A Delicious Dream of Food and Wine #31DaysOfLove

December 24, 2012 2 Comments by Champagne Girl

Sometimes my busy schedule prevents me from going events that I really want to attend and I have to live vicariously through my fellow bloggers.  Recently Napa Flair in West Chase hosted an exclusive holiday wine tasting for bloggers and sadly, I had a schedule conflict and could not be a part of this magical evening.  I decided to do the next best thing and send my dear friend and photographer extraordinaire,  Rebecca Hagen, in my place. With a distinct eye for capturing stunning images, Rebecca is the photographic genius behind Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts.  She also just so happens to share my love for food and wine.  Rebecca attended the event with some of my favorite blogger gals and these fabulous ladies enjoyed an evening a great wine and remarkable food catered by Grille 54.  After reading about the event from fellow bloggers Dash of Les, Tampa Wine Woman and Ruffles and Truffles, I almost felt like I was at the event. All of these ladies wrote magnificent features on this delicious night and yes, I am still jealous.

 

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photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts

 

Located in charming West Chase, Napa Flair is a breathtaking wine boutique owned by LuAnn Shapiro who is a woman after my own heart.  Her vision of Napa Flair was conceived while she was living and working in Napa Valley.  As someone who grew up just a short drive from wine country, I am just blown away by what she has created. The first time I visited Napa Flair last fall, I was overwhelmed with emotion and felt like I was back home in Northern California.  I even purchased one of my favorite pieces of art from her store and it truly brings a piece of Napa to my home. If you want to learn more about wine or are looking for your next favorite bottle, I encourage you to take a trip out to Napa Flair. LuAnn studied at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, CA and received her Advanced Certified Professional Wine Degree. After graduating she was hired by the author of  The Wine Bible as a professional wine taster and then went on to work for Hartwell Vineyards where she was involved in sales, marketing, private wine and cheese tastings and special events.  All of her experiences in Napa led to the inspiration of  Napa Flair

 

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photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts

 

With a fabulous showcase of wines from not only Napa Valley but around the world, Napa Flair is like a wine lover’s paradise. With prices starting as low as $7.99, there is something for everyone’s palate and her knowledge on food and wine pairing is truly unrivaled. I have discovered some of my favorite wines at her store and can’t wait to return.

 

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photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts

 

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” -Benjamin Franklin

 

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photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts

 

“There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of Champagne.” -Bette Davis

 

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photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts

 

These lucky ladies kicked off their evening with one of my favorites…….a glass of Lucien Albrecht Cremant D’alsace Blanc de Blancs with a sweet hibiscus submerged in the glass. I have actually had this bubbly concoction before at event where LuAnn was pouring and I loved it so much I went out and bought a jar of wild hibiscus flowers and am never without them in my home.  This was the perfect way to begin an evening of scrumptious food as the girls were in for yet another treat.  They were going to have fabulous wines from Middleton Family Vineyards paired with each course.

 

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photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts

 

I am going to share the delectable menu that the girls enjoyed the same way I experienced the event, through the eyes of my photographer’s lens. I have not yet had the pleasure to taste any of these wines, so I encourage you to read about them in the features written by my fellow bloggers.  I will provide links again at the end.

So, are you ready? Let’s start with the menu from this spectacular evening:

 

Holiday Wine Pairing at Napa Flair Wine & Store
Cuisine provided by Grille 54
 
Smoked Salmon Carpaccio
Paired with Buried Cane Chardonnay
 
Hurricane Roll: krab, cream cheese, smelt roe, cucumber, topped with oven-baked chopped shrimp, krabstick, and spicy mayo and sriracha
Paired with Clayhouse Adobe White
 
 Maryland Crab Cake: Seasoned jumbo lump Maryland Blue Crab meat served with a garlic aioli
Paired with Sauvignon Blanc
 
 Sunburn Roll:  Real lobster meat, asparagus, and avocado roll topped with seared tenderloin served with a wasabi vinaigrette
 Paired with Clayhouse Adobe Red
 
Slow-roasted Lamb Shoulder with garlic mashed potatoes, fresh cherry confetti
Paired with Clayhouse Malbec
  
Kobe Beef Sliders on mini brioche with blue cheese and bacon, paired with Cadaretta Cabernet
 
 
 
 
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Smoked Salmon Carpaccio, photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
 

Is there anything better than smoked salmon carpaccio? When I saw this photo I could almost taste it, especially the gorgeous arugula and fresh Parmesan on top. This divine dish was paired with Buried Cane Chardonnay.  I have since gone out and purchased a bottle which I will open over the holidays.

 
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photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts

 

As an avid sushi lover, I was excited when I saw photos of this next incredible pairing. From what I hear, the sushi at Grille 54 is nothing short of incredible and I am looking forward to dining there in the very near future.  The girls next tasted their fabulous Hurricane Roll which is a tasty combination of krab, cream cheese, smelt roe, cucumber, topped with oven-baked chopped shrimp, krabstick, and spicy mayo and sriracha.  This roll truly sounds like a dream and based on everyone’s feedback, it was divine.

