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lilvixen

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Has anyone attended a dinner and wine pairing event at a restaurant? The type of event where they have a set menu and provide a paired wine with each course? Are they fun? Are they worth it?

After hearing about the idea, I've found three Italian restaurants in town that do these types of events: one big one does monthly Spirited Dinners of 6+ courses with a showcased spirit each month (i.e. wine this month, tequila next month), and the two small restaurants do wine events with fewer courses and less frequency. The big one is pricey ($125-150 per person) and the smaller ones are about $65 a person. They sound like they could be pretty fun, assuming one likes the menu.

If you've done one, how was your experience?
 

ibglowin

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We have a local restaurant that the owner/chef graduated from Le Cordon Bleu school in France. She started out doing beer pairing dinners at the local beer coop for $60 a head. We attended 3-4 of those and all were amazing and we came out stuffed........

Then she decided to do wine pairing dinners at her small eatery that is only breakfast and lunch only but instead of $60 pp the price was $90 pp. It was 5 course including dessert and each course was paired with a different wine. But they literally poured only 1.5 oz wine into each course for tasting so not much wine whereas we got 4-8 oz beer with each course with the beer dinners. We went to the first wine dinner with much excitement but with only a small taste of wine and a small taste of food for each course while it was good, I came home and wanted a snack.....

I did not find it a good value for the money compared to the beer dinners. YMMV as they say. It all depends on how much food/wine you get for the price. In this case you were spending close to $200 for a dinner for two but you left kinda hungry. If we had gone and had a "real" dinner out in Santa Fe and paid $200 we would not have left hungry by any means.

We have not attended since then but every month they do another dinner with a different menu and different wine(s) and every month they sell out (60 spots) in about 4 hours time!
 

Boatboy24

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Restaurants continue to do them, so there must be a reason (maybe its in their best interest, not ours). I'm on the email list for Ruth's Chris and a few local restaurants that we like and they all have wine dinners with some frequency. There are some intriguing dinners put on with some notable wineries/winemakers and the menus all sound really good to me. But my wife hardly drinks so it'd be a waste for us - not to mention, she isn't too adventurous food-wise. I think my Dad would really enjoy one of these dinners, but at the $100+/person price, he's not interested. I keep asking though. ::

Father's day and his birthday are coming up, maybe I should get him a dinner one of these days. Good for him, good for me. :i
 

sour_grapes

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I have not done this often, but I have done a tasting menu with wine pairings once or twice. Once was at a restaurant that is run by a James Beard finalist for the last 3 years. They were quite generous with the pours. Combined with the fact that my friend was driving, and she gave me about half of hers on each of the many courses, I actually managed to get sloshed. (Obviously, a bit of a mistake, but at least they were good pours!) We also left as stuffed as geese on a foie gras farm. (Ummm, don't tell anyone, but my friend's friend vomited in the alley.)

To your questions: Yes, they are fun, especially if you have a group of 4 or more. The conversation centers on the food and wine (with welcome diversions, of course), and you can get yourself lost in the Epicurean delights before you. The fact that there are more than the usual number of courses makes the evening flow from tasty treat to tasty treat. The pacing was lovely. Obviously, YMMV, as you read above.

Sooo, it was fun. Was it worth it? I enjoyed it and look back fondly. I have not made a point of doing it frequently. I don't know what that says. Perhaps it says I am cheap, perhaps it says it wasn't worth it.... I think I should make a point of organizing another one!
 

Brian55

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We've been to a bunch of them, most have been a good value at $60-$75 per person. It really depends on who's hosting, and whether or not they've got the chops to pull it off properly.
 

Johnd

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Wifey and I love to go to these types of dinners, but are very careful about the details. We've pretty much limited ourselves to a local steakhouse (our favorite place) and then only when the wine is on track.
Last one we went to featured wines from Cade, Plumpjack, and Odette, and the winery Rep was there. By the sixth course, we were just getting to the big reds, and they poured everyone three glasses of really great cabs, and kept them full for the balance of the evening. We had to Uber home, but the wine we drank was easily more than the price of admission. I'd do that one over again in a heartbeat, as would the couple that was with us.
I've also been to ones with great food and crapola wine. Hard to sit in your seat and drink poor wine, read poor reviews, and wonder why the hell anyone would invite this product to a wine dinner.
Bottom line, know what you're going to, what they are serving and pouring.
 

meadmaker1

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This is happening at one of 6 winery's within 30 - 40 minutes from my home.
Fund raiser for childrens welfare group also so good times good food good wine and good cause.
Too bad its on the same day as my father in law's celebration of life.
I m buying two tickets any way. Its late enough I should be able to make it without ditching family obligations. Even though my wife said I could go.

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NorCal

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Has anyone attended a dinner and wine pairing event at a restaurant? The type of event where they have a set menu and provide a paired wine with each course? Are they fun? Are they worth it?

After hearing about the idea, I've found three Italian restaurants in town that do these types of events: one big one does monthly Spirited Dinners of 6+ courses with a showcased spirit each month (i.e. wine this month, tequila next month), and the two small restaurants do wine events with fewer courses and less frequency. The big one is pricey ($125-150 per person) and the smaller ones are about $65 a person. They sound like they could be pretty fun, assuming one likes the menu.

If you've done one, how was your experience?
My favorite thing to do. Especially if there is a Sommelier that can explain why the wine was chosen. Makes the evening fun and interesting.
 

lilvixen

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My favorite thing to do. Especially if there is a Sommelier that can explain why the wine was chosen. Makes the evening fun and interesting.
Sis and I have done two wine tasting tours with Platypus Wine Tours in Napa: a driver and 8-12 people on an small party bus; we visit 4-5 smaller wineries and eat a picnic lunch at one of the wineries. It's been a super fun, (splurgy,) sister experience. Some of the people leading the tastings (servers? bartenders? sommeliers?) are definitely invested in and proud of the wines they're serving, and they're the most fun and interesting. My favorite sommelier was at Judd Hill, where the guy had us taste bbq sauces with the wines. It was so neat! My favorite overall experience was Hagafen Cellars, where the bartender was hilarious and offered sis and I tastes of wines he thought we'd enjoy, based on how we liked the wines we selected for the wine flight, even though it went beyond the flight we paid for.

I've went with a friend to a wine tasting event at Total Wine, and while they had snack foods, they told us about the wines but not how they worked with food in general or the snacks provided.

Last night, we had dinner at one of the small Italian restaurants that holds the dinner and wine pairing events, and the food was amazing, so I'll keep an eye out for their events. I don't know what their structure is for the event, but I'm willing to try it once.
 

JohnT

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90 Acres, (3 Michelin stars), has them every month. This is just 10 minutes from my house.

They showcase wines from a particular region with food also from that region. I have attended their Austria, Tuscany, Sicily, Bordeaux, and Rhine River events.

It is pricy, about $155 per person, but well worth it!!!! What is great is that there are booths set up for after dinner "re-visits" where you can get a healthy pour of your favorites and talk wine with the very knowledgeable servers (usually the wine's distributor).

Very educational as well as FUN!
 

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