Course Four :
Bitter Chocolate Torte Cabernet Sauvignon , plumped cherries and chilled cardamom sabayon
Ancient Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Yes,  you can use a big Cabernet with dessert when done correctly. This  Cabernet Sauvignon from the close by Margarita Vineyard  was a  spot on pairing with the last course.  Aromas of plum and cherry come through on the nose with cassis and  black berry jam ending with a long finish with balanced tannins.



Historic Santa Margarita provided a very special backdrop at The Range and Ancient Peaks winemaker dinner.  This intimate affair at SAVOR the Central Coast provided guests a dinner that showed off the food and wines of the area with an historical and sustainable perspective. Both terms describe the Central Coast of California to a Tee . We travel this area often and we know The Range and Ancient Peaks Winery will be two stops we will not miss .

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Elaine and Scott

Elaine and Scott
Elaine and Scott