I completely adore Littorai pinot noir.
I wrote that first sentence and somehow feel that the point of my story today is more than half accomplished. I adore Littorai pinot noir. J’adore! It even looks good in French.
So I was thrilled when I learned that Hegui and I had the chance to attend another San Francisco dinner with the winemaker, Ted Lemon. We didn’t know Campton Place Restaurant but that didn’t seem as important as the wine somehow—that is until we dined at this divine establishment.
About a block from Union Square, in the heart of the San Francisco shopping district, the restaurant is gorgeous. Sadly my only camera was an eye-phone so most of the pictures leave much to be desired. Take our word for it; the dining room at Campton Place is elegant. And the staff is impeccable. I understand they’re known for their wine collection and often host winemaker’s dinners. Click here for the schedule.
Since it’s fairly small, the entire space was taken up by the Littorai event. That seemed especially grand. We stood around for a bit sipping (or perhaps trying to sip—it was just too darn tasty. I was probably gulping) the 2009 Mays Canyon chardonnay. It was the only wine not on the preprinted menu so I’m not positive here. That’s when we met our really cool tablemates, Pam and Bill. Like us, they’re fairly new to Littorai but Bill particularly is a dyed-in-the-wool pinotfile.
Turns out that fifth at table was Littorai Assistant Winemaker John Wilson. Unfortunately, Ted Lemon couldn’t attend at the last minute due to the death of his father. So sorry! We’re thinking of you and your family, Ted.
That was heavy news, but it didn’t dampen our spirits for too long. John turned out to be like a younger version of Ted—intense, charming and charmingly nerdy, extremely informative and always very polite. We really liked him and what great luck it was to sit by him as we tasted away.
Since we drank mostly 2009s all night, which I’ve written about in a couple of other places on the blog already, I’ve decided to focus on the meal and just give our most general impressions on the wine. You can read the other stories if you’re curious or better yet try the wine yourselves.
The first course was lobster velouté with red pepper and summer squash. It was paired with the 2010 Theiriot Vineyard, Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. This is the wine that I liked a lot when we went on the Littorai biodynamic tour. It was a perfect match and a great start to what turned out to be a fine meal.
Then Chef Srijith Gopinathan surprised us all with a green apple, arugula, avocado amuse bouche. Light and really refreshing, it created a mini-sensation at our table.
Next came the Alaskan cod with roasted nori crumbs, squid ink linguini and bonito broth (my favorite dish of the evening) with two pinots: 2009 Savoy Vineyard, Anderson Valley and 2009 Cerise Vineyard, Anderson Valley. Both wines were great though I sort of preferred the more funky nose and fuller bodied Cerise.
Instead of lamb loin, we were offered an exciting pescatarian option: string halibut with mixed veggies in a spiced cashew sauce. “It’s like Indian taken to the next level. It has all the ingredients that we are using, but different,” Hegui exclaimed. The wine pairing: 2009 The Pivot Vineyard, Estate Bottled Sonoma Coast and the 2009 Hirsch Vineyard, Sonoma Coast pinots perhaps didn’t quite work with the spicy cashew sauce, but I didn’t mind. Both wines were amazing anyway.
A cheese plate was offered all diners rather than sweets. These were Abbaye de Belloc and San Andreas Bellwether Farms , though it beats me which is which. Sadly, and if there is a criticism to make about the entire event, this is it: the wine had run out by the time we arrived at the cheese course. Bill wasn’t deterred one bit by that tiny bump in the road. He ordered a bottle of 2006 Littorai Sonoma Coast pinot noir—I think that’s the one—and shared with the whole table. Thanks again, Bill!!
At the end, the staff gave everyone shiny little boxes with some tiny sweets, ostensibly to take home, though I ate ours there Fin.
So it was a perfect evening all around: good food, great wine, meeting new friends and wine lovers, and even stimulating our intellects. Try Campton Place Restaurant when you’re next in town. And definitely look for Littorai.