It was my brother-in-law’s birthday, and a warm California Friday in late may, so his wife organized a little get together in the Santa Monica mountains at Malibu Wines. Now, I’m not super partial to California wines in general (too mechanical and over-oaked) or SoCal ones in particular (just not as good as their NorCal counterparts). But this little place in the mountains has a pretty good gig going with regard to spending an evening with friends.
We’ve had a lot of rain this year and the mountains were beautiful, the air hovering just under 80. The vineyard basically has a big green with tables that you can bring whatever food or non alcoholic drinks you want. They play live music on weekends (with dancing) and sell you their wines at the tasting room bar. There is no cover.
The stage. It gets pretty crowded and there was actually a good amount of dancing later in the evening.
We mostly stuck to this central coast 2002 Cabernet. It wasn’t bad, maybe 90 points. The couple years has taken the edge off the oak and it was certainly well made, if a little by the numbers.
But what is a wine picnic without cheese? I stopped before hand at the local cheese shop, Andrew’s Cheese Shop. On the left is Abbaye de Bel’loc and the right a soft goat cheese from France.
In the front we have Epoisses (gooey washed rind fun), on the right Stichelton, a beautiful rich English blue cheese, and on the left a Spanish sheep milk cheese.
And sense this wasn’t in the house, some pate. Goose and duck liver with truffles on the left and French Country Pate on the right. Both intensely meaty. Andrew’s not only sells cheeses and condiments, but a few meats as well.
Someone else brought some grape leaves stuffed with rice (Greek style). There was a lot of other food I didn’t photo too.
Some more condiments from Andrew’s. Various crackers. They have really good crackers — albiet expensive.
Quince paste (the orange jelly stuff), conveniently chopped into cubes. You add it to your cracker and cheese for some extra punch.
My sister-in-law makes a yummy spinach dip.
And this being a birthday we had a rather jumbo cake to finish out the evening.