Monday, October 29, 2007

Cloudy Bay Release Event- Murano Restaurant and Lounge

I was delighted to receive an invitation to a recent event to celebrate the release of Cloudy Bay's most recent sauvignon blanc. J and I would probably list the crisp, green-apple-tinged Cloudy Bay sauvi as one of our favorites, so it was great to get a chance to taste several different varieties of this wine as well as a couple of other wines that the winery was offering.

We arrived at Murano Restaurant and Lounge, located just on the border of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. The space was sleek yet warm, and I loved the red glass chandeliers in contrast to the stark, white walls. Immediately we noticed the table in the middle of the room, overflowing with cheeses, fruit and other nibbly goodies. Surrounding the table were several gorgeous photographs, taken by Cloudy Bay winemaker Mr. Kevin Judd who also happens to be an acclaimed photographer. Proceeds from the sale of those paintings would benefit the Los Angeles Heal The Bay foundation.

We had about one foot into the bar area when the restaurant owner and manager both introduced themselves to us, then proceeded to introduce us to Mr. Judd. They were warm and friendly while we spoke about how much we loved the wine, then they led us to two seats at the bar where we started our tastings. There were several vintages of their famous sauvignon blanc, as well as a chardonnay and a pinot noir which I'd never had the chance to try before. The 1997 sauvignon blanc was our favorite- it had their signature grassy fruit flavor- but I also fell in love with their pinot noir.

The stars of the show

Waiters paraded around the room carrying all sorts of hors d'oveurs, from braised lamb on filo "toasts" to salmon "spoons" and endive cups with candied walnuts and gorgonzola. Everything tasted wonderful and was well-matched to the wines. Actually, it was nice being at a wine event where there was a decent amount of food- too many times I've found myself in situations where I'd start feeling super buzzed with no food in sight. We sat at the bar for quite some time, conversing with the restaurant owner, the very knowledgeable bartender, and the wonderful publicist who had invited me to the event.

I know I sound a bit gushy, but I have to say that this event, overall, was one of the best I'd been to. It was intimate and warm, and a speech by the wine maker and interaction among the guests made it feel very personal. It was truly an event to celebrate the wonderful wines and photography of such a talented person, and I really enjoyed the celebratory nature of the evening in spite of not having known anyone there before that night. It lacked any pretention whatsoever (which, well, living in Los Angeles isn't all that common!) and focused more on the product, not who was there and what they were wearing.

The winemaker makes his speech

Cloudy Bay Wines

Murano Restaurant and Lounge 9010 Melrose Avenue / West Hollywood / CA / 90069 / 310.246.9118 /


Chubbypanda said...

I was wondering, was there a particular blog or book you read to learn about wines? Or were you more hands-on/experimental? I've been asking all of my wine connoisseur friends, since I'm trying to get more into wine myself.

H. C. said...

well nutsolas, I would've recognized at least one familiar face -- the one behind the digi-camear, ;) -- if I had gone (got an invite, but alas had to turn it down due to other stuff). The wine & small bites sound delish!