From Junkyard to Vineyard
The journey of winery owners Charlie and Molly Meeker didn’t take the traditional route. Molly was an actress and Charlie was an entertainment attorney. They met at Norman Lear’s production company, which produced such shows as All In The Family, Sanford and Son and Maude.
Charlie became a film producer and ultimately president of MGM. Molly rose to a VP position in Lear’s company. In 1977 they bought a vineyard in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. In 1984 the Meeker Vineyards winery opened.
Imaginative Food Creations
The recent wine dinner featuring Meeker wines was presented by La Scola Italian Grill along with Esber Beverage Company. I enjoy drinking a great glass of wine, but to propel the occasion through the atmosphere, there’s nothing like scrumptious food. Having Molly Meeker there to discuss her wines was the cherry on top.
We tasted through five different wines paired with amazing dishes, the first being scallop bisque with bacon (I had no idea jowls were so crispy!). This was paired with the 2012 Meeker Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay.
The Chard offers a fresh bouquet. It is barrel fermented in neutral oak and is aged six months sur lee for additional body. It undergoes malolactic fermentation for a nice creamy finish. The bisque was rich and succulent and the chardonnay contrasted nicely. The chardonnay had an enjoyable vanilla finish. It’s a nice value at $25.
We were looking forward to the Meeker Cabs, but we weren’t there yet. First we enjoyed the 2011 Bessie Zinfandel. Dry Creek Valley is famous for Zin and Bessie did not disappoint. Well balanced with nice acidity, it maintained a light and bright profile. There was a dash of black pepper and it didn’t taste “hot” with high alcohol. Paired with roasted bone marrow topped with red onion marmalade, this was a memorable and unconventional pairing.
The next offering was the 2010 Great Cabs Cabernet, Sonoma Valley. This was paired with a stuffed pork dish topped with wasabi micro greens and roasted red pepper. This is a mid-range cab which features small quantities of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. It has nice body and great texture.
Molly described the Combination (code three) California Red Wine as a “down and dirty’ California blend. It has 60% Syrah, 20% Petite Sirah and 20% Barbera. This has a beautiful sour cherry flavor with a lilting acidity. It has some herbal notes and blackberry hints. It retails for $37. It was paired with slow-roasted poblano infused short ribs. Happy to say I received a bottle of this as a birthday present!
The next bottle is “hands down” the most recognizable Meeker wine: the 2012 Winemaker’s Handprint Merlot, Sonoma County. The standard bottles bear the colorful handprints of winemaker Lucas Meeker. Also on display were a 3 liter bottle and a magnum.
The Handprint Merlot is a Cabernet drinker’s Merlot. It is robust and complex. It is 84% Merlot with the remainder being a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It explodes on the palate with cherries and red fruit with some toasty caramel.
This was paired with delicious lamb shanks and was divine.This has a SRP of $42 – an excellent bargain.
Chocolate Covered What!?
Our evening concluded with key lime pie with black pepper and chocolate doubloons paired with the 2013 FroZin dessert wine. One of our dinner partners got me good on this one. I love chocolate and he said, “this chocolate doubloon is great.”
Mouth watering, I took a big bite – it was a jalapeno! Yikes! I enjoy jalepenos with beer and Mexican food, not so much at my wine dinner. Our friend Ann could not say enough about the jalepeno – at least not much I can repeat!
This was a playful finish to a truly magnificent evening of wine, friends and food. Meeker offers a great lineup of diverse wines, from elegant Chardonnay to Merlot with character. We encourage you to uncork at your first opportunity.