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USA Weekend 'Assemblage'

Monterey, November 8-9, 2013

Bailliage Provincial of Pacific Northwest

One of the hallmarks of the Chaîne is the balance of membership between amateur gastronomes and professional chefs as well as Vintners and Growers. This was no more self-evident than at the recent Pacific Northwest Assemblage, hosted by the Bailli Provincial Michael Martello and Bailli Glenn Hammer of the Bailliage of Monterey Peninsula.

The weekend got off to a wonderful start on the Friday night with a ‘Chefs of the Chaîne’ dinner at Carmel Valley Ranch overseen by Chef Tim Wood. It showcased the professional chefs of the Bailliage of Monterey Peninsula.

Each course from a different restaurant and chef was the theme of the evening complimented by limited production wines. The reception set the scene.

Chef Pat Phinny from Baha Cantina cooked Maine lobster quesadillas while Vice-Conseiller Culinaire Cal Stamenov, Chef of Bernardus Lodge, was searing Sonoma foie gras and offering it with homemade apple jam. This we enjoyed with flutes of Iron Horse Wedding Cuvée 2008.

At the dinner table, the first course was an abalone treat of two distinct versions of the rare shellfish. The first was a take on The Sardine Factory Restaurant’s famous abalone bisque by long-time member Chef Bert Cutino, Conseiller Culinaire d’Honneur. It was served with seared abalone in the shell by Maître Rôtisseur Tene Shake, Chef of Isabel’s Restaurant on Monterey’s famous Fisherman’s Wharf. These were perfectly matched with Mike Manzoni’s (a-soon-to-be Chaîne member) ‘North Highlands Cuvee’ Pinot Gris 2012 of which he made only 328 cases.

We then had River Ranch Vineyards ‘Carmel Valley Single Vineyard’ Reserve Chardonnay 2010 (only 65 cases made) from local Chaîne member, Vice-Échanson Honoraire William Stahl, as Parmesan-crusted California white sea bass and fresh Dungeness crab meat was prepared by Chef Mohammed Tabib, from the Fish Hopper Restaurant on Cannery Row in Monterey, owned by another Chaine member, Sabu Shake, Maître Rôtisseur.

With the third course we moved to game and red wine with roasted squab presented by Chef John Romano and Chef Chris Sprecher, Maître Rôtisseur, of Country Club Caterers. Dan Lee of Morgan Winery was on hand to talk about his Morgan ‘Double L Vineyard’ Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2011.

Next came another ‘double-up’ course: Wagyu New York strip loin with black truffle on a garlic crouton from Chef Tim Wood and braised short rib of beef with horseradish crust, an old recipe of Maître Rôtisseur Kurt Grasing of Grasing's Coastal Cuisine. Another soon-to-be Chaîne member, Jack Galante, poured ‘Blackjack Pasture’ Carmel Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007.

As with many great meals, we enjoyed the ‘salad and cheese’ course after the main. Rogue River Blue and Shropshire Blue Cheeses were presented with a salad of radicchio, poached and dried fruits and nuts. The wine was from the small yet fantastic Marilyn Remark Winery in the Salinas Valley who served their Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah 2009 of which they only made 120 cases made.

Dessert came with the surprise title of ‘Freddy the Forager’s Santa Cruz Apple Crisp’. A half glass of the wonderful Tudor Vineyards Mistral ‘Wein der Eisbox” Tondre Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Riesling 2011 topped off the menu.

It was a rare and beautiful evening of chefs, friends, wine and food.

At Bernardus Lodge on the Saturday night we enjoyed a dinner like no other of recent memory.


Maine lobster and scallop ‘minestrone’

Griva Vineyard Monterey County Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Alder-smoked Sonoma duck breast with roasted foie gras
Pisoni Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2010

Roasted prime lamb rib-eye with porcini and chanterelle mushrooms
 served medium rare with caramelized carrots and a black truffle mustard sauce
Bernardus Marinus Meritage Estate, Carmel Valley 2009

Pear panna cotta, honey with hazelnut sponge and huckleberry meringue
Griva Vineyard, Arroyo Seco, Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2009

I think that a Chaîne event is at its finest when it gets back to the roots of those who love food and those who love to cook it … truly a story of artists and patrons.

Mark Burger, Vice-Chargé de Presse, Bailliage of Monterey Peninsula

Photos: Michael Troutman /