The featured wine was from Milat Vineyards, a small producer (3,500 cases annually) located in St. Helena, California. Mike Milat made the trip out, and was a delightful host, giving us an overview of each of the night's wine selections. Milat vines were planted in 1949, and wine making began in earnest in 1986. Overall, I was impressed with the selections. Here was our menu, with wine notes:
2004 Milat Chenin Blanc
The terrine was excellent. Seafood wrapped in a Salmon outer layer blended nicely with the apple and jicama salad providing texture and sweetness. A hint of saffron was present which brought the terrine in balance with the salad.
The Chenin Blanc was good, but not my favorite. With residual sugars at 2%, I thought it was a little sweet, and the nose had a hint of yeast. An average wine.
2002 Milat Pine Station Red Table Wine
The Pine Station Red, was my favorite wine of the night. A blend of 45% Cabernet, 29% Merlot and 26% Zinfindel, it had a cherry front, with a long finish and excellent balance throughout.
mmmmmmmm smoked cherry demi glace. While the venison itself was a bit of a disappointment, I found the meat to be tender, yet somewhat flavorless, the cocoa interaction with the demi glace was an inspiration. Ramps are a springtime treat with anything and I enjoyed them here.
How many meals have the Cab as an up-front wine? Typically the answer is zero. However this cab, which had been opened for about five hours, was smooth and well balanced. Perhaps a bit too much so, as I've come to expect my California cabs to deliver a story with each mouthful. In this case, I suspect the wine was too young to drink, and the extended breathing time made it acceptable for this course, but also caused it to lose some structure. I would like to try this again right after it has been opened as I suspect it may be celerable.
2002 Milat Merlot
The sweetbreads were the best course of the night. By far. I love sweetbreads, and these were fantastic. Crispy exterior, melt in your mouth interior, with the carrots a perfect match.
The merlot was the second best wine of the night. Full bodied, with a nice long lasting mouth, this is merlot as it used to be.
2002 Milat Zinfandel
The goat cheese finish was excellent and the zin, with its berry forward taste was a perfect match.
A wonderful finish.
We ended buying a case of the Pine Station, which was hard to pass up at $16/bottle. Overall I'd recommend those that like the big California style give Milat a try, as it is quite good, and reasonably priced between $15 and $35.