 

 
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Hurricane Rolls, photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
 
 

The fabulous Hurricane Rolls were paired with the Clayhouse Adobe White. With floral notes of orange honey blossom and lemon citrus. Jasmine, pear, peach, mango and lychee, I can only imagine the pairing of this wine with the Hurricane Rolls.

 

 
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photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
 
 
 

The next dish is so visually stunning, I can only imagine how delicious it was.  I love Maryland Crab Cakes and these look almost to beautiful to eat.  Seasoned jumbo lump Maryland Blue Crab meat served with a garlic aioli, these are some of the best looking crab cakes I have ever seen.

 
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Maryland Crab Cakes, photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
 

Paired with the Maryland Crab Cakes was the Cararetta SBS (Savignon Blanc/Semillon).  This is another wine I really want to try.

 
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photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
 
 

The next dish had me drooling, as Rebecca sent me a picture of this via text the night of the event.  It was the Sunburn Roll. Ok, this is like the Rolls Royce of sushi rolls. Real lobster meat, asparagus, and avocado roll topped with seared tenderloin served with a wasabi vinaigrette, I went to bed and dreamed of these that night. From what I understand, they were pretty darn spectacular.

 
 
 
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Sunburn Rolls, photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
 

Paired with the Sunburn Rolls was Clayhouse Wines Adobe Red which is a proprietary Zinfandel-based blend with effusive aromas of cherry spice, blackberry and pepper, with hints of brambles and plum.  It sees these two made quite a pair. Once again, I am very jealous. :)

 
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photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
 

The next dish these lucky ladies had really excites me.  Slow-roasted Lamb Shoulder with garlic mashed potatoes and fresh cherry confetti, I love the presentation of this exquisite dish. I love lamb and this looks simply divine.

 
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Slow-roasted Lamb Shoulder, photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
 

Perfectly paired with the lamb was the Clayhouse 2010 Malbec.  According to the tasting notes, it is dark and ripe, with wild strawberry jam and cedar aromas. Flavors are of mild spice, sweet wild anise and ripe raspberry, with hints of vanilla and Chinese star anise.

 
 

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photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
 

 I adore sliders and my lucky blogger gals got to taste what look to me like little pieces of heaven. Kobe Beef Sliders on mini brioche with blue cheese and bacon,  be-still my heart! There is nothing better than blue cheese and bacon on a slider and these look simply fabulous.

 
 
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Kobe Beef Sliders, photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
 

Paired with the sliders was the Cadaretta 2009 Cabernet, which according to the winemaker, this wine has  ”intense aromatics up front, showing red fruit flavors melded to baking spice: cardamom and clove. Ripe strawberry and black cherry tones are underlain by deeper earthy notes, and lightly tinged with citrus-evoking orange zest. On the palate, pomegranate and black plum juices flood the entry, leading to a sensual and voluminous mouth-feel. Mineral and earthy tones fill the mid-palate, leading into a lush and fine-grained finish, framed by mocha and blackberry. Refreshingly balanced alcohol and juicy natural acidity bring length and grace to this richly-textured wine.”  Based on the tasting notes, this wine must have tasting amazing with the sliders.

 

 
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photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
 

This magical evening ended on a sweet note with Blueberry Pana Cotta. As I look at the photo, I can taste the sweet, creaminess and fresh fruit. Pana Cotta is one of my favorite desserts and this looks like perfection on a plate.  Hats of to Grille 54, I am impressed by their menu and elegant presentation. I can’t wait to dine there in the next few weeks.

 
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Blueberry Pana Cotta, photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
 
 

I would like to introduce four amazing ladies that I simply adore. From left to right, Katie, Megan, Jodi and Leslie.  Here are links to their blogs:

Katie: Ruffles and Truffles

Megan: I Run For Wine

Jodi: Wine in Tampa

Leslie: Dash of Les

I adore these girls and am honored to know them.

 

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photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
 

I would like to thank LuAnn for hosting such a nice event and for bringing some of Napa to Tampa Bay. With New Years coming up, I can’t think of a better place to shop for wine for all of your festivities. Cheers LuAnn!

 

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photo courtesy of Blink of an Eye Photographic Arts
 

As part of my #31DaysOfLove, I am offering a gift certificate to Napa Flair. To enter, simply comment on this post and tell me what wine you most enjoy.  I will pick a winner on December 30th.  Cheers!

 

Grille 54 on Urbanspoon

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Katie
    1 year ago

    Such a wonderful evening – wish you’d been there!

    I have to say…it’s hard to pick a favorite wine…but the Clayhouse Adobe Red and White blends are officially being added to my favorites list for reasonably priced bottles! YUM!

    Reply

  2. LuAnn Shapiro
    1 year ago

    Thanks for the great article! It was a fun evening! Hope to see you all soon!

    Reply

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