Sunday, October 16, 2011


Yes, indeedie! I’ve been to some interesting wine dinners in the past – on trains, at old mansions, at wine shops and many, many restaurants, and yes, now that I think about it, one at the upscale West Point Market here in Akron. But my local Giant Eagle? Whod’a thunk it?

Give credit to the folks that organized this, it was a very nice event. Chef Tim Monsman created a five course tasting menu that was paired with five wines from Cline Cellars out of Sanoma. For $15 this was a very economical evening and I walked away slightly wine-happy and extremely tummy stuffed….OK, tummy over-stuffed.

Aside from the food being served on plastic plates and plastic cutlery (completely understandable given the location), this was a first-class event. Also, credit to my fellow diners at the table who made me feel welcome (thanks Nancy for including me with your group!).

A fun thing we learned was that the Cline Cellar family are descendants of the Jacuzzi family - yes, that means that their great-grandfather was the inventor of the Jacuzzi.  Neat, huh? 

The Cline Cashmere was originally a blend put together by the wife (who'd had no prior wine experience) for a Breast Cancer fund raiser a few years ago.  It became a hit with the locals and they have been making it every year since.

Some tasting notes – 1) the soup was a bit spicy and overwhelmed the Zin poured with it, and 2) for me, none of these wines were what I’d term exceptional. Wine, of course, is very subjective and other folks at our table made purchases of some of these which indicated to me that they liked them. The Cashmere was popular as was the Chardonnay.)

Here is the complete pairing menu (with photos - I'm learning to use my camera phone but I won't be making that mistake again!)

Pan Fried Corn Cakes with Sweet Chili Sauce served with a Chardonnay

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Chili served with a Zinfandel

Braised Chicken, Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce, Mafalda Pasta served with Cline Cashmere (a vineyard specific blend)

Beef Short Ribs, Lentils, Squash Dumplings served with Ancient Vines Mourvedre

Orange Poached Pears, Toasted Pecans, Crème Anglaise served with a Viognier

The corn cakes were the hit of the meal followed closely by the tender short ribs - Chef Tim did a wonderful job. An even better thing, he provided recipes for each item so that we can recreate these at home. I’m already imagining corn cakes in my very near future!

For any of my local friends who are interested, there will be yet another wine dinner in November. Get your reservations in early as I’m told these are sold out quickly. Chef Tim is also putting together a Beer tasting menu for October 28th, four courses and four locally brewed beers. If you’re a beer fiend, sign up now! Call the store at 330-342-9995 to get further information.


  1. Helen sent me your way! Great blog :)

  2. Thanks Alena and thanks to Helen! Sorry it's been quiet around here the past month or so, hope to get back into the swing of things in 2012.