Taste of Wine: Two new releases at West End, Daou wine dinners

The only thing better than a great valued wine dinner with outstanding food and wine is one where guests can try newly released wines. Those attending Sal Ercolano’s latest Daou Family Estates wine dinner at his West End Bar & Kitchen in Del Mar were some of the first to try two newly released Daou wines: Bodyguard Chardonnay and Sequentis Merlot.

As usual, Sal Ercolano, proprietor of West End and Flora restaurants and Taste of Wine & Food’s 2020 Restaurateur of the Year, scheduled an additional night to accommodate the demand for the most recent Daou Family Estate’s wine dinners — three nights in total.

Roman Palumbo, Daou Family Estates’ business development manager in Southern California, narrated the evening with Daou facts and tasting notes.

Guests savored the four-course and dessert wine dinner. The evening kicked off with a few of Chef Noe’s bites, including salmon carpaccio, stuffed mushroom, and bacon-wrapped date served with Daou’s Sauvignon Blanc.

The second course was Spanish Octopus garnished with oregano and parsley alongside fingerling potatoes paired with one of the two new releases – 2020 Bodyguard Chardonnay.

Bodyguard is dedicated to Daniel and Georges Daou’s mother, Marie Daou, who always protected the four children, the boys and their sisters, including when an errant missile hit outside their house in Lebanon where the brothers grew up before migrating to France and then the US.

Left to right) Taste of Wine & Food's Frank Mangio (left) and Rico Cassoni (right) stand with Daou Family Estates representative Roman Palumbo. Courtesy photo
Left to right) Taste of Wine & Food’s Frank Mangio (left) and Rico Cassoni (right) with Daou Family Estates representative Roman Palumbo. Courtesy photo

The 2020 Bodyguard Chardonnay is a cold fermented wine aged in 70% new French oak and 30% American oak. The golden apple, mango, banana, vanilla, and (toasted) coconut flavors and perfume were intriguing with a creamy mouthfeel to finish complimenting the herb-infused octopus. Like the Bodyguard Red, Bodyguard Chardonnay is an approachable luxury!

Attendees had back-to-back new releases in the third course. Homemade pipe-shaped pasta stuffed with lamb ragu topped with marinara sauce, microgreens and grated cheese was served with Daou’s newly released 2019 Sequentis Merlot.

Sequentis is aged 20 months in 50% new French oak with deep opaque coloring Daou is known for with plum and black cherry palate. The arrival of Sequentis supports what Senior Editor Mangio mentioned last week – merlot is alive again after 15 years of the negative impact from the movie “Sideways.”

Dinner featured West End duck confit as the fourth course, potentially one of the best confits in all of San Diego. The confit was served with garden-fresh zucchini, mashed potatoes, and one of the top $50 cabernets on the market, Daou 2019 Reserve Cabernet.

The evening concluded with chocolate pudding topped with raspberries served alongside Daou Pessimist Red Blend (syrah, petite sirah, zinfandel, and tannat). It was a flavorful pairing.

Great job Sal, Chef Noe, and Roman for a memorable evening!

— Story by Tech Director/Writer Rico Cassoni

Wine Bytes

— Ercolano’s next wine dinner series is at Flora Bar & Kitchen, Carmel Valley (San Diego) for three big nights of legendary Napa Valley Wagner Family / Caymus Vineyards at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, Oct. 19, 21 and 22.  Caymus has earned a reputation for quality and consistency, perfect for the Flora menu of unique dishes. The cost is $85 per person plus tax and gratuity. Call 858-461-0622 to reserve your seat.