Chef Neil Wyles with diner Karen Dar Woon

Each month, the Hamilton Street Grill offers a wine tasting, featuring three wines paired with Chef Neil Wyles’ dishes. And March was no exception. This past stormy Tuesday evening (Monday’s event was sold out), I was invited to attend the California Cabernet horizontal tasting. The place was packed as this event has grown in both popularity and size over the months. Our three dishes were from the brand new menu that launched yesterday, in time for Dining Out For Life.

Hamilton Street Grill Cab Tasting

Speaking of Dining Out, this will be HSG’s 16th year straight offering up 25% of proceeds from today’s sales to both A Loving Spoonful and Friends For Life, two valuable organizations that help people living with HIV/AIDS.

Hamilton Street Grill Cab Tasting
[Ida Federico, E&J Gallo Canada]

The wine tasting is a social way to check out a new different wines along with fellow food and wine lovers. My table mates included wine connoisseurs, a baker, a jam maker, and personal chef.

Spinach ravioli
[Spinach ravioli]

Our first wine was a 2009 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon, easily drinkable, with red cherry and plum notes, and peppery on first taste. This wine needs at least an hour in air (as we later discovered) and was paired with homemade spinach ravioli in tomato sauce with freshly grated cheese.

Martini and Ghost Pine Cabernets

The second pour was Ghost Pine’s 2008 Winemaker’s Blend Cab Sauvignon, a slightly fuller, mellower and smoother wine, with grapes from both Sonoma and Napa Valleys. This one had blackberry and dark cherry tastes with nutty smoke and firm tannins. It paired very well with Chef Neil’s mini shepherd’s pie.

Shepherd's pie
[Shepherd’s pie]

A mushroom ragout with gnocchi and parmesan cheese followed for a third pairing with Louis Martini’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has hints of cassis and black cherries.

Pouring Louis Martini Cab, our 3rd wine

I found it a bit more complex than the Ghost Pine, however our table unanimously agreed that the Ghost Pine pairing was the best of the group.

Mushroom ragout with gnocchi
[Mushroom ragout with gnocchi]

The tasting is reasonably priced at $25. For future wine and food pairing events, check out the Hamilton Street Grill’s events section on their website.

Hamilton Street Grill
Address: 1009 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
Tasting: 5:30 to 7 pm
Tickets: Limited seating. Reserve online (often sells out in advance)

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