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Cabernet Sauvignon night at Cella Bistro

By Irving Dean
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
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Cella Bistro in Schenectady had another of its wonderful wine pairing dinners on Sunday, this time featuring Cabernet Sauvignons from around the world — one with each of the five courses.

Our hosts for the evening were wife Beverly’s sister and brother-in-law, Janice and Bill Feher, who drove up from Connecticut just for the event.

Chef Michael Cella once again demonstrated his creative thinking in the kitchen by presenting delightful and unusual dishes with each wine, starting with the very first course, which featured house-smoked barbecued chicken samosas — tender and flavorful chicken morsels with tiny peas and bits of potatoes in a flaky, golden pastry pouch. Its accompanying wine was the only French entry of the evening, a 2008 Gérard Bertrand Cabernet Sauvignon “réserve spéciale.”

One of my favorites of the evening was the second course, and it was the cheese that did it. It was a salad of fall greens with duck confit, fall greens, sour cherry pomegranate vinaigrette with toasted pecans and crumbled Cambozolo, which is a wonderful combination of French soft triple cream cheese and Italian Gorgonzola. The wine was Columbia Crest’s Horse Heaven Hills Cab from Washington state.

Kobe beef sliders were next up with Muenster and Irish Cheddar cheeses, tobacco onions and chipotle ketchup. The wine was from the Colchagua Valley of Chile, a Montes Classic Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2010.

Some family sentiment went into in the fourth course. It was “Gramma Cella’s Meat and Spinach Ravioli,” made from hand-rolled pasta dough. Julia Cella, the chef’s wife and front-end manager of the restaurant, remembered for the dinner guests the first time she was a holiday guest of her husband’s family and got to eat Gramma’s ravioli.

Sunday’s ravioli were served with Parmagiano Reggiano and a porcini “gravy,” and the wine was from Australia, Mollydooker the Maitre d’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, a robust wine that I particularly liked, though not quite as much as the Napa Valley’s entry, which accompanied the fifth course.

Now it was time for lamb -- beautifully rare, marinated lamb chops from Colorado that were charcoal grilled and served over minestra with extra virgin olive oil and a sprightly salsa verde. The wine, my favorite of the evening, was from Serling Vineyards in the Napa, a 2009 vintage.

And after all that, there was a touch of flourless chocolate cake with a swirl of chocolate ganache on top and a whisper of — what else — Cabernet Sauvignon.

Watch for future wine and/or beer pairing dinners on Cella Bistro’s website, which is HERE.

PHOTO: The view from my end of the table at Cella Bistro's Cabernet Sauvignon wine pairing dinner.

 
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