Rajat Parr – A Somm & His Wines!
Rajat Parr is one of the most famous sommeliers in the U.S. He is also a very busy man! Not only is he wine director for the Michael Mina restaurant group in San Francisco, co-author of the highly respected Secrets of the Sommeliers (in fact, he won his first James Beard Award for this) he is ALSO a founding co-owner of a winery and a winemaker! I recently attended a wine dinner featuring some of these wines!
Held at the beautiful restaurant Capa, located on the top floor of the Four Seasons in Orlando, the dinner was lovely and the wines were fabulous! Considering that this is a WINE blog, not a food blog, I’m going to focus on the wines!
During the reception we were poured the 2012 Sandhi Santa Barbara County Chardonnay. This is NOT the typical California Chard. This straw colored wine has white flowers, meyer lemon, apricots and honeydew melon on the nose. The palate is very well balanced with lively acidity, the meyer lemon, green apple and a touch of oak with butterscotch flavors. I will seek this wine out and buy it by the case. Yum!!!!
The first course of the meal was paired with the 2012 Sandhi Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay. On the nose is citrus and tart apple. The palate has razor sharp acidity, citrus, tart apple, lots of minerality and is very fresh. This wine tastes much more like a White Burgundy than a California Chardonnay. It actually reminds me of a Pluigny-Montrachet! Again, a delightful wine.
Next up was the 2011 Maison L’Orée Meursault Charmes. As a white Burgundy freak, I was very excited to taste this. Rajat Parr is also a Burgundy freak! The wines of this region have always inspired him, therefore an opportunity to create a negociant house to help produce wines from this region was undoubtedly a dream come true for him. This Meursault Charmes (a Premiers Cru) has medium ++ acidity balanced by a wonderful creaminess. This wine definitely reflects it’s sense of place, while bursting with citrus flavors and finishing with baking spices.
On to the reds we went with the 2012 Domaine de la Côte Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. I’m very picky when it comes to this varietal and oh boy, I wasn’t disappointed. On the nose are lively fresh flowers and lots of red fruit, especially strawberry, raspberry and cranberry. The palate confirms the fruit and has some good earthiness. Fermented with 50% whole cluster and 50% stem inclusion, this Pinot Noir never sees new oak. 2100 cases were bottled.
The last wine of the evening was the 2012 Domaine de la Côte Blooms Field Pinot Noir. With rose petals and ripe red fruit on the nose, the palate was quite lush with candied strawberries, dark cherries, some pepper and a touch of saline. That doesn’t surprise me considering this vineyard is located only 8 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Fermented with 100% whole cluster and 100% stem inclusion, this is again aged in 100% neutral French oak. 500 cases were bottled.
All of the night’s wines poured were lovely. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for each of them. Rajat and his partners should be very proud, and have a very bright future in front of them!
Here are the links: