Last night I joined about 30 other people for a wine dinner at Zac Jack Bistro in Cameron Park, which is about 10 miles west of Placerville.
The wines were all from the Loire Valley in France. The very knowledgeable Bill Gilbert from the Wine Warehouse selected and discussed the wines while the pairings were done by the talented chef, Chef John Evans, owner and executive chef at Zac Jack Bistro and Zachary Jacques Restaurant near Diamond Springs.
The meal started with Clams Provençale paired with La Joucette Les Deux Tours 2009, a wonderful sauvignon blanc. The wine, like all three tasted that evening, was higher in acid and lower in alcohol than most California wines, making them more food friendly. It had an exceptionally wonderful nose with hints of grapefruit and minerals. On the palate it was delicious and improved both the food and itself when paired. It was my favorite of the evening and an excellent start to a meal.
The second course was Wild Mushroom Spring Roll Salad paired with Marc Bredif Vouvray 2010. A Chenin blanc by varietal, this wine was crisp and clean, but a bit more subtle in nose and flavor than the first wine and, as expected, had a slightly heavier body even though it was bone dry. It did a good job of accentuating the taste of the food while retaining its own characteristics.
Third on the menu was Slow Braised White Marble Pork with Spring Garlic paired with Marc Bredif Chinin 2010. This unoaked cabernet franc obviously had less tannins than local cabernet francs, which allows the fruit rather than the tannins run the wine. It was delicious and paired well, although it was kinder to the food than the food was to it.
The final course was a fresh strawberry tart, served open-faced. It was a perfect ending for a meal: tart and clean.
Zac Jack Bistro has another wine dinner coming up on Thursday, June 7, featuring the wines from Mount Aukum Winery. Like this one it is only $39 and well worth it.
Call 530-676-2969 for more information and reservations.