There are many wine events that occur regularly in Atlantic City, but Robert's Steakhouse's wine dinner on Wednesday, May 15, is a can't-miss-event for lots of reasons.
At the very top of the list is that a member of Napa Valley's first family - Marc Mondavi - will host the event, which will take place at 7 p.m. and feature some of the finest selections of Charles Krug wines.
"We do these all over the country, mostly in major metro areas," says Mondavi, 59, the son of Peter and Blanche Mondavi and grandson of Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, the Napa pioneers who purchased the historic Charles Krug winery in 1943. "And most of (the restaurants) do a great job. So with this one being in a steakhouse, it will revolve around meat and mostly red wines. I will give them a bit of history and an update of what we are doing at Charles Krug. I will open it up for some questions. It's funny how at one dinner you can have everyone asking questions and at others no one asks questions."
But Rule No. 1 is that there are no bad questions.
"Absolutely not," says Mondavi, who studied viticulture and enology at the University of California, Davis, as well as marketing at California State University in Sacramento. "I have to be careful sometimes when I start throwing out words and wine terminology because I take it for granted everyone understands it. In the valet, you are talking to wine people and you throw words out and they understand, but every group is different."
The four-course dinner from Executive Chef Will Savarese begins with a reception featuring the 2012 Savignon Blanc St. Helena, which Mondavi says is a tremendous value wine with aromas of passion fruit, lime and a hint of lemongrass. Flavors of melon, citrus and grapefruit perfectly complement a crisp and bright acidity.
The 2011 Chardonnay - Carneros will complement the amuse bouche with tropical fruit, lime and hints of vanilla. Juicy citrus and peach flavors pair with a refreshingly crisp acidity, making the creamy texture of this wine a real reward, especially with its long, bright finish.
Guests will love the quail wrapped in bacon with asparagus, leeks and pancetta paired with the 2011 Pinot Noir - Carneros Napa Valley. The pinot noir tempts the senses with tantalizing aromas of cherry, pomegranate and a touch of brown sugar on the nose. Spicy berries, fleshy red fruits and hints of vanilla dance toward a long, graceful and juicy finish.
The second course features a Robert's original, "Lobster, Lobster, Lobster," with a 2008 St. Helena - Napa Valley Zinfandel, which gives a bold impression of ripe wild berry fruit aromas and cherry pie with crisp acidity, dark chocolate and vibrant spice notes.
The main entree is Robert's in-house, dry-aged New York strip - the best in the city - with braised short rib accompanied by Marc Mondavi's favorite selection: the 2010 Vintage Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley - Estate Bottled.
Since 1944, the Peter Mondavi Family flagship wine, Vintage Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, has been crafted only when the vintage is optimum. A soft, fruity bouquet of raspberry, cherry and dark chocolate forms a prelude to the ripe blackberry, cocoa and hint of pomegranate flavors.
"I am a cabernet guy," Mondavi says. "I drink my share of whites, but if you told me I could have only one wine for the rest of my life, it would be cabernet. Over the past 40 or 50 years through trial and error, we determined our best crops over the different properties and focused on those crops and separated them to make this great cab."
The final course features chocolate-covered strawberry mousse bomb with lemon verbena creme brulee center with the limited release Zinfandel Port, Lot XVI - Napa Valley. Crafted in the spirit of the Solera style, 16 vintages combine to form one great port, a savory composition of berry preserves, toffee and spicy oak aromatics.
"It subtly changes every year," Mondavi says. "Next year, it will feature another vintage. The percentage of the oldest vintage is very small, and the wine doesn't change dramatically, but it does evolve quite nicely."
If that wasn't enough, Robert's Steakhouse - one of the best steakhouses in the city thanks to its steak-aging process - is making this event very affordable at $85. For reservations, call 855-500-7623 or email kmullins@RobertsAtlanticCity.com.
"It's a tremendous value," Mondavi says.