Wally’s recently hosted a wonderful tasting, featuring wines of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, at the innovative and superb Santa Monica restaurant, Maru. The food and wine pairing was spectacular, and we highly recommend that you go to this restaurant (and of course buy these wines!).
Maru, located in Santa Monica, is owned and run by chef Jason Park, creates an original menu of fresh fish, meats and produce from local farmer’s markets. The restaurant is tasteful, spacious, elegant and understated – much like Chef Park’s Asian and California influenced food – which includes sushi (some of which is flown in overnight from Japan), an unbelievably lightly-battered and crisp tempura, Korean short ribs (braised in soy sauce and sake), and a Japanese style Curry Lamb. Of particular note were the mini-Blue Crab rolls, which were outstanding, as was the Hamachi sushi, and the fresh heirloom tomato salad. The dishes are also as visually stunning as they are distinctly flavorful. Maru also takes great pride in pairing wines with their food – as many menu items have pairing suggestions, and their wine list is an impressive collection of mostly domestic high-end wines.
[Fair warning: Maru will be closed during the month of October for a floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall re-model. This major facelift will see Maru also come back with a new liquor license, bar, and 30 seat-capacity private dining room!]
These memorable dishes were paired with some exquisite Oregon wines – from producers Ponzi, Penner-Ash, Shea, Scott Paul, Bergström, Domaine Serene, and Domaine Drouhin Oregon.
A number of the wines tasted were of particular notice: the 2010 Scott Paul Pinot Noir La Paulee was a superb choice for the delicately prepared food – and was instantly charming with floral aromas, and flavors of bright cherries and red currants. A juicy wine with a mouthwatering finish.
The 2011 Bergström De Lancellotti Vineyard Pinot Noir had a dazzling black tea and orange rind spice which was delicious with the spicy tuna rolls.
The 2011 Penner-Ash Dussin Vineyard showed sweet cherries balanced by a deep licorice spice that was another beautiful variation on the Burgundian theme.
And don’t forget Oregon Chardonnays…….. Domaine Serene’s complex and appealing 2011 Evenstadt Reserve sent murmurs through the crowd, while a sneak-peek of the freshly-bottled 2012 Domaine Drouhin Oregon – set for an October 1st release – displayed a vibrant purity of fruit that brought to mind the crystal clear voice of a budding young female opera soprano!