Monday, March 21, 2011

Ron Bunnell @ Tsunami

Tsunami has been around for 12 or 13 years I believe. It continues to be one of my favorite places to eat & drink at in all of Memphis. Recently Joe's Wines & Liquors hosted a wine tasting with Ron Bunnell of Bunnell Family Cellar in Washington State. Ron's wines are absolutely stunning. From lithe, aromatic whites to bold, rich, gripping reds. He lets the vineyard sites come through to produce magic. Now pairing a Pacific Rim style restaurant with a winemaker who specializes in Rhone varietals might not seem like the best idea. On the contrary, it was delightful.

I worked with Rumi, the manager, to pair the tasting portions with the wines we were pouring. Rumi coordinated with Joe & Donny in the kitchen & they created dishes that matched up beautifully with each wine.

We started the evening off with a glass of the zesty, aromatic, bracing River Aerie Gewurztraminer. It makes for a perfect aperitif & I could easily see myself kicking it with this wine all summer long. Which in Memphis is unfortunately a very very long time!

First Tasting Plate: bacon wrapped dates in a spicy red sauce paired with Bunnell Family Cellars Grenache
Beautiful pairing, the sweet gelatinuous nature of the date & smoky meaty bacon played off the grip & dark fruit of the grenache.

Second: Smoked Salmon Bruschetta with herb-mango salsa & parsley salad paired with Bunnell Family Cellars Lia
Salmon is a very versatile fish for red wine & both came together in a lovely way. The Rhone style blend just popped with the smoky briny quality of the salmon & the acidity of the tomatoes

Third: Orange-Chili glazed beef satay paired with Bunnell Family Cellars Mourvedre
This mourvedre is dark & deep but also has a distinctive citrus, almost kumquat, flavor note that is just so cool & unique. The beef in chili-orange glaze brought out more fruit & dark bittersweet notes in the wine. So tasty.

Fourth: Walnut Crusted Lamb Loin with Blueberry Coulis paired with Bunnell Family Cellars Syrah Clifton Hill Vineyard
Syrah & lamb are a no brainer right? But what they did here was sublime. The nut crust played off the texture of the wine while the blueberry sauce & the gaminess of the lamb were a beautiful contrast to the weight, gaminess & blue-smoky fruit of the syrah. Joe used some lamb kidney in the coulis that gave it such a rich mouthfeel. Superb.

Fifth: Coriander Crusted Beef Tataki with White Bean puree, Newman Farm Bacon & Mizuna paired with Bunnell Family Cellars Syrah 2004 Boushey Mcpherson Vineyard & 2007
Wow. I! The 2004 syrah is gamy, meaty, smoky, earthy & has all this dark heady espresso notes to it that just grab me. It grabs ahold of me every time I sip it. Its the kind of wine that you close your eyes while sipping it. The perfectly tender texture of the beef & the coriander crust were a lovely, earthy match with both wines.

Thank you Tsunami! I love you!

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