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Gloria Ferrer’s Pinot Noir Clones Tasting

Gloria Ferrer Tasting of Pinot Noir Clones

Gloria Ferrer Tasting of Pinot Noir Clones

Last Thursday, March 31st, we made our way to a special wine tasting focused on diverse Pinot Noir clones growing at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards. To arrive at the The Carlyle Hotel where the Riggsby restaurant is located, we boarded two metro trains before reaching the Dupont Circle station. From the station it was only a short walk to The Riggsby, a well-known restaurant in the area.

We arrived at the Carlyle Hotel and entered into a bright, well-maintained area covered with shining marble flooring. To our immediate right was the bar that was quiet upon our arrival. We were immediately welcomed and within a minute or so, the Gloria Ferrer marketing specialist, Eva Bertran met us. As we were a bit early, we were gracefully asked to have a seat in the restaurant bar.

A delicious 1st course at the Riggsby Restaurant in Washington, DC

A delicious 1st course at the Riggsby Restaurant in Washington, DC

A short time later we were escorted to a quiet, private dining room, where eight places settings with Pinot Noirs produced with five clones had been poured. Each setting offered information regarding the Gloria Ferrer clones and wines. A printed placemat identified each of the wines. A map detailed the many acres of vineyards at Gloria Ferrer. Everyone at the event was cordial and we were quickly seated. The Gloria Ferrer winemaker, Steven Urberg  began talking about Gloria Ferrer and the Pinot Noir clones that the winery has been researching for years. He included comments on the climate that affects the vineyards including mentioning how the wind comes through the pass and that at some locations the wind causes the trees to grow at a 45 degree angle.

The wine and food experience was delightful especially since it was a small, friendly group who were focused on wines. Isn’t wine also about food and friends? Everyone was interested in the various Pinot Noir clonal wines and appeared to appreciate the opportunity to learn about Gloria Ferrer’s wines.

Steven spent about an hour discussing the attributes about the wines and allowing us to ask numerous questions. After he finished his presentation, we were asked to return to the restaurant’s bar area for a few minutes to enjoy appetizers paired with a glass of Gloria Ferrer’s 2007 Royal Cuvée. By this time the restaurant appeared full and the noise was a bit overwhelming in the bar. However, after tasting several Pinot Noirs, the Cuvée was a delightful change of pace.

The appetizers included Homemade Potato Chips with Green Onion Dip and Deviled Eggs with Calabrian Chiles & Crispy Chicken Skin. The potato chips were large and crispy. For me, they were a tad bit too spicy. The deviled eggs were delicate but also spicy hot. Perhaps the spiciness of the appetizers emphasized the cooling, deliciousness of the Gloria Ferrer Cuvée.

Soon we were asked to return to the original private dining room for dinner. The three course dinner began with Lightly Smoked Trout with Spring Vegetables. The fish was very tender with hints of smokiness. This was paired with the 2014 José S. Ferrer Chardonnay. This  2014 Chardonnay is being launched by Gloria Ferrer during April.

The second course was Fresh Spaghetti with Truffled Maitake paired with the 2013 Carneros Estate Pinot Noir. The pasta was very soft and offered a delicious flavor of truffles.

The third course was Roasted Chicken with Broccoli Rabe, Roasted Potatoes and Mustard. The entrée was paired with the 2013 Gravel Knob Pinot Noir. The chicken was tender and succulent and the petite potatoes and broccoli were prepared perfectly. Unfortunately after the pasta dish, the amount of food was a bit overwhelming.

The evening ended with a cheese plate which included handmade crackers flavored with sea salt and rosemary. The cheese plate was paired with the 2013 Rust Rock Terrace Pinot Noir. The entire evening was educational and entertaining. The wines paired well with the foods. What can be better than wine, food and friends?

Be sure to check out the Gloria Ferrer website which is very informative. Also, if you are in the Dupont Circle area, check out The Riggsby restaurant which offers delicious selections on their menus.


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