Thursday, June 17, 2010

In-Your-Face Flavors, Subtle Summer Parings Abound at Copley's

As a rule of thumb, with the advent of summer comes lighter fare and drink. As a lover of red wine, I find myself yearning for something more in the middle, even when the mercury rises here in the desert. On a recent excursion to Copley's on Palm Canyon, I discovered a bit of both.
Lately, the restaurant has been touting its bright, dog-day inspired menu and there are certainly some standouts. For starters, I chose to pair a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with an appetizer of tuna tartare, avocado and roe. The 2009 vintage from Babich Wines was full of nectarine and passion fruit flavors. The menu's tasting notes also mention flavors of gooseberry...if I knew what a gooseberry was or what it tasted like, I could tell you if this description is accurate...alas, we may never know...that being said, the flinty quality of this wine melded quite well with the flavors of the sea.
My dining partner, food writer Unorthodox Foodie, ordered a cilantro-scented Scottish salmon in a curry sauce, which I paired with a 2007 Zaza Grenache Rose. This gorgeous wine hails from the Campo de Borja region of Spain, which has a knack for producing quality Garnachas (the Spanish name for this grape). The wine was scented with raspberry and strawberry, which stood up to the heat of the Thai-inspired sauce.
This may ruffle some feathers, but I would have married my entree if it were legal in California. I thoroughly enjoyed the fork-tender braised short ribs in a merlot reduction, topped with a beautifully-grilled shrimp. In fact, I took such a liking to the reduction that I decided to pair it with a 2007 Camelot Merlot. The flavors matched amazingly well, with the wine a jammy blend of dark fruit, vanilla and spice in a glass.
Sure, it wasn't a traditional summer meal by definition, but its parts certainly equalled one sum of delicious dining.

Special thanks to Juliana Manion Copley and her terrific staff:

For more on this meal, visit

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