After the seminar at the Danny Kaye Theatre we walked across the street to the American Bounty Restaurant. This is one of my favorite restaurants on the campus.

We were seated and waited for the first course. As we were waiting, the server filled our glass with a Joseph Carr 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. This wine was paired with Ricotta Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms and Broccoli-Spinach Puree. As we waited for the dish we munched on a cheese roll and sourdough bread. You have to be careful here not to fill up on the bread. It’s very easy to do!

The Ricotta Gnocchi was elegantly placed in front of us. It was incredible! I am not a big mushroom fan and I ate all the shrooms! The wine…this Pinot paired very well with the Gnocchi. On the nose you could smell some alcohol, it was earthy with hints of current. The mid palate on this wine was a little earthy.

The second course was Salad. I should define Salad…Salad of Mache & Roast Beets, House Made yogurt, Pine Nut Butter. This was paired with the 2007 Carneros Chardonnay. The beets were very good and I usually don’t like beets. (something from my childhood and my mom making us eat those beets from the can..yuck!) These beets were the best part of the salad. The greens in the salad looked like the clover weeds in your garden. Even with the wine, I didn’t like the salad. But I ate all my beets. (my mother will be proud) The beets went very well with the Chardonnay.

On to the main course…Roast Strip Loin of Beef, Creamy Farro, Butternut Squash, Merlot Essense. This was paired with two of Joseph’s wines. A 2006 Napa Valley Merlot and a 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I wonder if the CIA used Joseph’s Merlot for the “Essence.” Both my husband and I agreed while the Cab was good the Merlot stood up better to the beef.

Onto dessert…dessert didn’t come with a wine pairing. We finished off the evening with Warm Gingerbread Cake, Carmel Apples, House Churned Ice Cream. Now we were ready for a good night sleep.

I’ve been attending the CIA’s Winter Dinning Series for a number of years. It’s a great value and a wonderful evening. One thing I noticed…while years ago, if we wanted a second glass of wine, it was poured. Now they just give you one glass and that’s it. They need to time their pouring and serving a little better. After they poured the wine for the first course, it was quite a while before the Gnocchi came out. My poor husband had finished his glass by then. I saved some just for the pairing and shared.

If you have the opportunity to take advantage of any of these dinner, you won’t be disappointed!