Three days a week, George Cossette, Randy Clement and April Langford host tastings at their sleek wine shop, which specializes in “small production, high quality, artisanal wines.” On Sundays, they host the mot ambitious of the events. 40 people are invited to enjoy four wines, one aperitif and hors d’oeuvres. Talented local chefs prepare the food, including Brandon Boudet (Little Dom’s, Dominick’s) and DJ Olsen (Lou). On October 12, Silverlake Wine hosted a special 90-person blowout. A couple of up-and-coming chefs – Matthew Poley (savory) and Tara Maxey (sweet) of Michael’s on Naples and Heirloom LA catering – prepared a sumptuous five-course feast (paired with Silverlake vino) for only $20 per person. This act of charity from Silverlake Wine led to an unforgettable event.
As soon as the event started at 3 PM, Poley and Maxey distributed three passed appetizers, including Carne Cruda (raw filet mignon) on grilled bread with pancetta aioli, which was rich in all the right ways.
The wine pairing: Allimant-Laugner Cremant d’Alsace Rose Non Vintage / France. This was a sparkling Alsatian wine made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes.
The other passed appetizers: Spicy Tuna Tartar on Fried Kettle Chips and crostini with chanterelle mushrooms and burrata, but the last option never reached our wine island.
Next up: a family-style bowl of Panzanella – Heirloom tomato and Charred Bread Salad with Cucumber, Basil, Bell Peppers, rocket, balsamic vinaigrette and gobs of burrata (half mozzarella, half cream). Chefs have been saying this is an epic year for tomatoes, as evidenced by the juicy, late-harvest specimens in this bowl.
The wine pairing: Les Vins de Vienne “Les Laurelles” Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2006 / France. Randy said it’s “made by three superstar winemakers in Rhone Valley,” calling it “an elegant white wine.” No argument.
The wine pairing: Borie La Vitarelle “Les Schiste” 2006 / France. According to Randy, Borie La Vitarelle is “a small winery, from people who have never left the south of France, all about the farm.” The winery was formed in 1990. “Schiste is a certain type of ground” that produces a “hearty fall wine.”
The wine pairing: Bridesmaid Red Napa Valley 2004 / California. Randy informed us that Bridesmaid is a Napa Valley partnership between winemakers Pam Starr and Drew Neiman. There’s no Bridesmaid winery. Instead, the wine is produced at a “custom crush facility.” The wine is a blend of Syrah, cabernet and Merlot. It got its name because a bridesmaid is “confident, hot, single and available to you.”
Tara Maxey handled dessert duties. Sadly, the chefs’ home was robbed the night before, including her ice cream maker. People passed around a bowl to collect donations to buy a replacement machine. To show our appreciation, almost everybody in the room tossed in some dollars. Even without her ice cream maker, Maxey made three impressive desserts.
The wine pairing: Tintero Moscato d’Asti “Sori Gramella 2007 / Italy. Kermit Lynch of Berkeley imported the bubbly northern Italian “sweet wine.”
Considering the cost of the meal and quality of the ingredients, this was an absolutely remarkable value. It’s too much to ask that every Sunday tasting at Silverlake Wine to be so impressive, but even at half-pace, their Sunday dinners are well-worth investigating. You don’t have to wait for a chance meal to experience Poley and Maxey’s soulful cooking. It’s only a 40-minute drive to Long Beach for Michael’s on Naples, and they cater.